By JOE BIDDLE, Oct. 26, 2011
Barbara Dooley must be pulling her hair out. Wringing her hands. Pacing the floor after midnight. The mother of Tennessees second-year coach Derek Dooley and wife of Georgia coaching legend Vince Dooley, is protective of her flock.
You see, Vols fans are starting to pick at her son she always called Precious.
This isnt Barbaras first barbecue. She went through it with Vince and now Derek.
Beware Tennessee fans. Barbara Dooley can be as salty as they come.
Vols fans have started critiquing Dooleys strategy, his failure to make halftime adjustments, his Day-Glo orange pants. These are some of the same Vols fans who cannot not find their cars in the parking lot after the game.
No one said this was going to be an easy fix. Certainly it is not going to be a quick fix.
The Vols lost back-to-back SEC games against the top-ranked LSU Tigers, 38-7. Saturday it was UTs turn to be Alabamas punching bag in a 37-6 loss.
Folks, these are two of the best teams the SEC has produced in years. Alabamas defense is giving up 6.88 points a game. Thats better than the 1992 undefeated national champion Crimson Tide defense.
LSUs secondary and linebackers will be playing on an NFL field in short order. The Titans could have used them Sunday, they are that good.
So, stop it with the whining.
What halftime adjustments would you suggest, Mr. Saturday Second-Guesser? You have a team that has absolutely no depth anywhere. You have a team who was playing a backup quarterback long on guts, short on ability. Your best receiver had season-ending surgery. Your best defensive player got booted out of school. Your best quarterback broke his thumb and is weeks away from returning.
How about those adjustments? Dooley took the red-shirt off quarterback Justin Worley during the loss Saturday and Worley will make his first start Saturday night against South Carolina.
South Carolina is a team with problems of its own. Yes, the Gamecocks are 6-1, but it has been a shaky 6-1 and now they are playing with backup quarterback Connor Shaw, a sophomore who has started less than a handful of games.
Did I mention South Carolina lost Marcus Lattimore, arguably the best running back in the SEC and a player who was getting Heisman Trophy attention before he blew out a knee?
South Carolinas defense is no shrinking violet. It is ranked No. 7 in the country in total defense, No. 1 in pass defense and No. 18 in scoring defense, giving up an average of 19.14 points a game.
And Dooley is expected to make halftime adjustments with an inexperienced quarterback, no running game to brag about and South Carolina playmakers such as 6-6, 254-pound freshman defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, who has seven of his 22 tackles behind the line.
You have to have the players to be able to make adjustments. Right now, Tennessee comes up woefully short in that department.
Granted, Dooley hasnt been the miracle worker Vols fans hoped for. He was slow to make a change when it was obvious each week that Nashvilles James Stone could not make the shotgun center snap right-handed, as he was a natural left-hander. Dooley has had some clock management issues.
And even Barbara Dooley has to cringe when she sees him in those orange pants.
Contact Joe Biddle at email@example.com.