Tennessee fans have endured so much coaching trauma in the last 15 months, they might be immune to panic. So maybe they couldn't work up a healthy scream at the latest coaching news.
UT coach Derek Dooley has hired a defensive coordinator from the WAC. And he's not even half the age of UT's last defensive coordinator.
Amidst all of UT's coaching changes, isn't that at least worth a cold sweat?
Forget the age. Make Justin Wilcox 53 instead of 33. He's still from the WAC.
That's the WAC, not the Mountain West, where TCU has become a regular steel curtain the last few years and where Wyoming built a defense stout enough to hold UT to seven points in 2008. A summer breeze offers more resistance than an average WAC defense.
Idaho scored 45 points in a WAC game this past season. And lost by 25.
Idaho's 2007 team scored 67 points in a conference game. And lost by two in the fourth overtime.
Don't get the wrong idea. You don't need four overtimes to score 60 points in a WAC game. In 2006, Hawaii averaged 61.8 points in five consecutive 60-minute WAC games.
Or maybe you have done your own research. Then, you know Wilcox isn't just from the WAC. He's from Boise State.
In the last nine years. Hawaii has scored in single digits only five times. Two of those times were against Wilcox-coached defenses.
That might not convince you that Wilcox is the next Nick Saban. But it might dissuade you from judging him guilty by WAC association.
As un-WAC as this might read, Boise didn't go 14-0 and finish fourth nationally in 2009 solely by posting basketball-size scores. It ranked 14th nationally in total defense and third in turnovers gained.
And that's not just against the WAC.
TCU averaged 51 points in the last four games of an unbeaten regular season. It scored 10 in a seven-point loss to Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl.
Oregon scored 42 or more points in five consecutive Pac-10 games. It scored eight in the season opener against Boise State.
The WAC might not prepare a defensive coordinator for SEC talent, but it does prepare him for wielding short straws.
Offense comes first in the WAC, and defensive coordinators are left to make the best of it. A WAC defensive coordinator better have a thick skin and a nimble mind, because he often will be at a talent disadvantage against some of the most creative offenses in the country.
Wilcox will confront a different challenge at UT. He's succeeding an NFL defensive guru in Monte Kiffin, who could recruit on name alone. Before Kiffin, there was John Chavis, whose long run of success at Tennessee has continued at LSU.
Wilcox's name hardly carries that kind of clout, although the more experienced fans among you might remember watching his dad, Dave Wilcox, who was a Hall of Fame linebacker with the San Francisco 49ers.
Before the 2008 season, I would have been hard-pressed to tell you who Boise State's defensive coordinator was. In fact, I wasn't sure the WAC had defensive coordinators.
But while tuning in Boise State on so many Friday night telecasts over the last two years, I expected to see WAC offense and came away with a growing appreciation for the Broncos' defense.
Sometimes, it was scary good.
Sports editor John Adams may be reached at 865-342-6284 or email@example.com.