Monthly Archives: February 2013

Tennessee running backs coaching search: Former Bears assistant Tim Spencer has links to Butch Jones’ old boss

tim-spencer-bears.jpgKNOXVILLE, Tennessee — If you coach running backs and have ever bumped into Butch Jones or one of his staff members, congratulations — you made the list!

Well, not quite.  But I did do a thorough search on the background of Jones and every other UT assistant coach, looking for ties with other coaches who might be good fits as Tennessee’s running backs coach.

Jones’ search should be a quick one, as spring football starts March 9. So this isn’t a “wish list.” In fact, there are some names that have been bandied about that we’re purposely leaving off this list until we get confirmation of interest. This is simply a list of coaching links.

The new coach doesn’t necessarily have to handle running backs. Tight ends coach Mark Elder has been a jack of all trades in his career, and he’s coached running backs before. In fact, many of the coaches on our list have handled multiple positions.

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Tennessee’s search for a new running backs coach: Names to watch

Thumbnail image for butch-jones-gatorade.JPGKNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Butch Jones’ search for a new Tennessee running backs coach should be a quick one.

In fact, by the time you’re reading this, it might almost be over.

We’re not trying to do a wish list. It’s a little late in the game for that.

With two weeks until the start of spring practice, Jones will likely target someone who is currently looking for work or is in a position similar to former UT assistant coach Jay Graham and looking for a rare post-Signing Day exit.

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UT at the NFL Combine: How Cordarrelle Patterson, Justin Hunter, Tyler Bray and Mychal Rivera fared

nfl-combine-logo.jpgKNOXVILLE, Tennessee — How did a half-dozen former Tennessee football players fare this weekend at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis?

Like everything related to the NFL draft, it depends on who you ask.

High-profile players face incredible scrutiny and anonymous, negative barbs are common. For example, Cordarrelle Patterson — despite a swift 4.42 seconds in the 40-yard dash — was knocked for being “unimpressive in interviews.”.

Here’s a rundown on some of the news, notes and numbers from the Combine.

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Why did Jay Graham leave Tennessee, and what does Butch Jones do next?

jay-graham-knoxnews.jpgKNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Why do coaches so rarely retain — or, as Butch Jones would say, ‘rehire’ — coaches from previous staffs?

The stunning news Monday morning that Jay Graham was leaving his alma mater for Florida State may be the best illustration.

Head coaches seek loyalty. Assistant coaches seek security and, at times, upward mobility. Those values sometimes clash. That can lead to breakups, particularly in marriages of convenience that occur in the frantic few months between the hiring of a new coach and National Signing Day.

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A final look at Tennessee’s place in the 2013 recruiting rankings

butch-jones-stadium-ut.jpgKNOXVILLE, Tennessee — The book is just about closed on the 2013 recruiting class, and most sites are already listing 2014 recruiting rankings. (Texas A&M already has seven verbal commitments!)

But I wanted to explore Tennessee‘s final 2013 rankings one last time. I use the 247Sports composite rankings to get a true feel for the “consensus” view nationally.

Although the exact formulas used by each recruiting site are proprietary, there are a few things to keep in mind...

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Deciphering Butch Jones’ formula to determine UT’s recruiting needs in 2014

Thumbnail image for butch-jones-presser2.JPGKNOXVILLE, TennesseeTennessee coach Butch Jones shed some light on his roster “formula” last week during his statewide post-Signing Day tour.

In a perfect world, he said, the Vols would have 15 of the 85 available scholarships devoted to offensive linemen, five for quarterbacks and 12 for wide receivers.

He didn’t expand on the other spots, and we didn’t have time to ask him. But we can make some educated guesses.

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Live National Signing Day Chat with Tennessee beat reporter Evan Woodbery

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — National Signing Day is finally here.

Butch Jones’ first signing class will be unveiled today and we’ll have all-day coverage on GoVolsXtra.

We’ll keep the live chat open, too, and I’ll try to check in as frequently as possible.

<a href=”” >National Signing Day Live Chat</a>

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E.J. Levenberry announces his decision tonight: Where will he go? (poll)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — E.J. Levenberry will announce his college decision tonight, according to ESPN. Details are still sketchy on the where and when. There’s also some debate as to whether this is good news or bad news for UT. I’ll update on my Twitter account when we hear more.

Levenberry, a four-star linebacker from Virginia, is committed to Florida State but visited Tennessee last weekend.

Most consider this one too close to call, although I give a slight edge to FSU. Poll voters disagree. Check out the results below.

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Signing Day 2013: Final predictions on Tennessee’s recruiting targets

vonn-bell-247.jpgKNOXVILLE, Tennessee — National Signing Day is only about 48 hours away, so it’s time to do away with the percentages and start to make firm predictions.

Of Tennessee’s remaining targets, I predict the Vols to get three more players — defensive back Vonn Bell and defensive linemen Malik Brown and Jaylen Miller.

There are a couple of other targets — like running back Johnathan Ford and quarterback Joshua Dobbs — who I predicted to go to other schools, but have a very real chance at signing with Tennessee.

Finally, there could be other fall-back options that we haven’t talked much about who could end up signing. Tennessee will have plenty of space if coaches want to take a flyer on a prospect or two.

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