Adams: LSU happy to have Chavis

John Adams

Respect for Cheif: Dooley and Reveiz on former Vols DC, Chavis

  • What: Tennessee vs. LSU
  • When: Saturday, Oct. 2, 2010, time TBA
  • Where: Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge, LA
  • Cost: Not available
  • Age limit: All ages
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BATON ROUGE, La. - Kelvin Sheppard was almost as happy as his parents when he heard LSU coach Les Miles had hired John Chavis as defensive coordinator.

"They love Coach Chavis," said Sheppard.

The Sheppard family got to know Chavis when he was still running Tennessee's defense, and Sheppard was a sought-after recruit from Stone Mountain, Ga.

Sheppard narrowed his choice to LSU and UT before picking the Tigers. He then dreaded having to tell Chavis.

But the coach made it easy for him.

"He just said, 'I'm proud of everything you've done and I wish you the best of luck,' " Sheppard said.

As luck would have it, he and Chavis wound up on the same team after all.

"Nobody was as excited as my dad and my mom," Sheppard said. "The main thing they loved about him was his personality and how he emphasized a guy getting a degree.

"He talked a lot more about getting a degree than linebacker technique. I thought, 'Man, this guy is more like a father than a linebacker coach.' "

Sheppard's response isn't surprising to anyone with more than a casual understanding of Chavis' relationship with his players as UT's linebackers coach. No one on Fulmer's staff was more adept at extracting effort from his players.

Now, LSU's players talk about Chavis the way UT's once did. And that makes Saturday's game with Tennessee personal.

"He's such a serious guy, and he expects a lot from us," linebacker Ryan Baker said. "We don't want to disappoint him."

Chavis' UT connection will further motivate his players.

"He hasn't said anything about it," Baker said. "But we know that's where he's from, and we want to prove to him that he made the right decision to come to LSU."

No one can question his decision. After Fulmer and his staff were dismissed, Chavis landed a higher-paying job at a better program.

"I'm blessed to be here," Chavis said. "Every day, I thank God, and I thank coach (Les) Miles for giving me this opportunity."

So don't expect him to get misty eyed when he sees Tennessee orange across the field.

"I enjoyed my time (at UT)," he said. "I had a lot of good friends there, had a lot of really good things there - probably one of the better eras in Tennessee football history.

"But that's gone, and you have to move on. Like I said, I'm fortunate to be in a great program."

He also has the kind of talent that could enhance any defensive coordinator's scheme. Patrick Peterson is generally regarded as the best cornerback in the country, senior Drake Nevis is playing as well as any tackle in the SEC, and Sheppard is an all-conference middle linebacker. They form the experienced nucleus of what is a relatively young defense.

Freshman Tyrann Mathieu, who starts as a nickel back, looks like a future star. Sophomore Morris Claiborne is another promising cornerback. Redshirt freshman Craig Loston, a former consensus high school All-American, already is good enough to start. Redshirt freshman Sam Montgomery is a starter at defensive end.

This defense might not have the size and strength up front that LSU's 2003 and 2007 national champions did, but it's faster overall. And Chavis proved at UT he knows how to utilize speed.

After improving significantly in Chavis' first season, LSU leads the SEC in total defense, allowing 41 fewer yards per game than second-place Alabama.

"It's all him," Sheppard said. "He always says it's the players, not the scheme. But he's putting us in position where we're just striking people."

This Saturday, the Tigers will be delivering hits against a program in which Chavis played a prominent role for 20 years. But Chavis makes it sound like just another target.

"I'm purple and gold through and through now," he said.

John Adams may be reached at 865-342-6284 or adamsj@knoxnews.com.

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Comments » 40

tennezz writes:

Must not have any 3rd down yet!!!

RockyTopVolFan writes:

I believe Chief has a purple & gold covering over an Orange & White interior, similar to a cake.

I usually wish Chief good luck, just not against his "homies". We already are having difficulty on third down and I hope we turn it around against your purple people eaters.

We know you are all Vol in your heart! Thanks for playing, coaching, & contributing to UT!

