An Open Letter from Derek Dooley’s Orange Pants

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Yes, I’m Derek Dooley’s orange pants, perfectly starched, perfectly colored, big orange pants. I’m the only thing that Derek Dooley has done well in over two years at Tennessee and since Derek doesn’t do media, I decided to write this open letter to y’all to let you know that better things are in store for the UT football program. 

And by better things, I mean, Dooley is getting fired at the end of this year.

I know that probably shocks you, that even pants can think Derek Dooley’s doing a bad coaching job, but I don’t pull punches. I’m not some sideshow Zubaz, not Gene Chizik’s fake leather jacket, I’m the real deal. And I’m hoping that when he reads this Kirby Smart will realize that orange pants make a lot of sense for him. 34/32? Call me.

Believe me, I saw what happened to Rich Rod’s clothes when Michigan fired him.

Straight to Goodwill.

Do you know what kind of crazy Dool-Aid drinker would buy me at a Knoxville Goodwill?

Have you been to those places?

It’s even worse than Derek Dooley’s gameplan in there, all dank and dingy and full of herpes. And I’m not even talking about Bobby Petrino’s pants yet.

(But, FYI, Petrino’s pants did call me — coaches’ pants all talk — and that asshole Clay Travis was completely right about his reach around crotch grab theory causing the motorcycle accident.) 

And before we get any further along I’m not going to address the rumor that Derek flipped out last season in front of the whole team because I wasn’t starched properly. There is absolutely no truth to the fact that he reamed a student manager who didn’t starch me well for five minutes while the whole team and coaching staff sat around and thought to themselves, “What the f— am I doing at Tennessee?” 

There’s no truth that seven assistant coaches who bailed on the program got together after this meeting and said, “We gotta get out of here while we still can.”

That did not happen.

Even if lots of very reputable players and coaches are all saying that it did happen. 

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, I should say that Derek is good at lots of things. 

For instance, his hair is always perfect.

And his momma is great. She comes up and smacks me in the rear all the time and says nice things like, “Precious, Phil Fulmer could never wear your pants.”

I’m not sure if she means it literally or figuratively. Literally, that’s true, Derek might as well wear a hula hoop. Figuratively, Derek can’t even wear Phil Fulmer’s sock that covers his big toe. But literal and figurative always get me mixed up.

Derek would know the difference. He’s a smart guy. 

Derek’s really great at details that don’t matter too. Like how to take a shower or World War II history. All history, really. I’m not so good at Civil War history, but yesterday Derek described the Kentucky game as like Appomattox but without the benefit of slavery ending. 

So that one kinda confused me. 

Also, we used to have lots of colors of Gatorade in the UT football complex and now we only have orange. And most coaches don’t care whether there are Chik-fil-a sandwiches or hamburgers at the kid’s football camp, but Derek got so fired up when there was Chik-fil-a instead of Wendy’s that he started throwing the Chik-fil-a sandwiches around on the ground and sent managers to Wendy’s so we got the proper hamburgers. 

You know what matters when it comes to winning football games? I mean other than hair and pants. 


Lots of people want to compare Derek Dooley to his dad, but I think that’s unfair. Vince’s red pants tell me that Derek’s more like Jimmy Carter, except with worse hostage negotiation skills. 

Have you seen how Da’Rick Rodgers absolutely owns him whenever they disagree? Da’Rick treats Derek like the rest of us pants used to treat Ray Goff’s pants, gave him wedgies for fun. Of course that’s no surprise. Have you seen Da’Rick’s GPA?

He has a 2.1!

Which means he’s in the 99th percentile for the football team.   

I guess I like Derek okay, but when we pants sit around and talk, there’s lots of trash talk at my expense. We like to kid. Coaches get rings, we get baths, Gatorade baths to be specific. That’s where you get your stripes as a pair of coach’s pants. Like Nick Saban’s pants, they’ve gotten so many baths he’s lost count. But when Derek got hired Nick Saban’s pants called me and said, “Just so you know, Nick Saban told his assistant coaches that he told the Vols that Derek was ready to be a head coach so he didn’t have to worry about UT anymore. They were all laughing about it during the press conference.”

