Dooley is the offensive coordinator for the Missouri Tigers and he knows that if fans are booing, it likely means one thing – his team is winning the game against Tennessee in Knoxville. The game is scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m. and will be televised by CBS.
Dooley, in his first season at Missouri, has heard boos in that stadium before and thinking about it this week did not bring back a lot of happy memories. He was the head coach of the Volunteers from 2010-2012 before he was fired – eight days after a home loss to the Tigers.
“Every place you go, you learn and you grow from,” Dooley said this week. “There’s not one I don’t go and look back and go I could have done a little better here and done a little better there. That’s what experience is. I feel like I’m a lot better than I am today than I was six years ago, and that’s because of the experience I had in Knoxville.”
While this game is no doubt important for Dooley personally, it also means a lot for the Tigers. They became bowl eligible with a win over Vanderbilt last week, improving their record to 6-4, but wins against Tennessee and in next week’s season finale against Arkansas would no doubt improve their standing in the eyes of the bowl selection committees.
“We thought it was awesome, celebrated it a little bit, but it’s back to work,” said quarterback Drew Lock. “If we don’t get to 8-4… I just can’t see us not being 8-4. If we don’t get to 8-4, it won’t feel right. It won’t feel as good as it should feel.”
The game also is meaningful for Tennessee, which is coming off a 24-7 win over Kentucky. That left the Volunteers with a 5-5 record, one win away from becoming bowl eligible.
A win would extend Missouri’s streak to three consecutive victories, following the games against Florida and Vanderbilt. Lock knows any win is special, but it would mean a little more to Dooley.
“I think if you’re a really good coach, you don’t necessarily show if that one game means more to you than other ones,” Lock said. “It probably means a little bit to him, but he’s not gonna show that to us. He’ll probably express how he felt during the week after the game is over.”