The1 writes:

The worst part of the Kiffin debacle was the loss of Chavis. UT's defense was never a real problem, but Chavis was a casualty of Fulmer being left at the helm too long. Who knows, if Dooley is hired instead of Kiffin, Chavis might still be at UT. LSU gave Chavis a fat raise when Dooley was looking for a defensive coordinator didnt they? Ironically, Chavis finds himself, a great defensive coordinator, coaching under another mediocre head coach. LSU fans are not so happy with Miles. They believe he rode Saban's coat tails and the program is steadily declining every year - only Chavis' defense salvaged last year, but we UT fans know that wont keep a mediocre head coach in a job for too many years. Perhaps in a year or two Chavis will be available again.

FWBVol writes:

in response to The1:

The worst part of the Kiffin debacle was the loss of Chavis. UT's defense was never a real problem, but Chavis was a casualty of Fulmer being left at the helm too long. Who knows, if Dooley is hired instead of Kiffin, Chavis might still be at UT. LSU gave Chavis a fat raise when Dooley was looking for a defensive coordinator didnt they? Ironically, Chavis finds himself, a great defensive coordinator, coaching under another mediocre head coach. LSU fans are not so happy with Miles. They believe he rode Saban's coat tails and the program is steadily declining every year - only Chavis' defense salvaged last year, but we UT fans know that wont keep a mediocre head coach in a job for too many years. Perhaps in a year or two Chavis will be available again.

Maybe John Chavis will get the HC job at LSU when the time comes that they gets rid of Miles...that is if Chavis wants it.

MidTennVol writes:

John Chavis is a class act, a hugely decent man I'd trust my children with. The guy is a Vol to the core.

I wish him nothing but the best -- with the exception of the upcoming game.

pdhuff#552644 writes:

"higher paying job at a better program", ouch!

Sad but true, JA.

Better days are coming when that will not be true.

GBO.

rocky_topper writes:

I am happy that LSU is happy to have Mr. Prevent, himself.

xvolx writes:

Tenn. should be able to absorb more penalties. If we can just get into a 3rd and 20, 1st downs should come easy.

RemembertheAlamo writes:

No one can question his decision. After Fulmer and his staff were dismissed, Chavis landed a higher-paying job at a better program. MAYBE A HIGHER-PAYING JOB BUT NOT A BETTER PROGRAM! PERIOD!

"I'm purple and gold through and through now," he said. HE MAY BE PURPLE AND GOLD THROUGH AND THROUGH, BUT ONCE ORANGE ALWAYS ORANGE....HE BLEEDS ORANGE! PERIOD!

rootin4volz writes:

Thanks again for the pro-LSU article, Johnny boy. You stupid homer.

brokebackvol writes:

Worst mistake made when Fulmer was canned - not offering the HBC job to Chavis. He was just as much a Tennessee man as Fulmer ever was, and it hurts to know he is so happy at Lousy State University.

msinva writes:

I happened to be at the adjacent gate to coaches Chavis and Miles at the ATL airport back in May. As I walked by them to board my plane, I patted coach Chavis on the shoulder and told him it was going to be hard to see him on the opposite sideline and not wearing orange this October. He actually gave me the exact same quote, "I'm purple and gold through and through now." Plus it was funny to see the head whip of coach Miles after I spoke. Don't put too much stock in Chavis' quote. What else is he to say?

FearlessFreep writes:

Since we will likely have many third down and be throwing quite a bit this game, Chavis' prevent will shine. Look for UT's 3rd-down conversion percentage to skyrocket.

Vol86 writes:

As a vol fan I always liked Chavis, but there are a few reasons why LSU liked him even before he got there.

orangeman1 writes:

in response to FearlessFreep:

Since we will likely have many third down and be throwing quite a bit this game, Chavis' prevent will shine. Look for UT's 3rd-down conversion percentage to skyrocket.

