Vols, Dooley keeping focus forward on Florida
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WRCB) -- The numbers are just as loud as Derek Dooley's bright orange pants, but Tennessee coach is not yet ready to call his new attire a secret weapon despite the Vols' 2-0 record when he wears them.
"I don't know. That's the last thing I'm worried about," the second-year coach said Monday when asked if he would wear the pants at Florida this weekend. "I can assure you the orange slacks aren't the reason we're winning."
In fact, in Dooley's mind UT has yet to win anything two weeks into the season.
"I mean, we took care of two opponents we should take care of, and we took care of them the way Tennessee should take care of them," Dooley said about wins over Montana and Cincinnati. "I told the team that's a good start, but now what's next? That's what matters."
What's next is a trip to Florida, and what matters to most of Vol Nation is a string of six straight losses to the Gators dating back to 2004.
Of course, those are just more numbers Dooley chooses to ignore.
"(The losing streak) is only relevant if the team makes it relevant," he said. "You can't be held hostage to the past. For the bulk of our team, this is their first time starting against Florida. And guess what? They've got a lot of new guys starting, too."
While Dooley may not be concerned with recent history, his players are well aware of what it what is at stake in The Swamp.
"The last time we beat Florida weren't we in the SEC Championship? Exactly," said defensive end Jacques Smith. "I think that's the key to our schedule, and it's a game I've been looking forward to for about 4 years.
"Now the opportunity is at hand."
Not surprisingly, Dooley is a little more hands off when using one game to predict future success or failure.
"We could win down there and then go get shellacked the next six weeks in a row, or we can lose down there and then play great," he said. "I don't believe if we win this we will take off, or if we lose the season's over.
"If you approach it any other way, you'll be an emotional wreck."