That let me know that things were tough from the start. I don’t think I get the pant respect I deserve, but at I wasn’t at Louisiana. It was hot as balls down there. And the pants always itched. And no one showed up for the games.

Speaking of which, can I interest you in a season ticket?

No? You too? You’re just like every other Vol fan, not coming to the games anymore.  

Anyway, at least some pants are nicer than others. Like Les Miles’s pants are great.  

And Les Miles talks to his pants. Sometimes he leans over and says, “Pants, what should I do here?”

At the end of the Ole Miss game the pants were screaming, “Spike the football! Spike the football!”

After we lost the game with 13 players on the field, Les Miles’s pants called me and said, “Remind Derek that a pair of pants only has two leg holes. Unless you’re Steve Spurrier, hey-ho.”

Which wasn’t very fair to say.

Because I’d been yelling at Derek — “There’s 13, Precious, 13!” 

So far I haven’t gotten any Gatorade baths yet. All I’ve gotten is lifted up above the player’s heads while we cheered about beating Vandy. 

James Franklin’s pants called me after that. They said, “You embarrassed all the pants by the way you acted after that game.”

I think that’s just getting caught with his zipper down. 

Plus, Franklin’s pants don’t even have pleats. 


It’s the worst thing to happen to SEC coaching pants since Houston Nutt switched to elastic sweatpants. With a belt. I mean, who even thinks to try that?

But I’d be lying if I told you that I wasn’t already starting to think about what my future will be like.

Derek’s probably going to fold me up and put me in a dresser drawer far from the light. It will be like what they did to Chuck Smith after he got in a fist fight with Justin Wilcox during his first year.


And I’m a social pair of pants.

I mean, you don’t go from losing in front of 100,000 people to just disappearing from public view and not feel it down to the seams.

That’s tough.

And I don’t get any of that $11 million buyout and salary that Dooley gets to keep for losing football games. (Side note: the only coach who carries a wallet on gameday? Joker Phillips. I think he’s afraid Kentucky might fire him at halftime and make him pay for his own cab ride home.)

Plus, there’s a rumor out there — and I know he’s not very trustworthy, but, still — Lane Kiffin’s pants called me and said that Kiffin was going to buy me at Goodwill and give me to Ed Orgeron to wear around whenever he loses a bet in the USC office.

I’m not sure that pants can get syphilis, but I’m damn sure they don’t make pant penicillin.

So why risk it?

That would be miserable, getting made fun of at USC. That would be just unbelievable, like losing to a team you’d beaten for 27 straight years with a wide receiver playing quarterback…


So y’all might not hear much from me after a few more months. But when you’re pouring out your Dool-Aid I want y’all to think about me. And know I’ve done my best for y’all, tried to carry my colors with pride.

I’m not going gentle into that good night, you can be damn sure of that.

Nope, I’m raging against the dying of the orange.

It’s the least I can do.

All I ask from y’all is this — please don’t let Lane Kiffin give me to Ed Orgeron.


Written by Clay Travis

Clay Travis is the founder of the fastest growing national multimedia platform, OutKick, that produces and distributes engaging content across sports and pop culture to millions of fans across the country. OutKick was created by Travis in 2011 and sold to the Fox Corporation in 2021.

One of the most electrifying and outspoken personalities in the industry, Travis hosts OutKick The Show where he provides his unfiltered opinion on the most compelling headlines throughout sports, culture, and politics. He also makes regular appearances on FOX News Media as a contributor providing analysis on a variety of subjects ranging from sports news to the cultural landscape. Throughout the college football season, Travis is on Big Noon Kickoff for Fox Sports breaking down the game and the latest storylines.

Additionally, Travis serves as a co-host of The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show, a three-hour conservative radio talk program syndicated across Premiere Networks radio stations nationwide.

Previously, he launched OutKick The Coverage on Fox Sports Radio that included interviews and listener interactions and was on Fox Sports Bet for four years. Additionally, Travis started an iHeartRadio Original Podcast called Wins & Losses that featured in-depth conversations with the biggest names in sports.

Travis is a graduate of George Washington University as well as Vanderbilt Law School. Based in Nashville, he is the author of Dixieland Delight, On Rocky Top, and Republicans Buy Sneakers Too.


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