Nov. 19, 2012
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Vols Interim Head Coach Jim Chaney met with the media for the first time since being elevated to the post for the season finale vs. Kentucky. Here's what he had to say.
(On how practice way today) "I thought the kids handled it well. They went out and ran around, we used the same format we have been doing so they weren't lost. They knew what they were doing. I think early on in the meetings it was quiet, it was sober in the meetings but we talked a lot to the team today, hopefully get them going as the week progresses. I thought from the beginning of time from the start of meetings to the conclusion of practice they were coming around."
(On why things didn't go their way this year) "It is a difficult question, I don't really know the answer to all that. The time to look back and reflect back and look at the things that we do is at the conclusion of the season. I am so busy doing my job to look around and analyze what is going wrong here and what is going wrong there. That is a difficult question. Unfortunately we weren't able to get the W that you need to. We are in charge to try and get victories and we couldn't get that done. So changes were made. It is disappointing. Derek is a wonderful man and a wonderful coach, I hate to see it happen."
(On Derek Dooley's decision to not coach against Kentucky) "I really have no opinion on that. That is the coach's decision and he chose that way and I support him 100%.
(On if he has ever been in this position) "I have not."
(On how to move forward) "Go to work. You go to work. I have been around football a long time. I think I understand the role but until you do it you have no idea. I have no idea what a head coach does, I have never done it before. I am excited and I hope I don't mess it up too bad. I hope I represent Coach Dooley very well on Saturday, I really do."
(On if he will coach form the box or field) "I am going to go down on the field. I am going to call the game from down on the field, which I have done in the past. I am going to lean a lot on the assistants a lot to help me. Hopefully everything will go well."
(On who will be his eyes in the box) "It will be Blake. Blake Rolan will still be up there to help me and Joe Bernardi. Same people who have been helping a lot."
(On the last time he has coached from the field) "I think Fullerton days. It has been a long time. One time at Ohio State the headsets went out so we had to go down. That happens sometimes in Columbus. We had to go down on the field. And I had to call it from the field that time. It is a little different setting but at the end of the day you are calling plays and getting them in, communicate as fast as you can. So I don't see any issues with that as far as logistics of me being on the field."
(On how the players will react this week) "None. I have no idea. I think we have a mature group. I am looking for that maturity and that leadership. What Coach Dooley has tried to teach this team all along is about forging forward and working hard with great intangibles and I think throughout the season this team has played hard and I hope they can continue that one more game."
(On separating the business end and the personal end of this job) "That is difficult to do, everybody wants to do that, you can't do that. The personal end of this job, what we do, is so personal. We live and die this job. I believe in Derek Dooley and I stuck with him as long as I could. I would be with him all the time. He is a good man and a good football coach. That will never change. My decision to stick around was that, I trusted and believed in him. Also, I wasn't too proud of what we put on the football field last year offensively. And I didn't want my name attached to that as I departed the University of Tennessee or wherever the pass take me in my profession. So I wanted to do something about that. That is a little personal pride. But number one, I believed in the man and I would do it all over again."
(On if the team is motivated) "I think the team is motivated, I think they are shook up a little right now but I think they will bounce back and they will come around. I hope hoping those 13 seniors will have something to say about that and we are excited about seeing them go play. We have to have a good practice on Tuesday and Wednesday. I think they are shell-shocked a little bit right now, like any team would be. I saw the growth a little bit today. Their eyes, from what they looked like earlier to the way they walked off the field was different. Time will heal, it just takes time."
(On playing for the seniors) "I think if you talk about the 13 kids, they have seen a lot in their years here. They have worked hard this year. We didn't get the results that we would have liked as far as wins and losses. But they went out and played hard. Our kids would really appreciate any support the fans would give them. I think their pledge to the fans would be that they are going to try their butts off to beat Kentucky."
(On if there is a question at starting quarterback) "No there is not. Tyler Bray will be the starting quarterback."
(On being interim head coach) "I don't look at it like that. Quite honestly I have been asked and I am humbled by the fact that Dave [Hart] thought I would be a good candidate to do this. I am excited about the opportunity. As far as auditioning or something like that, I haven't thought about that. I am trying to help some kids heal from some wounds and put a team on the field with the right attitude to go win a game. As far as me personally, that is my only goal. I have no objectives, nothing here. I am going to do as good as I can to go represent the University, the community, and this program the best I possibly can."
(On if he has been proud of what the offense has done on the field this season) "I am. There are times I am very proud and there are times I haven't been very pleased. I wasn't very pleased on Saturday night, this past week. That wasn't the product we like to put on the field. We didn't play very well offensively. We are going to hope to rectify that on Saturday."
(On playing for the seniors) "I think it matters to every football team. Regardless how close you are with the seniors. You realize some day you will be one. If you take a step back and look at it you will understand that. I look for our kids to do that."
(On the staff sticking together this week) "The staff is mature enough that everybody knows what to do. We are going to go to work every day and do the same things to put our players in position to win a football game. That is not going to change. They are good people. They understand in these times it is difficult and that sticking together and getting along and finishing up strong is very important to the people in that building over there. I am excited to say they are friends of mine and I look forward to working all the way through the end with them."
(On dealing with transition) "I think it hard on every human being who is involved with transition. Transition is a part of our game. We have to step up to the plate. We put on our big boy pads when you walk into a program like Tennessee and you understand those things are possibilities. When they come forward, you attack them. You try to gain something out of it. You try to as an individual, learn from it and develop yourself as a player. That is all you can ever do. We talk constantly to our players about controlling the things they can and most of that is their attitude and their effort. If they do that we will be just fine."
(On how to settle down Tyler Bray when he is struggling) "Sometimes it is a firm talking to, sometimes it is a pat on the back, sometimes it can't get done, but he is not unique to that. I think all players are that way. You have to find out what button you can push to get them turned around when they are not playing very well and every player is different on every given day because you don't know what baggage they are bringing into that game. On one week it is some baggage and the next week it is different baggage. You hope to continue to get the performance out of the players that you want, but sometimes it is difficult. Last week was a little shaky for us and I thought it came to a head in the ball game a little bit. I thought we were ready to play and quite honestly, I got fooled a little bit on that. I thought we were a little more prepared to play and offensively I don't believe we got our job done."
(On whose decision it was to sit Tyler Bray in the first half) "Ultimately it is always the head coach's [decision], but it was my recommendation. I thought we needed a change and to let Tyler sit down, calm down, watch the game a little bit and basically get his hiney in his pants a little bit. I thought it helped a little bit, but at the end of the day it wasn't all about the quarterback play. I don't believe that any area of our offense produced the way they have customarily been doing it all season and it harmed us."
(On Justin Worley's performance) "I thought Justin did a fine job."
(On whether it will help to be able to talk to Tyler face-to-face on the sideline this week) "I feel that way. He might disagree. I don't know. Performance is all about preparation. You have to go into this game with a great amount of preparation. If you are preparing hard, your mind is in the right spot. If you're not preparing hard, your mind is not in the right spot. That would not be a good situation, so I am hoping that through hard work and preparation, we can occupy their minds away from some of the distractions that are going on right now and put a product on the field that we are proud of."
(On how much input he will have on the defense) "I feel like I will be so busy on the offense that I'll be saying, `Hey, stop them.' That's about all I have ever said for 20-however many years."
(On the coaching staff this weekend)
"I think Blake [Rolan] wants to hit me some times, but other than that there are no defections. Like I said, a lot of us have lived through these things before. They are no fun, but change happens in this profession and we are hoping to handle it with a lot of class and a lot of dignity the way Coach Dooley would have liked for us to do."