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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Derek Dooley Quotes Shakespeare’s Richard III to Teach Vols a Lesson

As if student-athletes didn’t already have a tough enough time with their studies in the classroom, now we have coaches referencing historical plays from the late-1500s on the field.

Tennessee football coach Derek Dooley apparently read from a selection of William Shakespeare’s Richard III after practice Wednesday. His purpose was to send a message about attention to detail, and how even the smallest mistakes can have crippling effects.

The Knoxville News-Sentinel explains it well:

The play centers on how Richard III, the brother of King Edward IV, quickly rises to power but ultimately dies when he is unhorsed in a battle. Richard acknowledges that he has lost everything because of a chain reaction that spawned from his horse’s shoe missing a nail.

This, in Dooley’s mind, could all be related to how a number of minor errors led to big problems in the Vols’ first scrimmage of the preseason.

“One little horseshoe nail can bring down a whole kingdom,” Dooley said after Thursday’s practice. “That’s what it did back in the 1400s. Just like stepping with your right foot six inches could cause a guy to get on the edge, which causes the quarterback to get a little flustered, the exchange goes bad, fumble, turnover, touchdown.

“Every little detail of your technique and assignment can impact the game. We’ve got a long way to go.”

I get it! So Dooley is just angling for a spot in the Literature department after football, right? Because if he keeps talking over his players’ heads with allusions to Shakespeare, he’s probably going to lose his audience. Can you picture lineman in the huddle recalling Dooley’s Richard III speech during a tense moment in the game? I’m sure that’s the stuff they’ll draw upon during the difficult times.

I like where Dooley’s head is, but I’m just wondering if that’s the most effective means of communication with his players.

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