Steel support by Tomlin for Monte Kiffin

Tomlin

Tomlin

Less than two months removed from his team's victory in Super Bowl XLIII, Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin's phone has been ringing off the hook this offseason.

But when he got a call from Tennessee defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin asking him to be the keynote speaker for the Vols' coaching clinic, Tomlin didn't even blink.

"Working with that man, shoulder-to-shoulder for five years, man, had the experience of a lifetime. Grew big-time as a coach and as a person," Tomlin said Saturday before taking in the Vols' practice in Neyland Stadium. "I owe a big debt of gratitude to Monte. So when Monte picks up the phone and calls and asks me could I come, the answer's very easy. It's just simply about handling logistics and making sure I get here."

So Tomlin got up at 5 a.m. Saturday, boarded a plane and spoke to some 400 area coaches before getting an up-close view of the Vols' workout.

His messages to those coaches were simple - and had Monte Kiffin's fingerprints all over them.

"Fundamentals over scheme," said Tomlin, who was Kiffin's defensive backs coach with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 2001-05. "That's one of the core lessons that I learned from Monte Kiffin. Monte gets a lot of recognition as the architect of Tampa 2 (defense). The thing people need to understand is it's not the schematics that makes that a great defense. It's the installation. It's the understanding. It's the teaching. It's the fundamentals that make it special.

"We focus on the how and the why as opposed to the what - X's and O's are X's and O's. You play with 11. How you get those 11 to work together, what's the degree of understanding of what you're asking them to do, not only as individuals but collectively, that's the common ties that bond great defenses. That's why we play great defense at Pittsburgh. That's why we played great defense at Tampa when I was with Monte. That's why they'll play great defense here in Knoxville."

And Tomlin sees plenty of success in the future for UT's new coaching staff.

"They'll do great," he said. "It starts with great people. They are great people. They've got a definitive plan. We in this profession, we always experience bumps along the way. I anticipate that that's going to happen to them. They will push through whatever obstacles are in their way. That's the kind of people they are, that's the kind of coaches they are. They're going to be singularly focused and they're not going to stop, even in the midst of success."

Tomlin knows that success won't change Kiffin, either.

"A lot of times people think about not riding the emotional roller coaster when you don't have success. The thing that makes Monte a cut above is his response to success is definitive," he said. "Spectacular games, great defensive performances - (he's) back in the lab. Monday is Monday. He's rebuilding it. He's laying a new foundation for the week. He never changes. That's what makes him special."

Drew Edwards covers University of Tennessee football. He may be reached at 865-342-6274.

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Comments » 27

rockytopatl writes:

That's what I'm talking about! Monte's defense will rule!

Rick4UT writes:

I think the story says it all, about Monte ! Go Vols

belayvol writes:

Fear this Kiff also!

imnochumpvol writes:

I pick door #1
Oh sorry thats a different monte

givehim6 writes:

With Monta at the helm and Coach Ed running the motor I fill good about are defence.

Down_The_Field writes:

bring it on!!!!

fear.....Fear.......FEAR THE KIFFIN!!!!!

Weatherman writes:

I predict a storm is a coming...=)

eduardo writes:

Hey Titan Fans that is as close to a championship as you will get!!!!!!!!!GO STEELERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Timed_vol (Inactive) writes:

What Tomlin is saying;
'give these guys about 3 years of recruiting, and you'll see a dominant, well-taught defense on the field who can win ballgames for you; don't get your panties in a wad if they are not so good until then'.

just paraphrasing, of course.

dvhill100 writes:

Nice story.

kabzs writes:

"Fundamentals over scheme," said Tomlin

This is why there are so many fumbles in practice...just like at Pittsburgh. and why our offense will be so good.

douglasawilliams#582863 writes:

The Steelers are the class organization of professional football. They have only 3 head coaches in like 35 years what stability. And what a great superbowl in Febuary!!!! The fact Mike Tomlin thinks so highly of Monte is reason for hope we will have a dominating defense this season.