You did read where LSU defense is #1 in the SEC didnt you? Chavis has obviously done a great job there since their offense hasnt done that hot. I wouldnt be getting my hopes up. I miss the days Fulmer, Chavis, and Cutcliff were on the sidelines. Those were the best years I've seen as a UT fan. Being Fulmer and everyone else is not at UT anymore, I think Chavis would want nothing more than to put it to UT for firing Fulmer and him.

arkyvol writes:

i'm happy for chavis. the change was badly needed. like his mentor, chavis in knoxville had grown stale and overcome with a sense of entitlement.

miketn6 writes:

Chavis is a class act and a good coordinator, but I never liked the prevent (and was never really sure whether it was him or Fulmer calling it). I can't imagine he'd ever come back to UT while Hamilton is AD, but I wish him all the best in his new gig, except for when they play us.

InVAbutHeartInTN writes:

I liked Chavis, but 3rd and anything over 10 yards was a sure thing for the opposition. I'd rather have seen 3rd and 2 instead of 3rd and 15. His prevent defense was horrible.

InVAbutHeartInTN writes:

A not so subtle dig at the Vols, huh? "..at a better program." I don't know Adams' history...is he that anti-Vols?

BigBadVol writes:

"After Fulmer and his staff were dismissed, Chavis landed a higher-paying job at a better program."

A better program? According to who? Adams you are still an idiot.

Vol86 writes:

I do not expect the writers to be UT fans. We should expect them to be objective though. This Adams clown just needs to find another gig. He is an embarrassment to the communnity because he goes out of his way to throw digs at UT. IMO he is usually wrong.

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

in response to jcvet33:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You got that Right!!!!!Chief took many a average defense and had them playing above their talent level..I maybe mistaken but I believe he had more years in than any other coordinator ever at UT..His dedication to the vols pretty much says it all..There is an obvious reason why LSU was quick to hire him.

CoverOrange writes:

3rd and Chavis myth is like Arian "Fumbles" Foster. Foster didn't fumble all that often but it seemed to be always at key turning points of the game. Same with Chavis, most of the time 3rd down was 3rd down and his defenses were successful, but against key opponents with the game on the line, bam.

LSU a better program? By what measure. At a better place now yes, couldn't say that back in the 90s. Again, JA lays out an assertion with no substantiation. Did he ever write such a nice expose on Chavis while he was at UT?

concordvol writes:

landed a higher-paying job at a better program, better program???, maybe better team the last 5 years, the better program (UT) has a 20-7-3 winning record against your school, homer adams

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

No Question defense;special teams and turnovers have LSU 4 and 0.The running games pretty solid also but LSU hasn't really put up more offense than the opposition..QB Jefferson has struggled to pass for 100 yards in most all games..He played so bad against WVU that fans booed him..I believe our defense after watching UAB film will come in with an attitude..If we can stop the run; LSU will be in trouble..Coming from behind by passing is not an LSU strong point!

arkyvol writes:

in response to allVolinGA:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

what i hope is that he returns to k-ville, sans staleness and with a newfound ability to defend third and longs.

VOLliven2it writes:

Truth is we will be facing 1st,2nd,3rd and Chavis this Sat. against better and faster players with depth enough to keep first teamers rested. It will be a challenge.
I laud the job John Chavis did at UT even though I was often frustrated at some of the plays that got away from a good defense and turned wins into losses. I wish him well of course except this Sat. Maybe he could take a game off.(Not expecting that) GO VOLS DO YOUR BEST, WE ARE BEHIND YOU!

Colliervol writes:

in response to VolnotHAMILTONfan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Please cite references for 3rd down conversion statistics so that we can check them for ourselves. I wouldn't trust you to tell us if the sky was blue without looking. But keep in mind, there is a wide difference in 3rd down against East Rudipoo State and 3rd down against good SEC teams. I don't really care about 3rd down stats against Memphis and Vanderbilt. Anybody can coach defense against them assuming you have some decent players. Tell me how we did against Florida, Georgia, Auburn etc during that time frame.

You are welcome to disengage from this "fan base" any time you get ready. Don't let the door hit you in the rear on the way out.

