Wednesday, January 20, 2010

What Do you Mean by "Substance," Tony?

I like Tony Barnhart, but he annoys me at times when the unreconstructed traditionalist in him gets loose. Such is the case with his claim that Tennessee hiring Derek Dooley is a "triumph of substance over style." Barnhart's evidence for Dooley's substance:

1. Dooley gave up on a legal career to coach. Something tells me that if I quit legal practice and announced my candidacy for head coaching positions in the SEC, I wouldn't get very far. But then again, my last name isn't Dooley, and that's the point.

2. "But in the final analysis, the younger Dooley is not only the right kind of coach, he is the right kind of MAN that Tennessee needs to lead its football program at this point in history." And your evidence for this is...what?

Look, I'd be fine if Barnhart ran a piece that said that he has a good relationship with Vince Dooley and he's happy that Dooley's son got a major head coaching gig in the SEC. I have no problem with a personal, "I'm feeling good" piece. I do have a problem when Barnhart takes his subjective feelings and turns them into a ham-handed attempt at an objective argument. There is no objective way to justify Tennessee hiring a guy whose head coaching experience consists of going 17-20 in the WAC. Tennessee just got burned by hiring a coach who was most noted for being the son of a great football mind; what in G-d's name are they doing repeating the same mistake? Maybe Dooley will do well and illustrate the maxim that we never can be sure which coaches will succeed and which will fail, but there is no good reason to think he will right now. Sorry, but I'm not persuaded by Tony vouching for Derek's character. Gerry Faust was also a great guy.


Robert said...

I believe EDSBS is referring to him as Mike Shula with a law degree -- nice.

Anonymous said...

I think Tennessee is going to regret passing on David Cutcliff. For the price of a couple of assistants, they missed out on a coach with incredible appeal to aspiring QBs, who has been a relatively successful head coach at both Mississippi and Duke.

I'd rather go into a QB's living room knowing that I only have to explain why I'm a better bet than Derek Doodley from Ruston Tennessee than why I'm a better bet than the guy who coached up both Mannings and who put Thad Lewis on the map.

Stephen said...

For a much more coherent argument than TB's, see;jsessionid=53A47D080AA566366DA580F019A934D5.cnnsi1b

Whether or not you agree with Staples' points, it's at least better than TB's diatribe.

Jesse said...

I didn't think Tenn passed on Cutcliff so much as he turned them down, right after Muschamp and right before the guy from Air Force.

I wasn't in on that conversation between the two parties, so I could be mistaken.

Anonymous said...


I think that Tennessee "passed" on Cutcliff by requiring him to take the assistants who are currently on the Tennessee payroll, and not allowing him to bring his own staff. So I guess I should say "regret not doing what it took to land Cutcliff" instead of "passing" on Cutcliff.

Still foolish thinking: penny wise and pound foolish.

Anonymous said...

If UT was interested in hiring the son of a coaching legend, why not go after Skip Holtz? Holtz didn't take the USF job until 2 days after Kiffin quit. He should have pursued Holtz instead of chasing coaches in Colorado and Utah.

What did Mike Hamilton's emergency short list look like anyway? Muschamp, Cutcliff, Le Deluge?

Jesse said...


Agreed on it being foolish. If Kiffin took the two co-ordinators with him, then were they really attempting to force Cutcliff to use the position coaches as his co-ordinators? If so, then jaybus they are dumb and the coach they ended up with is the level of coach they should have expected (and deserve) to begin with. Also, why should Cutcliff suffer for their overspending?

Foolish indeed.