It’s good to be back! Let’s get caught up

 

 

It is good to be back! I’ve missed our daily visits and a lot has happened since we were together in January. So let’s spend today catching up and tomorrow I’ll jump into spring ball.

So what have I missed?

**–The “other” Dooley takes over in Knoxville:  Last January I was getting ready to board a plane to Europe when my cell phone all but exploded.  Lane Kiffin had just bolted Rocky Top to take the job at USC. After a tough coaching search where several people, including Duke’s David Cutcliffe, said no, Derek Dooley, the head coach and athletics director at Louisiana Tech and the son of Georgia’s Hall of Fame coach, was hired to clean up the mess.

The younger Dooley, a law school graduate, will bring a more organized and businesslike approach to the job. There won’t be photos of Southern California players hung on the walls of the Tennessee football complex, which is what the other guy wanted to do.

I just got back from Knoxville as part of my spring football tour which began last week. I will update you on that visit soon. For now, I will simply say that Dooley and his staff have a lot of work to do.

**–Big Ten expansion: After Notre Dame said no to the Big Ten in 1999, this issue stayed on the back burner for Commissioner Jim Delany for over 10 years. Now it is very much a front burner issue for two reasons: 1) A number of the league’s coaches are getting tired of being out of sight and out of mind for two weeks at the end of the regular season. The SEC, ACC, and Big 12 are basking in media attention on championship Saturday while the Big Ten goes dark; 2) There is a lot of money to be made by the Big Ten on the next round of TV contracts by finally going to (at least) 12 teams and creating a conference championship game. The timing is right and if Notre Dame is smart—and not too proud for its own good—this time it will say yes.

**–Masoli out at Oregon: Tennessee fans were probably dreading that Sept. 11 date with Oregon, which was supposed to return 18 starters from a team that went to the Rose Bowl. But quarterback Jeremiah Masoli, who was supposed to be a serious candidate for the Heisman Trophy, decided that stealing stuff from a fraternity house was more important than his college football career. So he has been booted off the team (at least for 2010) and Darron Thomas will probably be the quarterback when the Ducks come to Knoxville. Now the game, which comes the week before Tennessee hosts Florida, looks winnable for the Vols.

**–Urban Meyer is back in the saddle again. When Urban Meyer writes his memoirs, the 2009 season will be remembered as one long stretch of bad road. There were significant off the field issues for players, a Tim Tebow concussion, the mishandling of the Brandon Spikes eye-gouging incident, a $30,000 fine by the SEC commissioner, the pressure of being No. 1 all season along, a serious beat down in the SEC championship game by Alabama, his announced retirement and then un-retirement in the space of 12 hours due to some health issues. Whew! Just writing that made me tired.

After taking some time off after recruiting, Meyer is back on the sidelines for spring practice in Gainesville. He plans to take more time off after spring ball is over. Good for him.

 Look, I didn’t agree with everything Urban Meyer did last year but the man is a very good football coach. Regardless of who you pull for, you should know that college football needs good coaches to stay in the game, not get burned out by it and leave.

And another thing: I’ve been readying in various places that Urban Meyer “owes” us—media, fans, etc.—a full explanation as to what happened and what’s currently going on. Sorry, that dog won’t hunt. I wish Urban Meyer would tell me the whole story. I wish he would sit down with me when I visit Gainesville tonight and Tuesday. But that’s not going to happen.

But as I see it he owes that explanation to only four people: His wife (Shelly), his boss (Jeremy Foley), his current and his future players (and their parents). That’s about it.

 Everybody involved in Florida football—coaches, players, media and fans—needs to take a deep breath and try to enjoy the 2010 season. It’s football, folks. It’s supposed to be fun. Florida went 13-1 last season but I don’t believe the Gators had a whole lot of fun.

**–Just asking: On Jan. 9 Tommy Tuberville was named the new head coach at Texas Tech. On Jan. 12 Lane Kiffin made the shocking announcement that he was leaving Tennessee for Southern California.  If Tuberville had been available, would Tennessee have pursued him? Would Tuberville have said yes? Lubbock or Knoxville? I’ve been to Lubbock and the people there are great. But that’s not a tough call.

