Former University of Tennessee great Al Wilson didn't waste time on the football field, so it came as no surprise he made a bee-line for UT coach Lane Kiffin and defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin after arriving back in Knoxville on Monday.
"We sat down and had a little meeting, and I talked to Lane and Monte Kiffin,'' Wilson said. "Lane is very relaxed and motivated by his job, and I'm excited about what he's bringing.''
Wilson, who after leading UT to the 1998 national championship made five NFL Pro Bowls as a middle linebacker during his eight-year career with the Denver Broncos, said it was good to look into Lane Kiffin's eyes.
"I think the thing I liked was his aura; you can be in the presence of a coach and just feel that,'' Wilson said. "I felt that today with Lane. He was very poised, and he was very straight forward.
"With him being a younger coach, I think he's able to relate to the kids, and that plays a big part.''
That said, Wilson made it clear where he stands with former UT coach Phillip Fulmer and defensive coordinator John Chavis.
"In my eyes, Coach Fulmer is the University of Tennessee; he's the standard all coaches from this day forward have to live up to,'' Wilson said. "I've always felt he was the best coach in the country and I still feel that way. He left a great legacy; look man, every good thing has to come to an end. Life throws you curve balls.
"But you don't have to choose between coaches. If you are a Vol fan, you're a Vol fan. If you're a true Tennessee fan you have to roll with the punches and change with the times.''
Wilson said he would not have made it into the NFL without Chavis.
"You know how I feel about Chief, he's my man, and he's the guy who made me and helped me blossom as a player mentally and physically,'' Wilson said. "He instilled the things in me that allowed me to go to the next level. He taught me the game, the technique, and what it took to be a leader.''
Wilson feels comfortable that Monte Kiffin will bring much of the same to the current and future Vols.
"I think Monte is unbelievable, and I see why people want to play for him,'' Wilson said. "He's a players coach, he's straight-forward and he tells you like it is.
"I'd love to play under Monte Kiffin. He's established himself already as a great coach, and I think Tennessee will get back to that upper echelon.''
Wilson said he didn't ask the Kiffins many questions, but he told them a few things.
"I told them about the tradition,'' Wilson said, "and I told them what I felt about it and what I wanted them to bring back to the university.''
Wilson said he's ready to get behind whatever changes the Kiffins feel they need to make - even if it meant going away from some traditions.
"Black jerseys? I'm a realist about the situation,'' Wilson said. "It's a new age and a new day, and these kids love to play in black and do different things.
"I'm all for it; it helps the kids get a different type of energy.''
Tennessee has not issued any information indicating the Vols would wear black, but Wilson said he has thought about the concept before.
Wilson played in Denver two seasons after the Broncos went away from their traditional orange uniforms and light blue helmets and immediately won two Super Bowls.
"Any time you change things up, in any aspect of life, it brings a different type of energy,'' Wilson said. "You give yourself something different, you feel a little different. I definitely think a uniform can help, but you still have to play the game.''
Few did it better than Wilson in 1998, lest anyone forget his 13 tackle, three-forced fumble game in the pivotal 20-17 overtime win against Florida that vaulted UT into national title contention.
"I'm just so happy to be back here,'' said Wilson, who is holding the youth Camp Explosion in Knoxville in July. "I'm anxious to be around the kids at the YMCA and give them some advice and encouragement.
"I grew up in YMCA clubs, and I know what those kids are growing through. I want to give a little something back.''