I feel a little “I told you so” is in order. Back in November 2012, I wrote a piece about what a mistake it would be to fire Derek Dooley at that point. The program was still reeling from the Lane Kiffin betrayal, and my point was that for the sake of stability and recruiting, not to mention the opportunity to search for a top-notch coaching candidate, the university should have given Dooley one more season. Of course, at the time, I was shouted down, ridiculed, and lambasted for saying such a thing. I wish I still had some of the screen grabs of the comments I got on social media.
You rabid fans, full of pipe dreams of Jon Gruden and Bill Cowher, wanted Dooley gone. Everything wrong with the program was HIS FAULT. You were the same fans who had said the exact same things about Randy Sanders a few years before, but I digress. In your irrational fervor, you were absolutely certain that a big name celebrity coach was going to waltz in, wave a magic wand, and return the program to glory.
Today, nearly seven years later, your football team is a joke, and I told you so.
Butch Jones was a terrible hire, but he was the best you were going to get amidst all of that chaos. To put it in perspective of how bad of a football coach Butch Jones actually was, he had Jalen Hurd starting in front of Alvin Kamara. That should tell you everything you need to know. To be fair, under Jones, the Vols played fairly well against the mediocre opponents, but your record against ranked SEC teams was 4-18.
Once again, you rabid fans are calling for the coach’s head. This time, Jeremy Pruitt has only been given a season and a quarter to rebuild the program. Barely two full recruiting classes. Still, you have been inundating talk radio with more venom and bile, flooding social media with negativity, and burning jerseys. After a season and a quarter. You idiots have no idea how much you are hindering recruiting and miring the university in less than mediocrity.
Until you accept that a coach, ANY COACH, needs time to bring talent into the program, you will remain a joke. Until you accept that the vast majority of the players currently in the starting lineup couldn’t make the roster of the elite SEC teams, you will remain a joke. Until you accept that it has been 20 years since you have been relevant as a national powerhouse and none of current recruits coming out of high school have seen this school compete for anything that matters, you will remain a joke.
And I told you so.