It will be D-Day and a “Shootout At High Noon” Saturday in Sanford Stadium when Georgia meets Tennessee.
Or one might say D-D Day for the Derek Dooley-led Vols.
Incidentally, Derek Dooley is the second native-born Athenian to be head coach of a college football team.
Bill Curry (Georgia Tech, Alabama, Kentucky and currently Georgia State) was the first.
Dooley was born June 10, 1968, in Athens, the son of Barbara Meshad and Vincent Joseph Dooley.
He has a brother, Daniel, and two sisters, Deanna (Mrs. Lindsey Cook) and Denise (Mrs. Jay Mitchell).
Derek was a star tight end on Billy Henderson’s Clarke Central team that won the state class AAAA State championship, and starred on three University of Virginia bowl teams.
He earned a law degree at the University Georgia in 1944 and practiced two years in Atlanta before embarking on a coaching career.
He started his coaching career with a one-year stint as a graduate assistant at Georgia in 1996. Then, he spent 1997-99 as wide receivers coach at Southern Methodist University.
In 2000, he joined Nick Saban’s staff at LSU and was with him through 2005, then followed Saban to the Miami Dolphins.
He was head coach at Louisiana Tech University from 2007-09, and was hired as head coach at Tennessee on Jan. 15.
On the other hand, there have been numerous Athens boys who starred in football atGeorgia, starting with lineman George Shackelford on the first team in 1892 and halfback Morton Hodgson in 1906 and, of course, Bob McWhorter, All-America halfback in 1913; Milton Leathers, All-Southern guard 1930; LeRoy Moorehead, All-SEC guard 1933; John Brown, guard, 1934; Riley Gunnels, DT, 1956-58; Francis Tarkenton, All-SEC QB in 1959-60; Jake Scott, defensive back 1967-68; Andy Johnson, QB 1971-73, All-SEC; Horace King, All-SEC running back 1974; Jimmy Payne, defensive tackle, 1980-82, All-SEC; John Kasay, 1990; PK, All-SEC; Billy Bennett, PK, 2000-03, All-SEC, Quentin Moses, DE, 2003-06, All-SEC.
At Georgia’s home football game against Arkansas, I noticed Vince Dooley, in the Bulldogs’ press box.
And I mentioned to him that he should be sitting in the scouts’ booth instead of a regular sportswriter’s seat.
“I know you’re scouting Georgia for Derek,” I said.
“Wouldn’t you, if you were me?” he replied.
“Yes,” I ended our conversation.