Idiot Wind

‘It’ has already started. ‘It’ always starts with just a few comments, and then builds and builds until the noise is so loud that your either have to simply turn it off or you become pulled into it by some mysterious gravational force.

It’s basically a decision based on personality.

I did something that I have gotten away from doing for reasons including (1) preservation of my own sanity, (2) aversion to wasting more time in my life than I already do, and (3) abstention from endeavors that generally have no redeeming qualities…

…I spent time reading posted comments to articles on GoVolsXtra.com

Here is a random sampler.

‘The two point play was another blunder by Dooley. In a couple of more years Hart can bring in his own coaches and the Vols can become relevant again.”

‘Coach Dool-ittle… STONE, horrible coaching, my drunk cousin called to take him out twice before the disaster finally happened. Not to mention the bad center exchanges while under (s)enter (sic)…. This is what we get for hiring a coach for peanuts. This is big business. If you want to attack the market and get a bigger share than the other guys, then you PAY for a REAL CEO. Not peanuts for a Dudley Dool-ittle. Face it Vols, we need to be paying 3 million a year for a coach MINIMUM.”

‘At least if all you get rid of Fulmer idiots had kept your mouth shut we would still have won 9 or 10 ball games! We now lose to a UF team that is decent at best and we still lose to Florida and hope we win 7 or 8 ball games at best! Well you got what wanted idiots!!!!!”

‘Can we fire this Dooley duffus now? Get it over with. Why set the program back another 5 years.”

‘The truth is as long as Dooley’s at UT and Muschamp at Florida, we can forget about next year….We got exactly what we paid for. Now I’m just waiting for all the Dooleyphiles to remind me again as to how we’re going to beat LSU.”

I usually dismiss populist political movements as well as the Lunatic Fringe related to fans of sports teams.

They are both pretty much cut from the same cloth.

Having said that, they can grow to the point that their ‘stickiness’ results in such a groundswell of support that general, rational opinion can be influenced to a great degree.

***

For example, Arsene Wenger is the manager of Arsenal Football Club. He became coach in the early-mid 1990s and since has guided the club to several championship trophies and about 16 consecutive Champions League appearances.

The days of Arsene Wenger at Arsenal F.C. may be numbered - a thought unthinkable a year ago. Photo from The Guardian.

Unfortunately for Mr. Wenger, he hasn’t won a trophy for six consecutive years (at this level of soccer, there are about four trophies that a club can win in a year: EPL, FA Cup, League Cup, and either Champions League title or UEFA Cup title).

Arsenal have developed a recent penchant for bumbling matches away.

Many years ago, there was a micro-sized group of fans who hated Wenger and wanted him to be ousted. This was when Wenger’s teams were still winning trophies. Wenger is generally regarded as a genius within the sport and has brought so many creative inventions to the English game that it is utterly unrecognizable to what it was in the 1980s and before.

The once fringe element of dissent to Mr. Wenger has grown to where it is at about 50% of the world-wide fan base by some estimates. For the first time, it is a real possibility that Mr. Wenger will have to resign or will leave of his own accord due to the pressure. This season, Arsenal are playing in their 16th straight Champions League group stage.

***

Derek Dooley is no Arsene Wenger – he has no championships as a head coach, and doesn’t even have an overall winning W-L tally.

The point is that for some people, nothing is good enough.

Along with the high money stakes in today's college football, the lunatic fringe will make sure that Derek Dooley is not given as much time to turn around the Tennessee Vols football program that was afforded Johnny Majors in the 1970s-80s.

It doesn’t matter that the decline of Tennessee was on Phil Fulmer’s watch due to blind contentment and neglect, to the point where the Vol football program had completely lost its will to win.

Even though Lane Kiffin was able to recruit some pretty fine talent, some of that talent was wasted recruits – they left either on their own accord because of the subsequent coaching change or were let go due to various reasons.

So here we are. Derek Dooley’s job is largely to cleanup the grand mess made by others. And for some, it is that job in addition to winning the SEC title this or next season, regardless of the magnitude and extent of that mess.

Derek Dooley took a very big job for relatively little money. The program had become decimated to the point not seen since the end of the Bill Battle era.