 

**–Shocking! Bryce Brown may leave Tennessee!!!!! Brown, believed to be the nation’s No. 1 recruit in 2009, is no longer a part of the Tennessee program. Dooley says Brown will remain in school so his departure is not a done deal yet. I don’t think Mr. Brown, from Wichita, Kan., ever unpacked his bags once he got to Knoxville. As long as Montario Hardesty was healthy, he was not going to play a whole lot. After hearing that he was the No. 1 recruit in the nation, I believe Mr. Brown thought he would come into the SEC and be a star as a freshman. When reality hit—and that reality is that Mr. Brown is a good (but not great) running back—he became unhappy. He will move on. His brother, who grew unhappy at Miami, is now at Kansas State. Going home might be the best thing for him.

 

Okay, we’re off and running. We’ll join you Tuesday with our Five Burning Questions about the SEC East as we head into Spring ball. Again, it’s good to be back.

 

 Please follow me on Twitter:

www.twitter.com/MrCFB

100 comments Add your comment

Gatorzone

March 22nd, 2010
12:32 pm

Dawgbone, I want whatever you are smoking. Brantley is awesome!

David

March 22nd, 2010
12:34 pm

At long last!!! whoo hooo!

Correction

March 22nd, 2010
12:39 pm

I know you were in a hurry Tony, but your comment about the TV revenue in the Big Ten is incorrect. The schools in the Big Ten don’t share $23 million…each SCHOOL gets $23 million in TV revenue. Notre Dame is very proud, but I have to believe that even for them, money talks.

LAKE OCONEE DAWG

March 22nd, 2010
12:44 pm

Young Dooley left Tommy Spangler, his DC at Louisiana Tech, back in Ruston, La. Tommy Spangler was a lot of the reason for whatever success young Dooley has had….What happened with that? From DC and his most trusted assistant to NO JOB OFFER AT TENNESSEE…..I guess loyalty in this case was a one way street…..

Lord of the Lizards

March 22nd, 2010
12:47 pm

Great to have you back Tony! Yes, Dooley has quite a job up at Rocky Top after Lane left a train wreck up there. Makes you wonder what’s in store for USCw. Also…was at the Saturday UF spring practice and I can tell you that Urban Meyer was annimated and having fun. You can hear him from way across the practice field and you can see his enthusiasm particularly after a few plays by the true freshmen. He is going to be fine. As you said, last season was so unusual and became such a grind with all the crazy things and the bone crushing expectations. The Dunlap arrest and beatdown in the Bama game was the final straw and I can tell you as a fan that it was crushing to go thru that kind of exhausting, weird season just to see it go THUD. But the Sugar Bowl and recruiting class has everyone here re-energized and realizing that we have alot of talent coming back and also coming in. You can really see it in the players this spring and most of all in the head coach.

Dave In Tampa

March 22nd, 2010
12:50 pm

The UGA downward spiral continues

Gee you this this guy is from the Nerd Herd. Everyone else from other schools are talking football and welcoming TB back. That is one of MANY reasons nobody likes the tech fan base. Totally clueless individuals.. For the most part. There are a few that actual stick to what the discusion is about!

Matt the Brave

March 22nd, 2010
12:56 pm

Selah, right? ;D

I’m wondering how you think Georgia Tech’s going to reach towards winning the ACC but getting hammered in the bowl game and against UGA? Motivation for them this coming season? And who replaces Johnson at tailback?

I’m a die-hard Dawg, but I want us to stay ahead of the in-state competition. :D

Herschel Talker

March 22nd, 2010
12:58 pm

Tony – your writing has been missed. Welcome back.

THE FIRST HERSCHEL

P.S. Fire Mark Richt!

So, will ND join`...

March 22nd, 2010
1:00 pm

…the Big 11 for football only, and maintain its place in the Big East for basketball? Now THAT would be a sound investment….

