Johnny Majors speaks at Little Rock Touchdown Club (Part 3)

I heard Johnny Majors speak at the November 7, 2011 Little Rock Touchdown Club. He talked about his respect for Frank Broyles and the great coach he was. He also said he saw a lot of those same great qualities in Derek Dooley.

Uploaded by  on Sep 3, 2010

Johnny Majors from Huntland, TN tried out for the UT Football team weighing 150 pounds. His Father, Shirley Majors his HS Coach,encourage him and then 4 younger brothers all to be Vols. Johnny Majors was the runner-up in 1956 for the Heisman Trophy to Paul Horning, on a loosing Notre Dame team. So much for Northern politics with writers.

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Majors: Dooley needs time

By Jeff Halpern

LITTLE ROCK — Johnny Majors played and coached at Tennessee and was an assistant at Arkansas. So when he sees the Tennessee Volunteers struggle, he knows what it is going to take for second-year coach Derek Dooley to turn things around.

Time.

Majors, 76, is retired and living in Knoxville, Tenn., and he understands where the Volunteers (4-5, 0-5 SEC) are at going into Saturday’s game against BCS No. 8 Arkansas (8-1, 4-1 SEC) in Fayetteville.

“The thing is, Derek Dooley inherited a program that was going downhill,” said Majors, the guest speaker Monday at the Little Rock Touchdown Club luncheon.

Majors said Tennessee’s slide began under Phil Fulmer. Lane Kiffin was hired to replace Fulmer, but Kiffin stayed for only the 2009 season before bolting for the head coaching job at Southern California.

Majors said he believes Kiffin would have stopped the slide had he stayed, but his sudden departure set the program back even more.

“Derek lost about a half a dozen players who either didn’t pan out or got hurt, and you can’t rebuild a program in a year or two,” Majors said. “It’s going to take at least three to four to be solid.

“So whenever people ask if Tennessee will be patient to give Derek Dooley the time to turn things around, I tell them they don’t have any choice but to give him time.”

Dooley, the son of former Georgia Coach Vince Dooley, is 10-12 overall and 3-10 in SEC games.

“He is intelligent and has a good background,” Majors said. “He worked seven years for Nick Saban at LSU and at the Miami Dolphins, so you know he has to be tough.”

Injuries also have been a problem of late. The Volunteers lost wide receiver Justin Hunter to a season-ending torn anterior cruciate ligament Sept. 17 in a 33-23 loss at Florida. Quarterback Tyler Bray broke his thumb in a 20-12 loss to Georgia on Oct. 8, leaving Matt Simms and Justin Worley to fill in.

Tennessee has had its moments this season. The Vols went into halftime tied 3-3 with Alabama before eventually losing 37-6. It held LSU scoreless in the first quarter but eventually were defeated 38-7.

“I told Derek after the LSU game that I know what he’s going through and have been there before, and that this, too, shall pass,” Majors said.

Under Majors, Tennessee was becaame of the premier teams in the country.

Tennessee went 116-62-8 from 1977-1992 and won three SEC titles with Majors as coach. Under Fulmer, Tennessee went 152-52-1, won two SEC titles and the 1998 national championship.

However, Tennessee went 29-21 overall and 17-15 in SEC games in Fulmer’s last four seasons, including losing seasons in 2005 (5-6) and 2008 (5-7). The Volunteers went 7-6 in Kiffin’s lone season, and they were 6-7 under Dooley last season.

“The thing I saw was recruiting went down the last few years under Fulmer,” Majors told members of the media after Monday’s luncheon. “I would work as an unpaid consultant for the East-West Shrine Game, and we would have at least 100 scouts and they would tell me that things were going down under Fulmer.

“It didn’t seem like they were doing a good job of evaluating prospects and had many discipline problems on and off the field and were beating themselves.

“You don’t win by accident, and you don’t lose by accident.”

While Majors didn’t mention Fulmer by name during his speech, it is no secret he and Fulmer, his offensive line coach from 1980-1988 and offensive coordinator from 1989-1992, do not get along.

Majors was forced to resign late in the 1992 season after the Volunteers went 2-3 following his return from heart surgery after Fulmer had guided Tennessee to a 3-0 start. Majors felt Fulmer maneuvered to get the head coaching job while he was recovering from surgery and that a promise was broken about a new seven-year contract.

When asked Monday about his relationship with Fulmer, he left little doubt about whether those feelings still lingered.

“I don’t need to go into that,” Majors said.

This article was published today at 5:08 a.m.

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Johnny Majors was a great quarterback for Tennessee.

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