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Blog Entry

Are Vols fans not sold on Dooley?

Posted on: July 18, 2011 12:40 pm
Edited on: July 18, 2011 1:55 pm
 
Posted by Jerry Hinnen

If you want a quick and easy gauge of how happy a college football team's fanbase is with its current lot in life, check out their season ticket sales. Auburn fans? Yep, pretty happy: they've sold out their season tickets for this season. Oregon fans? Hope you like standing-room-only. Think Mississippi State supporters are pleased with Dan Mullen's decision to return to Starkville for another season? They've already broken their record for earliest sell-out, set just last year.

Contrast that with the reports out of Tennessee, where the picture isn't nearly so rosy:
As of Friday, the school had sold roughly 61,500 of its 72,500 season tickets, said UT senior associate athletic director for external operations Chris Fuller. That's about 2,000-2,500 tickets fewer than what was sold at this point last year.
"We've got some work left to do for sure," Fuller said. "When you look at the factors in our case, obviously most of our fans lock in on performance.
"If you win, they'll come."
Certainly, last year's 6-7 mark isn't the kind of winning Volunteer fans are used to. But the chaos of the Lane Kiffin era didn't exactly leave the cupboard full, and on paper, Tennessee should be much improved in 2011. There's budding stars at quarterback (Tyler Bray) and wide receiver (Justin Hunter); arguably the SEC's best secondary now that Janzen Jackson has returned; the natural improvement that comes with being in the second year of a coaching transition; and the impressive* four-game winning streak to end the regular season.

In short, this seems like the perfect formula for an atmosphere of optimism and excitement, and with dates against LSU, Georgia and South Carolina, the home schedule shouldn't be that much of a drag. So why aren't Volunteer fans buying in? Is there a way to answer that question that doesn't suggest skepticism regarding Derek Dooley?

Maybe. The economy's still no great shakes, of course. Cavernous Neyland Stadium means that sell-outs are going to be naturally harder to come by. And improved or not, the Vols are almost certainly still another year or two away from being an SEC East contender again.

But we doubt too many Mississippi State fans believe they've got a shot at an SEC West title, and that hasn't stopped them. No team in the country has been more disappointing over the past two seasons than Georgia, but the Dawgs sold out their 2010 season tickets with ease and have already bought their entire allotment of seats for the 2011 opener vs. Boise State. In the SEC, any glimmer of hope is usually enough for demand to outstrip supply.

Not selling out still isn't an issue, necessarily, considering the huge numbers of seats the Vols have available. But that tickets are selling at a reduced pace in year two of the Dooley era suggests all the same that the Volunteer rank-and-file simply weren't impressed by year one, and don't yet see the need to get in on the ground floor for years three and four.

It's far too early to start speculating about what this might mean for Dooley's job security. But with a new A.D. in charge (eventually), we also don't doubt Dooley is already feeling the pressure to make sure that downward arrow on the sales graph is heading in a different direction this time next summer.

*Yeah, the wins came over Memphis, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt and Kentucky. Still, the average margin of victory in the streak was 24 points, with none of the four decided by single digits. That's nothing to sneeze at.



Comments

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: July 20, 2011 10:04 pm
 

Are Vols fans not sold on Dooley?

Does the NFL not have the same rule? It would have made a difference, you must not know much about football to make a statement like that. I agree you should not be able to commit an offensive penalty to stop the clock.
The NFL's rule only applies when a snap did not legally get off. North Carolina legally got the snap off and was then flagged for too many men. In order for the runoff to apply, the flag has to be a foul committed prior to the snap. Illegal substitution and illegal formation are not among these fouls, as was pointed out in a game between the Rams and Seahawks a few years ago when the Seahawks were whistled for a similar foul with under 10 seconds left and the Rams celebrated until Ed Hochuli informed them that there was no runoff in that situation. Similar to Carolina, the Seahawks hit a field goal with the clock stopped and won the game.

So the NFL does have the runoff rule, but it wouldn't have made a bit of difference. Under NFL rules, Tennessee still loses to North Carolina.




Since: Dec 7, 2006
Posted on: July 19, 2011 9:23 am
 

Are Vols fans not sold on Dooley?

Does the NFL not have the same rule? It would have made a difference, you must not know much about football to make a statement like that. I agree you should not be able to commit an offensive penalty to stop the clock.



Since: Jul 18, 2011
Posted on: July 18, 2011 2:37 pm
 

Are Vols fans not sold on Dooley?

I don’t believe that CDD is the real issue, UT fans are still reeling from the NCAA violations and awaiting on the final results. CDD is the main stay at Tennessee creating the best solution to a bad situation left by Kiffin, again as CDD says this is his 1st year on the job after working for a year just to stabilize UT Football program. Our schedule is down compared to what it should be or will be in year 2-3 or 4 for CDD, playing multiple young recruits along with still cleaning house with some old players creates a vulnerable team for mistakes. But after saying UT is one of the best over looked teams in the SEC, so keep them on your radar when the GATORS come calling, we will see if the offense can carry the defense thru the season. GO UT VOLS




Since: Jul 18, 2011
Posted on: July 18, 2011 2:10 pm
 

Are Vols fans not sold on Dooley?

Typical article from a Auburn Homer. This Vol sold on Dooley!



Since: Jul 18, 2011
Posted on: July 18, 2011 2:07 pm
 

Are Vols fans not sold on Dooley?

I don't think the sales reflect Derek Dooley so much as they reflect the athletic department as a whole. Mike Hamilton left a bad taste behind for Orange Nation and there's no leader in the athletic office for people to rely on and tell them things are going to be OK. I think it sucks for Dooley because he's the face of the program right now and he's so guarded with everything that it's hard to get a read on what the season will be like for Tennessee. Add to the fact only 2 players made the All-Conference list (even Dooley said that was a surprise) and it's more questions than answers for UT's athletic department. 2-yr football coach and rookie basketball/baseball coaches don't make it easier either. The only stability at this point is Pat Summit.



Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: July 18, 2011 1:25 pm
 

Are Vols fans not sold on Dooley?

This is also the same guy who once had 13 men on the field, had 10 another game and pushed for a rule change that wouldn't have made a darn bit of difference in his bowl game. I wouldn't be sold on Dooley either.


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