Those of us old enough to remember lived through how long it took for an established, national-championship-winning coach to finally turn around a tradition-laden program that had run aground.

Dooley’s opportunity is our opportunity.

***

Today’s aftermath of a predictable performance against Florida by the part of a few will certainly grow a bit this season unless this Vol team pulls a couple of major upsets.

It is difficult to know how long the plank walked upon by Dooley really is. That is up to Dave Hart, Tennessee’s new Athletic Director, and it will be influenced in part by how much Mr. Hart pays attention to, and grants importance to public opinion (which is generally monitored closely by most athletic departments).

And, if the Vols have three more seasons of mediocraty, including 2011, rest assured the heat will be put on the unproven Dooley to make significant improvement in his fifth season. Or else

And that might be fair, depending on all the circumstances.

But one thing is for certain: Dooley will not be given the time for rebuiding that was allotted to Majors, even though the similarities of squad quality and depth between the late 1970s and today are quite striking.

***

So, against my better nature, I urge you to pay attention to today’s Lunatic Fringe of the Vol Nation.

They can become more influential, and can do so very quickly, than your wildest imagination.

Next to past reputation, money (potential revenue) will be the most important factor that will cause Dooley’s allowed time to show results to be far shorter than it was for Johnny Majors back in the late 1970s-early 1980s.

Today’s role of money is far more controlling than it was 30 years ago. Money is the determining factor for patience.

And with today’s instantaneous and ubiquitous information dissemination, the idiots of today will be far more influential than the idiots of a generation ago – they have platforms for disseminating their point of view not around back then – even though they are just as stupid as their fathers.

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4 responses to “Idiot Wind”

  1. rockytop78 says :

    Wow — you must really be desperate to check out GoVolsXtra.com! Except for those times that I am feeling especially masochistic, I stay away from that site! If I want a feel for what’s going on with the Vols, I usually go to volnation.com — they have a few crazies; but, unlike govolsxtra.com, they also have some posters who are actually voices of reason.

    You’re right about the postings — there are simply inadequate filtering devices to keep the nutbags off the internet, and it is often too easy to hijack a website from its intended purpose/audience.

    Vis-vis your discussion of patience in the UT Athletic Department, I went back and looked at the records for the last 50 years of Tennessee football, and specifically at the records of the “rebuilding” coaches. Doug Dickey (1964-69) went 4-5-1 (1-5-1 SEC) during his first year; the second year he was 8-1-2 (3-1-2 SEC); and his fourth year he won a National Championship and went 9-2-0 (6-0-0 SEC). John Majors went 4-7-0 (1-5-0 SEC) during his first year; 5-5-1 (3-3-0 SEC) in his second year; 7-5-0 (3-3-0 SEC) his third year; 5-6-0 (3-3-0 SEC) his fourth year; and 8-4-0 (3-3-0 SEC) his fifth year.

    Will Dooley get as much time as Majors did? I hope so.

    Will Dooley produce a National Championship in four years as Dickey did? I don’t think he will, although I sure wish he would!

    With more and more parity in talent between college football teams, the likelihood of quick turnarounds in major programs is remote in terms of probability. Not impossible, but just not likely.

    I hope that the Vol Nation (and in particular the UT Athletic Department) will have sufficient patience to see Dooley though for the length of his contract; after that, all bets are off.

    • norcalvol says :

      The length of the contract will be a fair milestone for performance assessment.
      What Dickey did was amazing. He took over a floundering program and it is amazing how quickly the turnaround was.
      Dickey may be one of the most underrated coaches of the last 50 years. And, of course, he truly brought Tennessee football into the modern era – running through the “T”, the “Power T” on the helmets, a modern look to the jerseys and pants, and perhaps other things apart from the X’s and O’s.

      Yes, I guess I was desperate to go to the comments of GVX. But, I was really interested in the reaction to the game.

  2. tk says :

    you quite simply hit the nail on the head freddy when you basically said money controls the game. in my opinion money issues have basically ruined the game we knew in the 60’s and 70’s. its no longer the same ballgame and comparisons to those eras are not relevant. the mediums availble in todays world im sure make a strong impression in an athletic directors and schools controlling members decisions. however i think any decisions still fall back to the mighty dollar. and ole master will you soon be charging admission to comment on “vols in the fall”?

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