In the locker room after Tennessee dropped Vanderbilt in a somewhat controversial finish Saturday, Vols head coach Derek Dooley was, shall we say, exuberant in addressing his team. So exuberant, in fact, that he decided to make note of the fact that UT has utterly owned its in-state divisional “rival”.
“The one thing that Tennessee always does is kick the s— out of Vandy,” Dooley said in a video that can be seen by clicking HERE.
Technically, Dooley is correct; the Commodores’ only win in the past 29 years came in 2005, and the Vols own a 73-27-5 advantage in the series overall. Those numbers, though, weren’t enough to keep Dooley’s counterpart from feeling disrespected.
By way of The Tennessean, James Franklin told the media Monday that while he had not seen Dooley’s speech, he did hear about it. And, suffice to say, it was something he neither appreciated nor will forget between now and next year’s game.
“We’ll talk about it next year – a lot,” Franklin said. “We’ll talk about it as much as you guys want to talk about it next year. We’ll watch it as many times as we’ve got to watch it next year. That’s a wound that I’m going to leave open that’s not going to heal. We’ll leave it open for a year and we’ll discuss it next year.
“I look at it as respect. Some people act like they won the Super Bowl and they beat a team that the two previous years had won four games total. Obviously, we are closing the gap and threatening some people and making some people uncomfortable. We’ll see. We’ll leave it at that. We’ll move on. But we’ll have a lot of discussion about this next year when the time is right.”
Dooley’s reaction was somewhat understandable. He’s already under fire less than two seasons on the job, plus he sees what Franklin’s building at a school that has served as a perennial doormat for the Vols specifically and the SEC in general. And these aren’t the Vols of years gone by, either, the talented kind that could just show up and beat teams like pre-Franklin Vandy.
But Franklin also has every right to take offense to Dooley’s giddiness, and every right to to slap it up on the bulletin board in the week leading up to the UT game. Something tells me, given what Franklin’s doing with that football program, he may not need any external incentive to help him beat a team like the Vols in the coming years.