The Vol football team's loss to Mississippi State has turned up the heat on Coach Derek Dooley, with even The Rock on campus sporting a paint job demanding he be fired. But his situation is also causing some angst in the Alabama Nation.
Message boards and comments are calling for the University of Alabama to give defensive coordinator Kirby Smart a raise and even designate him the "coach-in-waiting" to Nick Saban. He is reportedly already one of the highest-paid assistants in college football, at $750,000 a year. Fans think he will be going someplace as a head coach next year, since Saban, 61, is likely to hang around for five or 10 more years.
UT's Athletics Director Dave Hart came from Alabama and knows Smart. UT has already hired Smart's assistant, Sal Sanseri, as defensive coordinator. And Dooley, in the last year and a half, has beaten only one SEC team: Vanderbilt.
Smart will be in Knoxville on Saturday when the Tide plays the Vols.
Tide fans may not need to worry, however. Tennessee, should they need a new coach, will likely go for a big name. And Vol fans know that Dooley was also a Saban assistant. And Sanseri is presiding over a miserable defense that allows the Vols to lose even when they score 40 points.