November 13, 2012
Hood: Dooley a key influence in life
Junior defensive lineman Daniel Hood has been through a lot the past 12 months.
Beginning with the disappointment of not making a bowl last season, to undergoing shoulder surgery in December and having to sit out most of spring practice, to worst of all, losing his mother this summer in a tragic incident, Hood's past year has been a rough one.
But through it all one constant for Hood has been Tennessee head coach Derek Dooely. With Dooley's job very much in question Hood said it's hard to separate the on-the-field coaching part from the man he's known to help him through rough times.
"As a player I don't try to look at it as playing for coach Dooley's job or anything like that. to me, I just look at it as getting better each day and if we do that then we secure it," Hood said Tuesday after practice. "I can't talk to it about X's and O's because the only thing I know is defensive line and offensive line, but I know as a person he's one of the best people that I've had around in my life. Probably the second most important I've had in my life, too.
"This summer, going through things with my mom like that I wouldn't be where I am today without someone like coach Dooley. So, as a player it's hard not to take it personal when people are attacking your coach and things like that. It's hard to separate X's and O's from the actual person."
Hood said Dooley is helping him learn another lesson through the current adversity in maintaining focus on the task at hand even when the status of Dooley is a distraction.
"It is, it is a big distraction and the thing coach Dooley preaches all the time is you have to be able to put it away. So, it's a great lesson for us," Hood said. "We're learning how to do things a lot of people don't get to; put away distractions and still work and to work through that adversity and things like that."
The current task at hand for Hood and the Vols is beating rival Vanderbilt and Kentucky and becoming bowl eligible after missing out on the postseason last year.
"It means a lot to us. Of course we only have two more chances to become bowl eligible and the first step is to beat them," Hood said. "They're a good team this year, too. It's not a Vandy of the past. Coach Franklin's done a heck of a job there."
Hood is hoping for the bowl as not only extra work but also as a payoff for the hard work he and his teammates have put in over the last year.
"Again, it's another month you get to spend with your teammates, guys that you've been around all year and been working hard," Hood said. "You get a little payoff for what you've done and all the work you put in from January to August and then August to December it just doesn't go to waste."
...More... To continue reading this article you must be a member. Sign Up Now for a FREE Trial