VAvolfanRON writes:

yea.....i do believe we hit he jackpot on this coaching staff........im worried on how long they will stay together

UTvols12342000 writes:

If they are winning BIG, look for the assistants to take moves up when others come calling.

If they are just moderately successful, everyone will hang around.

If they are a .500 club or worse, they have 3 (maybe 4) years, then they are all gone.

So, lets win BIG and then we will get to see how well Lane can overcome coach attrition.

richvol writes:

Fundamentals...what a concept. This is what we have been lacking for so long. It's always been about fundamentals. The General knew that and so did coaches like Dodd,Bryant and Rockne.

MarbleVol48 writes:

Patience! He doesn't have the horses yet. Your going to hear West Cuba U., Georgia, Alabama fans say where is the "TAMPA 2" after scoring some points on us. Be patient the Clisdales are on their way and a "whuppin is comin"

tennesseebee writes:

in response to Timed_vol:

What Tomlin is saying;
'give these guys about 3 years of recruiting, and you'll see a dominant, well-taught defense on the field who can win ballgames for you; don't get your panties in a wad if they are not so good until then'.

just paraphrasing, of course.

I disagree, here. We have a winning defense. If we don't win, it will be the missing elements on the offensive side of the ball. Feel the Power of the T!!!

appalachianvol writes:

in response to UTvols12342000:

If they are winning BIG, look for the assistants to take moves up when others come calling.

If they are just moderately successful, everyone will hang around.

If they are a .500 club or worse, they have 3 (maybe 4) years, then they are all gone.

So, lets win BIG and then we will get to see how well Lane can overcome coach attrition.

Some may go but Monte will not leave because of his grandchildren. Grandmaw will rule! Bank on it.

10volunteers98 writes:

in response to Timed_vol:

What Tomlin is saying;
'give these guys about 3 years of recruiting, and you'll see a dominant, well-taught defense on the field who can win ballgames for you; don't get your panties in a wad if they are not so good until then'.

just paraphrasing, of course.

I agree.I think we will see a big improvement in attitude and being competitive this season.It might not add up to a lot of wins,but give this staff two more years of recruiting and coaching.UT will win some championships.It will happen before Brown,Oku,Williams,Poole,and the rest of this class graduate.WRITE IT DOWN.Go,Vols!!!

tennrich1 writes:

in response to douglasawilliams#582863:

The Steelers are the class organization of professional football. They have only 3 head coaches in like 35 years what stability. And what a great superbowl in Febuary!!!! The fact Mike Tomlin thinks so highly of Monte is reason for hope we will have a dominating defense this season.

Actually, you got it backwards partly. I am more impressed than before with Mike Tomlin because Monty thinks highly of him.

stroker writes:

in response to appalachianvol:

Some may go but Monte will not leave because of his grandchildren. Grandmaw will rule! Bank on it.

Funny! and I hope acurate.

belayvol writes:

in response to ButchIsBack:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

WalGreens called Butch. Your Midol prescription is ready to pick up.

orange__hammerhead writes:

in response to ButchIsBack:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Man - how could anyone be negative on this story - all right maybe Gran Kiffin is in Tampa, but to predict Monte's retirement and then graveyard? You are setting yourself up for some bad karma.

I would say have a nice lunch - but when you call Mike Tomlin HAMLIN?

You probably can't even make your own PBJ!

Say something nice or shut your piehole!

FLAVOLS writes:

in response to belayvol:

WalGreens called Butch. Your Midol prescription is ready to pick up.

That's funny right there now!
Ole Vicky, er Butchy, has had her panties in a wad for quite some time now. It'll be OK after the meds kick in.

