Tennessee Team News

‘Decade of Dysfunction’ book excerpt: Derek Dooley’s last stand

Derek Dooley was in far over his head as the head coach at Tennessee.

Gridiron Now contributor Mark Nagi is writing “Decade of Dysfunction,” a book which details the ten years that led up to Tennessee’s crazy coaching search of 2017. The book will be available in May on Amazon.

Here is the latest excerpt from that book, which details the final days of Derek Dooley’s tenure:

“The writing was on the wall for Derek Dooley. There was no way he was going to survive as Tennessee coach. There would be a new man in charge in 2013.

But there was still one more insult to come for “Precious.”

A week after the four OT loss to Missouri, the Vols had to play at Vanderbilt. Traditionally, this was a fun trip for Tennessee and their fans. They’d fill Vanderbilt Stadium and leave with a victory. The Vols were the big brothers, always ready to push their little brothers into the lake from the dock. But in 2012, the Commodores were pretty good. They were already 6-4 and bowl eligible.

Vanderbilt’s players and coaches certainly remembered Dooley’s “Kick the s— out of Vandy!” locker room comment after the 2011 game.

“It was disrespectful and you’re damn right we thought about that all year,” says Kyle Woestmann. He was a Commodores outside linebacker/defensive end from 2011-2014. “[Head coach James] Franklin played ‘Rocky Flop’ for like ten days straight in the locker room. That was enough to make us come out and make sure a statement was made. We wanted to punish UT. We knew they had some struggles in 2012 and that it would be a great year to dominate them.”

Franklin fired up the student section during warmups. They were expecting to see the Commodores beat Tennessee for what would only be the second time in thirty-six years.

“I remember [defensive coordinator Bob] Shoop sitting in the locker room telling [defensive back] Andre Hal that he would have two interceptions and he did and telling me I’d have a sack and I did,” said Woestmann. “We knew the talent on our team was elite enough to be very competitive and to be a very good SEC team.”

Following a tipped pass interception in the second quarter, Dooley benched quarterback Tyle Bray. This was when he finally chose to discipline his star player? Bray returned for the third quarter and finished the game with a season low 103 yards passing.

Tennessee was not beating Vanderbilt on this night.

RELATED: Following spring game, maybe 2018 Volunteers can be better than expected.

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