ATLANTA — SEC Player of the Year candidate Drew Lock revealed that Missouri hiring Derek Dooley as offensive coordinator was a contributing factor in his return for a senior season.
“Coach Dooley knows a lot about the NFL game, being with the Dallas Cowboys for five years,” Lock said at SEC Media Days on Wednesday at the College Football Hall of Fame. “He’s definitely bringing more of that into play, which I am really excited about.”
Lock, who led the FBS ranks with 44 touchdown passes last season, said Dooley pitched offensive adjustments during his interview process with Missouri.
“It’s one of the things he talked to me about before we hired him, and before I made my decision to come back to the university,” Lock said. “It really appealed to me, and it made me want to come back even more.”
Dooley’s NFL experience coaching receivers for the Dallas Cowboys these past five seasons have put some distance between him and what proved to be an impossible situation as Tennessee’s head coach.
Dooley went 15-21 in three seasons coaching the Vols and had the inglorious distinction of coaching Tennessee’s only back-to-back losing seasons since 1910-1911.
In fairness to Dooley, Lane Kiffin left the program under a cloud of an NCAA investigation and recruited several players with character issues and ultimately off-field issues.
Tennessee’s administrative issues, from the school president and chancellor on down, have also been well documented.
Still, it was Dooley who took the brunt of the criticism. This, despite being appreciated by the media for his entertaining press conferences and sense of humor.
Ready To Roar
The Missouri Tigers don’t plan on being anyone’s joke this season.
Lock is one of nine returning starters on offense. This, on a team that closed the 2017 regular season with six straight wins.
Missouri coach Barry Odom explained why he hired the son of legendary Georgia football coach Vince Dooley to oversee his offense.
“Derek really hit every checkmark for me on what I wanted in that position, (and) because he was a head coach in this league, it’s been good for me to be able to bounce some things off of him,” Odom said. “He’s been in some of those opportunities to make decisions, learn from some things that he did right, learn from some things that he didn’t do right. And I’m appreciative of the approach he’s taken.
“The thing with Derek, once he got the job and stepped on campus, I admire the way that he approached building relationships with our kids. And he dove right in and hasn’t one day thought he has all of the answers. He’s reached out and learned and built it together.”
The Tigers open the season in Columbia against UT-Martin, followed non-conference games against Wyoming (home) and at Purdue before opening league play with a Sept. 22 home date with defending SEC champ Georgia.