Darindawg

March 22nd, 2010
1:06 pm

“UGA downward spiral”…..Uh…let’s see….According to you, UGA is not an “elite program”. We’ve beaten GT 8 of the last 9 years, including last season when we struggled to get 8 wins, which would be a good year for Tech, but a down year for us since we average 10 wins a season under Richt. GT however, had their best year since 1990 and won the ACC championship but still lost to an average UGA team (by our standards). So, if we are not “elite”….what the heck does that make GT?!

put the pipe down

March 22nd, 2010
1:06 pm

Dawg Bone,

You should stop smoking whatever it is you’ve been lighting up. It’s made you quite delusional.

WE ARE SC

March 22nd, 2010
1:25 pm

Tony Barnhart

March 22nd, 2010
9:57 am
…it would be interesting Karma of USC got hammered…

So Mr. Barnhart, we can add you to the long list of haters. How’s that jive with journalistic integrity?

At SC we say, Talks Cheap, Let’s Play. I understand why you would like the NCAA to “hammer” SC; the SEC hasn’t had much luck doing so, in this century.

WonderDawg

March 22nd, 2010
1:32 pm

To answer Darindawg’s rhetorical question, “what the heck does that make GT”? INVISIBLE!! Jeez, more tv viewers watched “The Biggest Loser” and “NCIS” than last year’s Orange Bowl. And those who did, probably did so to see Iowa. Ha!

WonderDawg

March 22nd, 2010
1:37 pm

Too bad SC didn’t make the big game against UF, LSU, or Bama the last few years …. It wouldn’t have been pretty, “WE ARE SC.” The SEC does pretty well in the BCS against all comers, wouldn’t you say?

Darindawg

March 22nd, 2010
1:41 pm

“We are SC”…..You gotta be kidding? No wonder they call it the “Smack-10″. You gonna come over here talking smack after last season? Your boys looked like ANYTHING but a powerhouse last season and now they’ve got the death nail….Kiffin. Just ask the UT fans where your program is headed from here. Most likely response?….to the depths of Hell. It’s over for USC…Carroll got out while the gettin was good.

TampaGator

March 22nd, 2010
2:04 pm

I for one thing both Meyer and the Gators will have more fun this year…and be a better team for it. Gators go undefeated this year and win it all with the best QB in the country…John Brantley. And remember this name Dawg fans…….Stephen Ali. 6′6 and 225 lb redshirt wide receiver that runs a 4.3 and catches everything near him. He is turning everyone’s head at spring practice. And Donte Thompson is looking really good at the #1 WR position too. And Dubose and Moore are back at WR as well. The D looks really fast and really good. Gillesie (big and very fast) and Moody are running well…including runs from the I formation from the TB position (Demps is running track). Think again if you believe the Gators are anything less than the frontrunners in the East for next year. Just a dream (soon to be a nightmare) if you think not.

Ali Babba

March 22nd, 2010
2:20 pm

That’s one fast Muslum!

Monday ??????s « Get The Picture

March 22nd, 2010
2:22 pm

[...] which is it for Tennessee – do the Vols “have a lot of work to do”, or are they on an even [...]

WonderDawg

March 22nd, 2010
2:23 pm

No, TampaGator, I don’t really have dreams or nightmares about football. I dream about the cheerleaders. Thanks anyway…

Realistic Bama Fan

March 22nd, 2010
2:25 pm

Tony,

Look Urban Myer is a pretty great coach, but he just ran into a really great Alabama team and it caused him to have a heart attack. He will have better days especially with that crazy recruiting class he has.

WE ARE SC

March 22nd, 2010
2:25 pm

Talks Cheap, Let’s Play!

Jeff

March 22nd, 2010
2:34 pm

Glad to have you back!

trust me, Tampa Gator...

March 22nd, 2010
2:36 pm

…if Ali was anything like you describe he would have played last year…not saying he will not develop, but as a “go to guy” right now, remember this is spring practice – remember running back Carlton Thomas at UGA last spring was “all that” yet he could not get on the field at all, even as bad at running back as UGA was for most of the season

Only time will tell….

