Former Vols Support Team During "Limbo"
If you’ve ever experienced the uneasiness that comes with getting a new boss, you have some idea of the pressure Derek Dooley is felling as he prepares for his third season in Knoxville.
Even his supporters recognize the uncertainty of the situation.
“It’s still in limbo,” said former UT All-American linebacker Al Wilson.
Wilson offered up those comments when asked to give his thoughts on the state of the UT football program.
UT was 6-7 under Dooley in 2010, and 5-7 in 2011.
“I think people are wondering what we are going to do. We’re hoping for the best,” said Wilson during a benefit basketball game and autograph session near Jackson last Saturday.
“I think Mr. Hart is going to give Coach Dooley every chance to allow him to be successful,” said former UT wide out Joey Kent.
“But this is a winning business and you have to win,” Kent said.
8 wins and a bowl game is usually a good measure of success, but Kent won’t judge the team’s improvement based solely on wins.
“I don’t think it’s a magic number, it’s just how the team looks at the end of the year, who they’ve beaten and if it seems like a positive uptick,” said Kent.
Former Alabama assistant athletic director Dave Hart has already put his fingerprint on the UT athletic department. Hart, the new A.D. at Tennessee, is restructuring the department this spring to save money.
Football is the great cash cow of the Southeastern Conference and its member schools - so Hart won't likely waste anytime pulling the plug on the Mike Hamilton hire if the Volunteers struggle this fall.
“Hopefully we won’t have this conversation next year because we've won, and won convincingly, have a good record and can continue with Coach Dooley,” said Kent.
The Vols will open the season on August 31st in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic against North Carolina State.
“We want to see the Tennessee Vols back on top,” Kent said.