School of hard knocks for NCAA Volunteers

SCOTT MITCHELL, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:37 AM ET

Things aren't going well in Knoxville.

The once-proud Tennessee Volunteers haven't won an SEC game in two seasons and junior quarterback Tyler Bray only has four conference wins in his career.

If Peyton Manning used to take heat for 'not winning the big one' during his days in the Volunteer State, Bray and head coach Derek Dooley must feel like they're in the middle of a grease fire.

Right now, the memories of Tennessee being a national power and that 1998 championship are just a rumour.

The ninth-most wins all-time and 49 bowl appearances?

Never happened, many fans inside Neyland Stadium are probably thinking.

The last time the Vols cracked the 10-win mark in 2007, Philip Fulmer was still the head coach and Justin Bieber hadn't popped his first pimple.

The Vols have struggled to records of 5-7, 7-6, 6-7 and 5-7 since, the last two coming under Dooley, he of a 4-15 career record against the SEC.

When you're interviewing for the head coaching position of a prestigious SEC program, the first question should be, "How do you plan on beating conference rivals?"

Dooley, who might have to coach Saturday from the press box after hip surgery, hasn't found a way, which is why his grease fire could be a five-alarm blaze in no time.

With the No. 1-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide on tap, it's not going to get any easier, and Bray didn't help things when he took to Twitter after last weekend's 41-31 loss to conference foe Mississippi State, which dropped the Vols to 3-2 on the season.

"We got some bandwagon fans," Bray wrote in the wee hours of the morning, and then later deleted. "Hopefully my apt. isn't egged."

The egging reference paid homage to Georgia QB Aaron Murray, who returned home from being whipped in South Carolina two weeks ago to find his house egged.

Bray later apologized, but you can't win conference games, let alone guide your team to a national ranking, and you're taking pot shots at the fans?

Not smart.

"He is frustrated, like a lot of these guys and they type," Dooley said at his weekly rendezvous with reporters. "It is classic impulse control. When you are angry, lonely, tired, hurt, don't type. You can't pull it back."

Angry. Lonely. Tired. Hurt.

Sounds like a Tennessee fan.

scott.mitchell@sunmedia.ca

On Twitter: @SUNMitchell


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