UT's Dooley says 'a good headline in March' won't 'win you any football games'

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During his first appearance as Tennessee’s head coach at the SEC spring meetings, Derek Dooley spent a good amount of time praising the head coach of the reigning national champs.  And also found time to take a lil’ jab at the “vocal stylings” of his Volunteer predecessor.

The first-year coach was asked if he followed the drama created by Lane Kiffin‘s first — and only — offseason as UT’s head coach while he was still the sideline boss at Louisiana Tech.

“Of course, I did,” Dooley said according to the Knoxville News Sentinel. “He was on the cover of Sports Illustrated. . . . I watch other coaches, how they handle themselves in tough situations.

“It wasn’t my style. That’s Lane’s style. I’m not here to criticize his style. Everybody is a little different.

“But I don’t think it helps you to win football games, getting in verbal attacks with each other. At the end of the day, a good headline in March isn’t going to win you any football games.”

(chuckle)

Then the talk turned to Saban.  Dooley spent seven seasons — five at LSU, two with the Miami Dolphins — on Saban-coached staffs, and there’s little denying that he sees the Alabama coach as a mentor and holds his former boss in very high regard.

“He probably has a tremendous amount of influence on my day-to-day operation of a football program,” Dooley said. “One of the reasons I really enjoyed working for Nick so long is that philosophically we’re cut from the same cloth.”

Saban was quick to respond with some praise of his own.

“Derek is a fine young coach,” Saban said. “He is a very good recruiter, very personable, and probably one of the most organized guys we’ve ever had on our staff.

“He made an outstanding contribution in every way. He understands the big picture.”

It’s understandable that a certain percentage of those residing on Rocky Top, given the circumstances that lead to Dooley’s arrival — Kiffin bolting for USC after one year, and Dooley being far from the school’s top choice as a replacement — were and still are a bit apprehensive about Dooley’s hiring, but something tells me that he’s going to be a success.

It may not happen immediately, and it may take a couple of years to rebuild, but, again, something tells me he’ll have the Volunteers back competing at a high level in the SEC sooner rather than later.

That might be my high regard for for his father Vince Dooley clouding my judgment, though, so take this potential Nostradumbass moment with a grain of salt the size of Mark Mangino.

Florida’s statement on Jim McElwain’s death-threat claim is interesting, to say the least

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Maybe it’s nothing, maybe it’s something.  Regardless, it’s something that bears watching.

Losers of two in a row and off to a 3-3 start to the season,  Florida has underperformed and underwhelmed to say the least.  So much so, in fact, that head coach Jim McElwain indicated Monday that he, his family, his coaching staff and players have been subjected to death threats by unknown individuals.

The head coach went into no detail publicly regarding the nature of the threats.  Apparently, it was the same privately when discussing the situation with his employer.

OK then.

Again, it could be in the same neighborhood as naked shark humping — nothing. Bears watching, though, as one very outspoken member of the Florida media is very much already doing publicly about a situation that was apparently reported to the media before it was reported to the police or even the university.

LOOK: Arizona State to wear Pat Tillman-themed uniforms

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Pat Tillman is essentially the Knute Rockne of Arizona State football, the central figure that will be as important to the program 100 years from now as he is today. And while Notre Dame will wear Rockne-themed uniforms later this season, so, too, will Arizona State.

The program revealed Tillman-centric uniforms on Monday for their Nov. 4 game with Colorado, based on the uniform Tillman wore as a member of the U.S. Army while fighting in Afghanistan.

Tillman played linebacker at Arizona State from 1994-97 (he was named the Pac-10’s Defensive Player of the Year as a senior) and then spent four seasons with the Arizona Cardinals before the events of 9/11 inspired him to join the U.S. Army. He was a member of the Army Rangers before he was killed in action in Afghanistan on April 22, 2004, at age 27.

Arizona State unveiled a Tillman statue at Sun Devil Stadium at its season-opening win over New Mexico State.

“Pat spent his whole life trying to be the best person he could possibly be,” Kevin Tillman, Pat’s brother, said at the unveiling. “He didn’t focus on money, he didn’t focus on fame, he didn’t focus on a pretty statue. It was, ‘How can I make myself a better person in all these different facets of my life?’ And ASU gave him an opportunity to do that.”

Jim McElwain says family, players have received death threats over 3-3 start

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Florida has lost two in a row and is off to a 3-3 start, and that streak will probably reach three on Saturday after the Gators meet No. 3 Georgia. While everyone knows SEC fans are passionate about their football, some have taken Florida’s struggles too far.

How far? By threatening to kill the players and coaches.

“I think it’s a pretty good lesson for the way things are,” head coach Jim McElwain said, via Only Gators. “There’s a lot of hate in this world and a lot of anger. And yet, it’s freedom to show it. The hard part is, obviously, when it’s threats against your own players, death threats to your families, the ill will that’s brought upon out there. And yet, I think it’s really one of those deals that really is a pretty good testament to what’s going on out there nationally. There’s a lot of angry people, and in this business, we’re the ones you take the shots at. And that’s the way it is.”

In my experience, it seems people lodging death threats are far more serious about the threat part than the, uh, other. But that’s easy for me to say, I’ve never received one.

Report: Sam Darnold expected to return to USC in 2018

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Sam Darnold was appointed the No. 1 pick of the 2018 NFL Draft on the second day of 2017. As a redshirt freshman, Darnold torched Penn State to the tune of 33-of-53 passing for 453 yards with five touchdowns and one interception in a 52-49 Rose Bowl win.

One problem, though. Darnold hasn’t played like a No. 1 pick this season.

While he hasn’t been the most disappointing player on what’s turning out to be a disappointing USC team, Darnold has posted pedestrian numbers (for him): hitting 63.5 percent of his passes for an even eight yards per attempt with 17 touchdowns against 10 interceptions. He ranks 38th nationally in passing efficiency. This puts him, coincidentally, one spot ahead of former USC quarterback Max Browne.

On Monday, NFL Draft analyst Benjamin Allbright shared a report that Darnold is expected to return to USC next season.

Considering Ronald Jones could return next season and that Stephen Carr is just a freshman, the prospect of Darnold returning in 2018 has to take the sting out of a lost 2017 for Trojans fans.