Monthly Archives: December 2012

Derek Dooley briefly emerges on Twitter, starts but doesn’t finish Top 10 list

derek-dooley-tennesssee-ncstate.JPGKNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Social media has been all the rage in Knoxville since the hiring of new coach Butch Jones and his tech-savvy staff.

But while Jones and his coaches offer plenty of rah-rah optimism, what was missing was the wit and snark for which Twitter is known.

Enter former Tennessee coach Derek Dooley, whose Twitter debut has been long awaited since he sent his first tweet shortly after being fired.

While Dooley’s first new tweets today got us off to a rousing start, he left us hanging only 10 percent into the countdown. 

UPDATE: No. 9 has been posted.

Read on for the Storified details…

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Butch Jones’ 1st staff meets the press: A roundup of the most interesting notes and quotes (with video)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Butch Jones has been on a whirlwind media tour this week. On Thursday, it was time for his assistant coaches to get in on the fun.

We talked to seven on-field assistants and one strength coach today. Two assistants — receivers coach Zach Azzanni and assistant head coach/defensive line coach Steve Stripling — are preparing for bowl games.

That’s a lot to sift through, and some of the coaches’ answers will find there way into stories in the next week or so. For now, here’s a roundup of the most interesting notes and quotes from today’s media session.

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Tennessee is 9th ‘most valuable’ team in college football, according to Forbes

dave-hart-kns.JPGKNOXVILLE, Tennessee Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart and new coach Butch Jones talk frequently of the importance of the Vols’ football “brand.”

Even former Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer, when I spoke to him earlier this month at his Hall of Fame induction, spoke of the importance of rebuilding Tennessee’s iconic national brand in college football.

“We have built a brand at Tennessee that we lost, but we can get back,” Fulmer said.

Despite five years of mediocre football, the road may not be as long as some think.

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Butch Jones, his staff and the state of Michigan: A story in Google Maps

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — I’m working on a story about the background of Butch Jones’ coaching staff that might not run until next week.

But after spending far too long on a Google Map of his staff’s Michigan ties, I couldn’t help but share it early.

If there are problems with the format below, you can click here to see the full map.

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Butch Jones: ‘You’re not going to find a harder working coach’ in recruiting

butch-jones-gatorade.JPGKNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Butch Jones has spent enough time recruiting in the South to know just how competitive the landscape is.

He had some interesting comments about that on two radio shows he did this week.

Asked about how tough it was to play in the SEC, Jones offered that it was just as tough to recruit.

“There are no off-days,” he said. “You have to bring your A-game. That’s what makes it exciting. If you are a competitor, you want those challenges each and every day.

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Butch Jones says former coaches Dickey, Majors, Fulmer have been ‘extremely supportive’

phillip-fulmer-hof.jpgKNOXVILLE, Tennessee — New Tennessee coach Butch Jones said he’s already spoken to three former coaches who were the face of Vols football for nearly three decades.

Jones said he spoke with Doug Dickey (1964-1969), Johnny Majors (1977-1992) and Phillip Fulmer (1992-2008) shortly after being hired.

“They’ve been extremely supportive,” Jones said Sunday night on “The Nation” sports radio show. “We have such a great tradition here, and I want to embrace that. I want our players to understand what they’re representing when they put that Power T on. That’s going to be at the core of our program — our tradition and how we build on that.”

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New strength coach Dave Lawson will set tempo, temperament for Vols in 2013

dave-lawson-mug.jpegKNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Butch Jones has warned his players not to get too fat or comfortable over Christmas break.

“When we get back, it’s full steam ahead,” Jones said Monday night on the Vol Calls radio show.

New football strength coach Dave Lawson will be presiding over the weight room when they return, charged with fulfilling Jones’ goal of becoming psychologically and physically tough.

“He’s probably the most important individual on the staff,” Jones said. “He sets the temperament for the team. We talk about mental conditioning for success. That’s all born in the weight room.”

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Butch Jones on new WRs coach Zach Azzanni: ‘I think he’s the best in the country’

zach-azzanni.jpgKNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Receivers coach Zach Azzanni was the final coach hired Butch Jones’ rapidly assembled staff.

While Azzanni had close links to Jones, his path to Knoxville wasn’t a given.

Jones could have turned to his receivers coach and recruiting coordinator at Cincinnati in T.J. Weist. He pursued and offered the job to former Vol great Tee Martin. (Martin turned the job down to remain at Southern California).

But ultimately Jones turned to Azzanni, his assistant head coach at Central Michigan who later served at Florida, Western Kentucky and most recently Wisconsin.

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Departure of Justin Hunter highlights Tennessee’s massive holes to fill at receiver in 2013

justin-hunter-amy-smotherman-burgess.JPGKNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Justin Hunter (sort of) announced Monday what most had long assumed: He will forgo his final year of eligibility to enter the NFL draft.

Junior Cordarrelle Patterson will likely take the same path, although he deserves the chance to make the announcement on his own terms.*

Hunter and Patterson will get the most attention, but the loss of two seniors — tight end Mychal Rivera and receiver Zach Rogers — will also seriously deplete the Vols’ receiving game.

There is no position that will undergo a greater rebuilding in 2013, and first-year coach Butch Jones and his newly hired receivers coach, Zach Azzanni, will have to break in receivers this spring and summer in order to have some bodies ready for the opener.

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Butch Jones’ Twitter surges in popularity, then goes blank

butch-jones-presser.JPGKNOXVILLE, Tennessee — New Tennessee football coach Butch Jones has embraced Twitter, posting updates about his first few days on the job and frequently interacting with fans.

Within days, Jones had surpassed 50,000 followers, making him the fourth-most followed head coach in the country.

Then, on Thursday night, he reached a new distinction.

His account was suspended by Twitter. Going to @UTCoachJones profile on Twitter gives you a blank page saying, “The profile you are trying to view has been suspended.”

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