Tennessee coach Derek Dooley didn’t wait long.
On Friday evening, he announced that sophomore safety Darren Myles Jr. has been dismissed from the team and that sophomore defensive tackle Marlon Walls and sophomore linebacker Greg King had both been indefinitely suspended.
Dooley has talked with conviction about the importance of character in his program, and this is a clear indication that he means business.
In his statement, he admits to being embarrassed by the actions of his players in connection with a bar brawl that sent a couple of people to the hospital early Friday morning, including an off-duty police officer.
Losing Myles will hurt Tennessee on the field. He was coming off a stellar spring and was going to start opposite Janzen Jackson at safety.
The same goes for Walls if he doesn’t make it or ends up having to miss some games. The Vols don’t have any depth at defensive tackle, and Walls is another projected starter. King also started last season as a freshman before getting hurt and enters this coming season as a projected starter at linebacker.
Ultimately, though, it's more important that Dooley set the right tone for his program as he enters his first season than trying to save a few players here and there. Maybe he can do both. We'll see. But he demonstrated Friday that he's not going to waiver when it comes to discipline.
It's also noteworthy that Dooley met the media head-on Friday evening on Tennessee's campus. He didn't put out a statement and then run and hide. Instead, he allowed his comments to be video-taped and answered questions from reporters even though the initial release said he wouldn't take questions.
A coach can't be with his players 24 hours a day. They're going to get in trouble and make dumb decisions off the field. Look around the SEC. The examples are too many to count.
What matters is how you deal with these issues, and the early returns are that Dooley's not going to deal with them.
If you embarrass the program, you're gone.