Colliervol writes:

Darn it. I backslid again. I promised not to talk to trolls from other schools and there it went. I promise it won't happen again.

mercyseat writes:

in response to licknpromise777#651578:

No Question defense;special teams and turnovers have LSU 4 and 0.The running games pretty solid also but LSU hasn't really put up more offense than the opposition..QB Jefferson has struggled to pass for 100 yards in most all games..He played so bad against WVU that fans booed him..I believe our defense after watching UAB film will come in with an attitude..If we can stop the run; LSU will be in trouble..Coming from behind by passing is not an LSU strong point!

You panty waist fans needs to stop booing your teams and your players! I mean, how juvenile can you be! That is so disgraceful and you'all should be ashamed of your selves. They're only kids 17-21 yrs old, who have made huge commitments and sacrifices to try and give our fans something to be proud of, and we reward their efforts with public riddicule, we curse them and embarrass them, and some even spew death threats! How do we expect them to develope as players and outstanding young men when their confidence is shattered and their spirits are broken? It takes a lot for someone to break your spirit, but believe me, it RUINS you mentally. I'm not surprized alot of these 4-5 star recruits that come here never live up to their billing because of some ego-maniacal fans of ours. Hell I'm surprized alot of them would want to come here at all. That's pathetic vol fans!

beartn#223846 writes:

I know many fans gave Chavis a lot of grief when he was here. However, his last defense was statistically better than Monte Kiffin's defense. An his last defense had to put up with a lot more 3 and outs from the offense.

volfan7 writes:

LSU leads the SEC in total defense.

That sentence summarizes the article. We should have offerred Chavis more money to stay at UT. I hate to say this but LSU will wipe the floor with UT. How about a score like 35 to 17, in favor of LSU?

brauhuff#295403 (Inactive) writes:

I agree some of these idiot fans do not deserve a winning program.

whistlinwingman writes:

in response to volfan7:

LSU leads the SEC in total defense.

That sentence summarizes the article. We should have offerred Chavis more money to stay at UT. I hate to say this but LSU will wipe the floor with UT. How about a score like 35 to 17, in favor of LSU?

Kiffin let Chavis go to bring in his daddy. Chief was good and I wish him the best.

As far as 3rd and long's go..Fla and LSU loved it. Georgia even got in on the act. UNC got in on it this year too. Our offense lives with 3rd and long but I'd say the chief sends 10 men when we are in it.

VolO writes:

Hey Chief! Play your DB's 10 yards off the WR's on 3rd & long!...Oh wait...It's the 2010 VOLS...(Your comment added here)

Southland writes:

UT fans, some of them, not me, bad mouthed Chavis all the time. His defense kept us in games when the offense stunk it up. Everyone wants to say that Cutcliffe was the savior of the team. I miss Cutcliffe but Chavis was never given the resoect by many of our fans for what he did. For all those years that our talent level was going down it was defense that kept us in the games and we still were winning more than we lost. I loved the guy and wished we still had him. Yes he made some bad calls but he made a lot more good ones than most defensive co. do. Players loved playing for him. He helped develop a lot of guys and put some fight in our team. I doubt he will ever be a head coach because he didnt like to recruit. He was a class act that was loyal to UT. He deserved better than what he got in the fiasco that happened in the past couple of years. I gurantee that the people of LSU realize he knows more about football than Miles does. I hope he and his family have adjusted to the move and wished they did not have to make it

CRFVols writes:

As I recall we had a pretty good defense consistently under Chavis. One that held us in games (win or lose) all these years we've had a struggling offense.

OTPVol writes:

in response to allVolinGA:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Duke

Pompey writes:

in response to msinva:

I happened to be at the adjacent gate to coaches Chavis and Miles at the ATL airport back in May. As I walked by them to board my plane, I patted coach Chavis on the shoulder and told him it was going to be hard to see him on the opposite sideline and not wearing orange this October. He actually gave me the exact same quote, "I'm purple and gold through and through now." Plus it was funny to see the head whip of coach Miles after I spoke. Don't put too much stock in Chavis' quote. What else is he to say?

I have had the pleasure of meeting both Fulmer and Chavis and both are very nice men.

I am also glad that both are where they are today.

RichmondKyVol writes:

in response to InVAbutHeartInTN:

A not so subtle dig at the Vols, huh? "..at a better program." I don't know Adams' history...is he that anti-Vols?

Yes.

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