Nov. 12, 2012
Vols head coach Derek Dooley met with the media on Monday afternoon for his weekly press conference. Here is the transcript of his comments.
(Opening statement) "I guess the only thing I will really sum up on the Missouri game is we were sitting there with 4:43 to go in the game and our defense [to that point] had 59 plays, 295 yards, 14 points and two turnovers. At that point, that is about as good a defensive game that you can play. Then we gave up three plays there on the last drive, two on fourth down, and we really struggled in overtime to slow them down. Another tough, disappointing loss, that is four in this league where it came down really to the last possession. For both squads, all three units had a chance to impact the game and we didn't get it done so we move on to Vandy."
(On if he has second-guessed himself about not going for the win at the end of the fourth quarter) "I really don't. Everybody is making a huge deal about that. I answered it after the game and I don't feel any differently. We were struggling on offense. The last four possessions we didn't execute well, we weren't looking good and when we went out there we were going out there to win the game. That is what our philosophy was and the first play we screw up, get the ball, and then the second play we screw up the execution. I think there were about 35 seconds and we had a third and 10. I just didn't have confidence that we were going to get it and then, all of a sudden, you put the best player on their whole team out on the field to change the game and I didn't want to do that. I felt like we could beat them in overtime. We were at home and I felt like our offense, over the course of time we performed better than their offense."
(On meeting with the team) "I'm not going to talk to you guys about what I tell the team. I think when you look at all this stuff, yeah I addressed it. [The players] are getting banged up on their phone the way my kids are getting banged up on their phone and the way my wife was getting banged up on hers. Everybody was saying I was fired and I didn't even know it. I'm sitting there working on Vandy and I had already talked to Dave [Hart]. You have to come home and address all that with your family and then you have to address it in the morning with the team. I addressed it."
(On Curt Maggitt's injury) "He is out for the year with a torn ACL. That was a real blow and hurt us that last drive. He was doing a great job of copping the quarterback the whole game and that hurt us there on a couple of things toward the stretch."
(On whether he asked Dave Hart if he would be UT's coach next season) "No, I didn't ask him that but I did ask him a lot of things. We talked very frankly about it. He told me he had not made a decision if we go 6-6, despite what all the reports are. Either the sources are wrong or Dave wasn't being forthright with me and I have no reason to think Dave is not being forthright with me. He is an honest man, he has always been honest with me and I have appreciated how he has handled everything about this. I really have."
(On how the players have handled everything) "I think the irony in all this is that we beat up the young kids so bad on their behavior all the time and they are the ones handling all of this better than anybody. There is no negativity on the team, there are no mean-spirited comments, there is no gossip, so I am proud of them for doing that. We probably all ought to learn from them a little bit."
(On the hardest part about the speculation) "The hardest thing is your family. The hardest thing is when they are seeing things that are contrary to what their dad is telling them. That's where it gets a little tough, but that is part of the profession. We have to deal with it. That's how it is."
(On whether he should be the Tennessee coach) "I'm worried about Vanderbilt and I can't make that decision. I can give you compelling arguments why I should and there are plenty of compelling arguments about why I shouldn't. It's not going to be your decision, it's not going to be a bunch of these source's decisions, it is Dave [Hart] and the chancellor. It is their decision and I can't control what they think. We've had a lot of good dialogue. I think he has a good handle on how I do things in our program, where we are and why we are not getting the results we want, so you move on and live with it."
(On the defense's effectiveness) "It was very effective for three quarters, up to four minutes to go in the game. Then we didn't execute very well down the stretch. I was really pleased and I was proud of the kids, they played their tails off. They did and it is unfortunate it ended the way it ended. It really is. That's what hurts you is the way you lose it."
(On the changes made to the defense last week) "I think everything we did helped, I do. I think it helped Sal [Sunseri], he called a great game. I think it helped the other coaches, I think we did a good job on the sideline. I thought everything was positive but we just didn't finish it and that is what we have to learn how to do. We are going to keep on the same course."
(On the defensive struggles at the end of the game) "We lost a couple of guys there late, we lost LaDarrell [McNeil] and we lost Curt [Maggitt] on that scramble. We got hurt on fourth down on just the play getting extended a little bit longer than it had been earlier in the game. Then eventually our zones that we had been running the whole game, there were some openings in there. Same thing in the overtime."
(On LaDarrell McNeil's injury) "I think he is ok. He hurt his knee but it was more a bruise on a tackle than anything, but he was really struggling out there. He was playing great in that game, he really was."
(On Vanderbilt's offense) "We are playing a little different team. They play a lot of 21 and two-back pro-style, a lot of shifts and motions so it is going to be a little challenge. We have to figure out what we are going to do."
(On Vanderbilt's success) "They have done a great job. I guess it is good for the rivalry, it makes better games, but they are doing a good job. They did a good job before James [Franklin] got there, they did a really nice job recruiting and he has done a nice job of bringing some really good energy to the program. They are playing with a lot of confidence."
