Monday, March 26, 2012

Is Derek Dooley running a football program, or a wannabe Fortune 500 company?

image On Sunday afternoon, in his pre-spring practice press conference, Tennessee head football coach Derek Dooley said he wanted to emphasize his organization’s “core values.”

"One is just demonstrating winning edge values which was a big emphasis for us--kind of redefining our core values: what they stand for, things like discipline, toughness, effort and teamwork. Also secondly, demonstrating individual investment in being the best player and best team we can be. I was really proud of this football team over the last eight weeks. Everybody on the team--everybody on the team--showed significant opportunity in all those areas."

I’m shocked he didn’t encourage his staff and team to think outside of the box. You know… Identify those areas of low hanging fruit and focus on the key principles of good leadership and strong forward thinking.

Has Derek Dooley been reading winter workout reports or Malcolm Baldrige talking points?

Does he want to win football games or does he want to win points for critical aspects of management that contribute to performance excellence?

I’m not going to embed the nearly 30 minute long video because if you’re a football fan, it will make you sick to your stomach.

For God’s sake, he’s decided to develop an organizational chart. Not a depth chart, mind you. An organizational chart.

When Dooley was hired, I thought it was one of the best steps that the Tennessee football program could have made. The program made a name for itself from General Robert Neyland through Philip Fulmer as team that won by literally knocking the slobber out of opponents. Dooley is an alleged Nick Saban disciple and was widely thought to be a guy who could restore the toughness and discipline that Tennessee football seemed to had lost.

He’s a good guy, from good football genes. He’s supposed to have learned from the best and has a reputation as one of the high character guys in the coaching fraternity. He was supposed to take Tennessee to the next level.

You ain’t getting there with organization charts and meetings that talk about core values. This is football. It’s not death by PowerPoint©.

You don’t contend for the Southeastern Conference and National Championships by winning the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. When you put crystal hardware in the trophy case, then you can talk about your core values and how far outside the box you’re thinking.

But if you go 11-14 in your first two years as a head coach and celebrate wins against Vanderbilt as if you’d beaten someone like… Alabama… You need to start thinking about how many men you can afford to put in the box.

The Third Saturday in October Rivalry has been one of the SEC’s greatest. It’s one of those storied series that defines the conference and makes it premier broadcast on CBS one of the turn-to games of Saturday afternoons. In the SEC, Tennessee is second only to Alabama in conference championships and national championships. In fact, no team in the country has more wins against Alabama than Tennessee does. At seven games, no team in the country has beaten Alabama more times in a streak than Tennessee has.

Alabama fans have a special place in their colon for Tennessee, but at the same time we realize how important it is for Tennessee football to be Tennessee Football.

Tennessee as the 2012 winner of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award for College Football might as well be a homecoming opponent for Mrs. State.

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aaronUT said...

I am a Tennessee fan, but this column is not only well written, but absolutely true (unfortunately). I knew Dooley wasn't the hard-nosed, scare you senseless coach when he came to UT. But I hoped (vainly) that he would encourage football players to play with strength, momentum, tenacity, and maybe a little swagger. So far all I have seen are excuses and plans for a more refined/organized group of players. I am a Tennessee fan, but I really, REALLY just want to beat Alabama and Florida again. We can go public later.

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