Tennessee missing a bowl for the second time in four years? No big deal. In fact, Derek Dooley needed the time he would have otherwise spent in preparation for the game to do better things.
But much of the work came in December. While the Vols’ season-ending loss to Kentucky kept them out of a bowl game, it also gave Dooley some time to set the framework for an offseason that would lead into his all-important third season in charge of the program.
“All of that time in December where you’d have spent some energy on bowl prep,” Dooley said, “[we] put a lot of time into sort of redefining our offseason and taking a hard look at some of the things we need to do differently going into next season.”
Maybe if the Vols finish 6-6 this year, SOD will turn down a bowl invite so he can divert that energy into more useful pursuits. Like preparing his resume.
Judging from this, though, he’s not using any of that energy to deal with certain players not following directions.
Dooley declined to go into Da’Rick Rogers’ reported absence from a portion of the offseason program. The receiver from Calhoun was absent for more than a week of morning workouts after an incident of insubordination to the strength and conditioning staff, according to reports and two sources inside the football program.
“I’m not going to go into all the individuals,” Dooley said. “We had a lot of guys that missed a workout or two for different reasons, whether it’s academics, whether it’s discipline, whether it’s injury. We had a ton of that. It’s managing 100 guys, and every day’s a challenge. I just don’t want to go into and revisit our last eight weeks.”
You get the feeling that if things get off to a rough start this season, the wheels could come off SOD’s wagon very quickly.