(On the reason for Vanderbilt's success) "I think everybody they have is a junior or senior. They are a real veteran squad. I think everyone of their starters is deep into their careers there. Generally when you see a unit that has been in the program for a while, been in the system for a while, they are going to play well."
(On Cordarrelle Patterson's celebration penalty) "I thought he had done worse stuff before. I really believe the guy was going to reach for his foot and he does a little bit of that around the arms. I don't think that was his intention. Right when he crossed the goal line he stopped, but they saw him high-stepping and it was a penalty. I'm glad we overcame it. Mych [Rivera] made a great play after that."
(On having 11 penalties) "We were really sloppy on offense. A lot of stuff up front, we didn't block them very well and we had some pre-snap penalties that we haven't had in a while. The deeper the game went, it started really showing up and affected us. We just didn't perform up front as well as we had been."
(On Vanderbilt using last game against Tennessee as motivation) "I don't know. I don't think Vanderbilt needs a lot of motivation to come and whip us. I am sure they have plenty of motivation that they don't need that. I can't take that back."
(On Missouri's big plays) "We got hurt on a long run and it was a little different from the front stand point but really we messed up in the secondary, we have been playing it, that kind of mesh against that kind of zone about seven times prior to that play and we just didn't play it great. So we got a little disoriented in space and we couldn't run them down. So that was one. Then went up tempo, they were moving pretty fast, got us on our heels a little bit on another drive. Then we settled down and played. We gave up fourteen points there and then we started stopping them again. That one run was bad and the up tempo got us a little bit. But we still played pretty consistently. We were dominating the first half, our second half it probably what we expected for four quarters. The first half exceeded anybody's expectations of how we could play. Like I said, if we could have made just one of those fourth down stops we would be sitting here just ranting and raving about how great the defense played. But that is how it is. You have to do it for sixty minutes."
(On the call of unsportsmanlike conduct on the touchdown) "It is something they really haven't called much. I think about two years ago it was really controversial and they were throwing the flags a lot. It hurt some teams so I think they backed down a little bit. If it happened real quick and then a player kind of caught himself they wouldn't call it. It was the real obvious taunting sort of thing. I think they have been officiating it very well. I was surprised at that one. Not much you can do about it other than go play the next play. I am just glad it didn't hurt us."
(On Tyler Bray's focus) "I have just seen him prepare and practice with a little more focus every day. A little more consistency. I don't think it is a significant change in what he is doing, I think it is part of his growth and process. Every quarterback goes on that journey and everybody moves at a different pace and everybody starts making some big jumps at different times in their career. He has made a big jump in the last few weeks and I hope he can keep doing that."
(On Tyler Bray's body language on the sideline) "He would go for it if it was 4th and 15 on the minus 10 and we are up 21. He just wants to go score points and that is okay. I just say, `Would you hush? Go do it on third down if you want to go for it. ' That is what I tell him. That is what I told him at the end of the game. `You had two chances and you screwed them up. Don't get mad at me.' Sometimes he isn't doing what you guys are thinking that he is doing. He is screaming because he wants to do something. It is not adversarial. The one time he punted he ball and he didn't get the signal we were going for it. Sometimes you have those miscommunications. It is not him getting upset with us. I guess we have to work on that. I didn't know that was a big issue out there. He is not showing up the coaches, but he would like to call the plays."
(On being a risky play caller) "There is always a risk. The word risk, there is a whole variance of what risky means. When you take risks there are usually calculated and we have some good reasons why we can do it and be successful. It is not just let's throw this out there and see if it works. The field goal is a great example. I like to be aggressive but I try to be somewhat sound in the decisions. I would say I am in between. Maybe I should be more aggressive or less aggressive because they obviously haven't had the results that we need."
(On Vanderbilt's offense) "They just play with a great level of consistency. They play very good disciplined football. They do an excellent of formationing you and doing it really quick and crisp. They have some very talented receivers and an excellent running back that can really hurt you. They do a great job, they really do."
(On Zac Stacy's injury) "He is one of their best players on their team. They have a good back behind him. They won the game last week without Stacy."
(On the defense) "I think it is a lot of things. Our guys were playing pretty good this week. I think that is the best game the defensive line has played. We probably gave them a little more leeway to pin their ears back and go. And not worrying about the quarterback as much breaking the pocket. A little bit of it is who you are playing, when you are playing one of those guys who can scramble really well you get a little nervous about your pass rush because if you break the integrity of the lanes now your space guy has to tackle him."
(On the game plan against Missouri) "We knew we needed some patience this game because they play a lot of zone. There were a lot of underneath holes that were going to be open. We hit Zach a few times over the middle and Mychal. Mychal played a great game he is playing at a real high level right now, especially catching the ball."
(On the fake field goal in overtime)
"Every week you go in with some fakes on all the phases depending on how they line up. It doesn't mean you are going to get them but it means you are going to have a better chance of getting it if they line up otherwise. They lined up how we thought they would line up and we ran it. I didn't think that was a risky call like you guys. We were going to kick it if they lined up differently."