In three seasons coaching Tennessee, Derek Dooley went 6-7, 5-7 and 4-7, with his final season in 2012 being cut a game short due to his firing (the Vols beat Kentucky under interim coach Jim Chaney).
He is not a fan favorite in Knoxville.
Fine — that comes with not winning games in a high-profile gig.
But some former Tennessee players feel much stronger about Dooley and would rather continue to blast him then let that era of Vol football go and focus on the current one.
Last Friday, at a meet-and-greet with Tennessee fans, former Vol Corey Larkins shared his extremely harsh opinion about Dooley with the Times Free Press.
Said Larkins: "I just want to see some fight. I’ve seen our guys for the last few years not only get beat to the ground, but then the other players push up off their chest to go back to the huddle and our guys just got up and walked back to the huddle. I want to see some guys with some fight and defend the program. That mentality came from the guy we had before Coach Jones. Derek Dooley was a loser. He’ll always be a loser, and he rubbed off on the program and created a losing attitude."
It wasn’t only Larkins who had negative comments about Dooley.
Said Troy Fleming: "With Coach Jones, when you walk into the facility now it’s like you never left. The guys who have worked around the program for years are at ease now, which tells you things are good again. The biggest thing about Coach Jones is he actually does his job, unlike that guy we call Derek Doolittle, who really did very little."
Said Al Wilson: "I really don’t even want to say the names of the two guys who were there between Coach Fulmer and Coach Jones. They don’t deserve to have their names mentioned with Tennessee football." The other guy Wilson is referring to is Lane Kiffin, who coached one season at Tennessee (2009), going 7-6 before leaving for USC.
Neither Larkins, Fleming or Wilson played for Dooley at Tennessee (they were Fulmer guys).
It’s also worth noting that Butch Jones went 5-7 last season in his first year at UT. Yes, the energy around the program seems to be entirely different and Jones has made a significant effort to embrace past Tennessee classes and not many believe Jones won’t turn Tennessee around, yet all that good will has a shelf life.