The Truth

March 22nd, 2010
2:40 pm

Tony, Welcome back. I am hoping that you will be on ESPN tv again this year with that crazy-@ss ex-Texas linebacker. lol
For the off season, all of us SEC brethren can agree upon our mutual hatred of anything USC and Lane Kiffin. They deserve each other and will hopefully reap the full benefits of LK and PC past grievances…

on Alli

March 22nd, 2010
2:43 pm

Trust me, Tampa Gator

Stephen Alli graduated a year early from high school and was a young 17 year old as a redshirt freshman for the Gators last year. He came to Florida last year knowing he would redshirt because he in no way was physically ready to play being so young. He has spent the past year getting acclimated to college life and in the training room getting ready to contribute this upcoming season. He’s pretty smart dude as well…

Russ the Temporary Mascot

March 22nd, 2010
2:45 pm

Derek needs to fire that mangy coonhound they have as a mascot and bring me to Knoxville. You know they’re going to fire my butt here in Athens just as soon as one of the young pups is big enough to take over. I’ll probably end up in a storage shed or something. Anyhow, I don’t want to front again for another Dawg team that will go 7-5 and end up in Shreveport again.

But tell him there ain’t nobody going to paint my a$$ white. And I don’t want to hear any of this garbage about me being old and sick. Especially on national TV. I got plenty left. Send a plane down here to the kennel, Derek. You won’t be sorry.

mjrgator

March 22nd, 2010
2:52 pm

You have been missed, sir. Southern college football isn’t the same without you perspective. Welcome back.

GT

March 22nd, 2010
3:36 pm

I think they did just fine with Dooley. Tommy T has a little of that rolling stone in him like Lane K. In fact Tuberville may be the more offensive in the fact he was incestuous and went to another SEC rival. I dealt Tennessee steps on the same field as Southern California for quiet a while. You will practically have to be in the championship game to match up like that. How long has it been since Georgia has played USC? Not Georgia Southern but Southern Cal. This is why Georgia’s program was not picked as one of the top five or so in the country the last decade, they don’t play anybody outside the SEC.

jumbeauxtiger

March 22nd, 2010
4:13 pm

It’s good to have you back Tony.

And while the Big 12 is expanding is it out of reach for the SEC to go after Texas and Oklahoma? just a thought.

Geaux Tigers
Go SEC

jumbeauxtiger

March 22nd, 2010
4:14 pm

I meant since the “Big 10″ may be expanding…

Comin' Down The Track

March 22nd, 2010
4:29 pm

GT,
You’re right. Last year, other than Arizona State, Oklahoma State we only played GT. Like you said “… (we) don’t play anybody.”
What can I say?
When you’re right, you’re right.
Nobody.

JC in Powder Springs

March 22nd, 2010
4:48 pm

Tony, do you think the Gator Bowl shifting to the SEC signals the potential demise of the ACC? It wouldn’t surprise me at all if a few good football programs like FSU, Miami and VaTech jumped ship from a predominantly basketball conference. Those schools simply don’t care much about BB – their bread & butter is football, and the ACC is dragging them down.

You can bet your last dollar Oregon coach Chip Kelly will have another QB ready for Tennessee. Not sure about Oregon’s D, but Kelly’s offense will be ready to play.

crack for lindsey

March 22nd, 2010
4:53 pm

Down here in Flawda, we love us some Barnhart! You’re much better than than the other guy. Evidently the bammers like you, too. It’ll be fun watching the Todd find out about Saban’s year-after letdown. With all the close games they had last season, their depleted defense should make things amusing for rival fans. I can tell you the Gators are looking forward to their trip to Tideville. Is Louisiana Tech on the schedule? By the way, concerned tiders, Meyer’s heart is doing just fine – has Saban found that inch he shrank after the ‘08 SECCG?

I have just one thing to say to any dog fan that thinks this decade will be any different from the last two in regards to UF: concentrate on GT.

WE OWN YOU AND YOU KNOW IT!