Myrsaad writes:

Statistically we had one of the best defenses in the nation last year. We always have a fantastic defense.. (barring "mustang" break downs). Chavis never slipped. There is a direct relation to time spent on the field vs. overall efficiency of a defensive unit as well. Think about nine 3 and outs vs. Auburn. If our offense had been ranked even 50th we would have been a top 10 team last year I believe. We all know Monte's credentials. There's no reason to overhype him. The talent is there on the D side. All Coach MK has to do is maintain a level of excellence. He doesn't have ANY rebuilding to do. Simply sustain what Chavis had in place already. I don't see the sense in some of this. If we fail... it's on the O-Coordinator, head coach, and *gulp* Crompton again. As far as I'm concerned: Don't tell me about defensive strides or promises... tell me the offense can successfully hand the ball off without fumbling. Tell me Crompton isn't throwing the ball (literally) into the stands when the receiver is wide open. Tell me the QB can handle a 5 yard pass to the flat without drilling it straight into the turf 2 feet in front of the back or receiver. Tell me the QB actually TURNS his head in the pocket and surveys the field before throwing blindly. We don't need propaganda on how the defense will be solid. If our offense had been even mediocre last season we would have won 8 games minimum.

Tell me instead that the man behind the curtain gave Crompton a brain and that the likes of our vaunted Clawfense will never be seen again if you want fans to feel we are headed in the right direction. I just don't see the sense in hyping up something we know is there and all Monte has to do is Not screw it up.

leedsvol2007 writes:

in response to Myrsaad:

Statistically we had one of the best defenses in the nation last year. We always have a fantastic defense.. (barring "mustang" break downs). Chavis never slipped. There is a direct relation to time spent on the field vs. overall efficiency of a defensive unit as well. Think about nine 3 and outs vs. Auburn. If our offense had been ranked even 50th we would have been a top 10 team last year I believe. We all know Monte's credentials. There's no reason to overhype him. The talent is there on the D side. All Coach MK has to do is maintain a level of excellence. He doesn't have ANY rebuilding to do. Simply sustain what Chavis had in place already. I don't see the sense in some of this. If we fail... it's on the O-Coordinator, head coach, and *gulp* Crompton again. As far as I'm concerned: Don't tell me about defensive strides or promises... tell me the offense can successfully hand the ball off without fumbling. Tell me Crompton isn't throwing the ball (literally) into the stands when the receiver is wide open. Tell me the QB can handle a 5 yard pass to the flat without drilling it straight into the turf 2 feet in front of the back or receiver. Tell me the QB actually TURNS his head in the pocket and surveys the field before throwing blindly. We don't need propaganda on how the defense will be solid. If our offense had been even mediocre last season we would have won 8 games minimum.

Tell me instead that the man behind the curtain gave Crompton a brain and that the likes of our vaunted Clawfense will never be seen again if you want fans to feel we are headed in the right direction. I just don't see the sense in hyping up something we know is there and all Monte has to do is Not screw it up.

"Fundamentals over schemes"

If you look at our offensive woes last year it lies in that statement.

There was plenty of talent but the schemes were emphasized and the offensive players could not grasp them.

Think back to the last two games wins over teams that went on to win their bowl games.

We ran a few plays executed them well and moved the ball on offense enough to allow us to let the defense dictate tempo and win those games.

Rogers and Taylor were proven receivers and Jones

should have been an outstanding addition. We had good maybe outstanding running backs and 2 to 3 linemen that will be NFL draft choices and could not move the football.

The point Tomlin was making is that the Kiffin's will find schemes that the players can execute and stick to them.

With proper coaching on offense we could have scored enough to win the majority of our games. We did not get it last year.

This year we will get it its already been talked about almost daily.

GoVols!

Vol_FAN_atic writes:

in response to UTfan4life:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I just have to know something. Are you trying to coin a new catch phrase with "ORANGE SWARM".

OK, it was kinda cool the first 100 times I saw it, but it appears that is about all you say in response to every article. Dont get me wrong, I'm not trying to say I dont like it. Just say something else!!???

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