When I was in the second grade, I had an ongoing feud with a classmate. I'm not talking about your average nip & tuck child's play but rather an at daggers drawn Hatfields and McCoys style year long tussle. During the ebbs and flows of the school year, several attempts at a truce were brokered. During once such "truce", I unfortunately learned the "Karate Secret".
It was a splendid spring day as my rival approached me in a nonthreatening manner. Standing face-to-face, he simply asked, "Hey Eric, do you know the Karate Secret?" I answered, "No", and the next thing I remember is an explosive pain in my groin area which led to me breathlessly writhing in pain on the tile floor. Evidently, the "Karate Secret" is quickly grabbing someone by the shoulders and forcefully applying a knee (with all of your might) to the unlucky person's balls.
For Derek Dooley, his staff, the Volunteer players and Vols fans, it feels like we're being shown the Karate Secret every Saturday this fall. It's like "Groundhog Day" meets the "Karate Secret" as we live out the same painful strike to the groin over and over and over.... In defense of Derek Dooley, the Vols have played the second toughest schedule in the nation, and three out of the four "Murder's Row" games in October were played on the road. Also, the Vols were in the hunt with a chance to win vs. Georgia, Mississippi State and South Carolina, but we all know the old adage about horse shoes and hand grenades.
At the angst of Volunteer fans everywhere, all the moving parts can't all function properly at the same time. The offense plays well for most of the game to make up for the porous defense. The defense then bows its neck at the end of the game to give the offense a chance to win it, and the offense which has performed pretty well all day turns it over in crunch time or KARATE SECRET TIME as I'm now calling it. Last Saturday vs. the Gamecocks is obviously a perfect example. Tiny Richardson had held the vaunted Jadeveon Clowney in check all day long until the final drive when the Vols were threatening to strike. Clowney then blew by Tiny, forced Bray to fumble and dished out the Karate Secret to the entire Volunteer family all in one fell swoop.
I have been watching college and pro sports since I can remember, and I simply can't recall a Head Coach and team that has experienced such buzzard luck over the course of three seasons when trying to win a "big game". How many times can a Dooley-led team snatch defeat from the jaws of victory? It's simply amazing! For all the Dooley supporters, I fully agree that he has improved the roster, facilities and competitive level. Nevertheless, wins and losses always have the final say in whether a coach stays or goes. If Dooley's Vols can win out to get to 7-5, I think he'll probably be back. Anything less, and I think Dave Hart will call Dooley into his office and ask him the fateful question, "Hey Derek, do you know the Karate Secret?"