SaintsLSU

March 22nd, 2010
4:55 pm

Agreed Comin Down the Track, UGA’s non-conference schedule has been very respectable the past few years, don’t know what GT was talking about.

SEC=Schools Enrolling Criminals

March 22nd, 2010
5:14 pm

JC in Powder Springs

March 22nd, 2010
4:48 pm
…You can bet your last dollar Oregon coach Chip Kelly will have another QB ready for Tennessee. Not sure about Oregon’s D, but Kelly’s offense will be ready to play…

Good point. H3ll with all the arrests at Oregon the SEC should draft them as an honorary member of the criminal enrollment sweepstakes.

Sports Hall of Fame

March 22nd, 2010
5:25 pm

Interested in sports? Have a twitter? Follow @ASHOF

Ron

March 22nd, 2010
5:34 pm

Welcome back from a 1963 UPHS grad

Doug

March 22nd, 2010
6:01 pm

As much as I don’t like Kifin he is not responsible for the current state of our football program. He left a decent class of sophomores and red-shirt freshmen for this year in addition to 8 recruits who were already on campus when he left.

Our problem is Fulmer sat on his fatass the last few years in recruiting and we have, as I mentioned before, the weakest junior and senior classes we have ever had.

Bo in North Carolina

March 22nd, 2010
8:25 pm

Tony, welcome back! Looking forward to your report on the SEC

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March 22nd, 2010
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RomeDawg

March 22nd, 2010
8:40 pm

Glad your back Tony!

Tide Rising

March 22nd, 2010
10:16 pm

TB,

I’ve been jonesin for some football talk so welcome back. Everybody should be in spring practice mode so I hope to hear a lot of blogging from you on how the different teams are looking during spring practice. Glad to have you back!

#2 BAMA FAN

March 23rd, 2010
5:35 am

Tony you have been on vacation to long. I listen to you on Coach Matthews show all the time and enjoy your stories about college football and the SEC and of course the NC Alabama Crimson Tide!!
The Boy Blunder sorry story in K-town was very funny to this Bama fan and really will miss the stupid things he said and did. Tennessee should give Dooley some time for turning the program around after
Fulmer ran the program in the ground and Kiffin made UT the laughning stock of college football!! RTR

Charlie Bama

March 23rd, 2010
6:50 am

Welcome back, Tony. We missed you. Enjoyed your various TV gigs this past season–Hope the transition to broadcast continues for you. You are right–Dooley Jr has his hands full. I think it will get worse for the Orange Killbillies before it gets better. Hope USC gets all they paid for and more, if you know what I mean and I strongly suspect you do. Rolll Tide!

Dick Nixon

March 23rd, 2010
8:27 am

I see the Gators at 7-5 at best. Myer not enough energy with a change in his meds. Say Tony, if it is suppose to be just fun, why the all the cheating, why would a school hire a liar like Saben, a narrcisistic jerk like Myer. It is big big big business and if dwelling on the foibles of your enemies works us it.

Dawg Real

March 23rd, 2010
10:21 am

Tennessee will be way down—The dawgs will beat them like a rented mule. Ga’s only competition in the SEC east is florida and they are way down. Brantley? He’s no tebow–he’s all finesse and can’t take a hit. GA beats Florida—you heard it here first!

Gator Mike

March 23rd, 2010
12:47 pm

Welcome back Tony. Also, I agree with you that Coach Meyer does not owe everyone an explanation. Personally, I am not interested in what happened, and I only hope that he is doing better.

crack for lindsey

March 23rd, 2010
2:15 pm

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help, I live in Ga

March 23rd, 2010
8:48 pm

Glad you’re back Tony, nothing to do but read about the Olymipics–ouch.

It will be hard for you to not be nice to the boys in orange now that the offspring of one of your own football gods is leading them. This should be fun.

He will have the same chanllenges, but he will do it with class and a southern draw. Bottom line: if he goes 7-5 and beats Ga and SC again, he will be considered a success in his first year.

Oh yeah, and he has to stay around for his second year too.

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