UT pledge Zanca-McDonald talks future

Like most verbal commitments for Tennessee, three-star linebacker Dominic Zanca-McDonald (Altamonte Springs, Fla./Lake Brantley) wished things could have worked out better for Derek Dooley. The embattled head coach was dismissed Sunday after a 41-18 loss to in-state rival Vanderbilt.

The 6-foot-1, 225-pound senior says that Dooley deserved a better outcome.

“Coach Dooley was a great coach and he did a lot of positive things in the program that people didn’t see,” Zanca-McDonald said. “He didn’t deserve a lot of the hate he got from the fan base. He was rebuilding the program the right way and he wanted players that would properly represent the university.”

Zanca-McDonald says he remains committed to Tennessee and isn’t concerned about other staff changes, but he’s going keep a close eye on what happens.

“I think the smartest thing to do right now is to step back and take things one day at a time,” Zanca-McDonald added. “Everyone’s a little disappointed because we wanted to play for Coach Dooley and really help him turn the program around so it’s better to just wait everything out and see what comes next.”

The projected outside linebacker didn’t want to speculate on who Tennessee’s next coach could be but he did make a suggestion.

“Given all the things I’ve heard in terms of rumors and speculation I wouldn’t mind playing for [Jon] Gruden,” Zanca-McDonald said. “He would bring a new element to the college game.”