John Adams: Jim Chaney makes history by sticking around

John Adams

Good thing for Tennessee's seven new assistant football coaches that offensive coordinator Jim Chaney is still around. He can provide them with a historical perspective on UT football.

He can even tell them what the program was like way back in 2009. Remember?

The Vols went to an out-of-state bowl, had a quarterback drafted, and actually made forward progress running the ball. Imagine that.

Chaney can also offer an eyewitness account of "Black October," the night Tennessee donned black jerseys and drubbed South Carolina. And he has a working knowledge of "Black January," the night former coach Lane Kiffin made his California gold rush.

Ancient history, you say? OK, then how about something more recent, like "Black November," when UT's 26-game winning streak against Kentucky ended?

Any newly hired UT assistant coach must be curious — at least from a professional perspective — as to how the Vols' last season ended with a crash for the ages.

One of the advantages in UT's limited access to assistant coaches is that subjects remain topical for months. So I didn't feel as though I was dating myself by asking Chaney how he had processed a 10-7 loss from three months ago.

"One of the hardest losses I've ever been a part of," Chaney said after Wednesday's practice. "It takes a toll on you."

There was plenty of blame to go around, especially for the UT offense, which proved itself incapable of scoring more than an offense so impaired by injury that it had to rely on a suddenly converted wide receiver at quarterback.

The last Saturday of November isn't as painful amidst the optimism of spring practice. Chaney likes all three of his quarterbacks, speaks glowingly of his tight ends, and is encouraged that his wide receivers are trying to block people. But while he prepares for the season to come, he accepts his share of responsibility for what went wrong last year.

"I'm trying to get (quarterback) Tyler (Bray) to take ownership of our offense," he said. "I have to take ownership of our offense that (scored only seven points)."

His critique extended beyond one game, though. He saw the Kentucky game as the culmination of an offense that was rarely on the cusp of competence.

"There are some things I would have done differently," he said when addressing the season-long struggle in retrospect. "We had struggled all year. I would have tried to show more leadership early on in some things.

"But we don't need to get into all my deeper thoughts and the demons I lay on the bed and think about. I'm a weirdo about those things."

From a fan's view, that's more commendable than weird. The last thing they want to hear from a coach who had anything to do with the Kentucky defeat is something along the lines of: "It was a tough loss but I'm not going to lose any sleep over it."

If you consider Chaney as weird, it's probably because you can't comprehend why he stuck around after a 5-7 season. The majority of the staff fled the scene almost as fast as the Vols left Bar Knoxville a couple of years ago.

"You can run away from it," Chaney said. "Or you can sit here, look it right in the face and try to correct it. That's the decision I made.

"When I came here, I wanted to stay here."

After just three years, he already has stayed long enough to qualify as staff historian.

John Adams is a senior columnist. He may be reached at 865-342-6284 or adamsj@knoxnews.com. Follow him at http://twitter.com/johnadamskns.

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Comments » 28

AlexAndersonAAradio writes:

dean of our staff

pingkr62 writes:

Last year is last year. All streaks eventually end. Tennessee will re-new the streak with U.K. and will possibly begin another. I expect to see the Vols absolutely crush U.K. next year in the revenge game of the century, for Vol fans anyway.

FEARinSEC writes:

Hey, Adams, can you please write something that doesn't have anything about the KY loss in it???

Good grief, wouldn't beat a dead horse, would you?

Volfrombama writes:

Hey look! I'm Johnny Adams. I love to view UT in a completely negative light and rub salt in the wounds of the fans over the state of the program! Don't I do a fantastic job?

BigVolFaninSC writes:

in response to FEARinSEC:

Hey, Adams, can you please write something that doesn't have anything about the KY loss in it???

Good grief, wouldn't beat a dead horse, would you?

Not only would he beat it, but he would rent a steamroller and turn it into road pizza and then dine on it!

I'm glad Chaney decided to stay. I think he realizes that since this team will finally have a fair amount of upperclassmen, he wouldn't want another OC to reap the harvest of his seed. I foresee big strides this year! GBO!

pms151 writes:

John you have been reading too much sports in the Tennessean. Why don't you try to write something original? The guy with the 'stash' over there beats you to the point every time. This time weeks ago.

abnermc writes:

more junk i'm sure . just judging the headline.

BigOrangeSmoker writes:

Just abother useless pointless article...to bad johnboy cant do the kitten shuffle and shuffle out of here we dont need his negative junk!!!

OrangeAppeal writes:

And John Adams continues his "Cal Ripken, Jr. like" streak. Exhibiting ineptness and gross negativism since 1987 at the KNS. However, he is still second to David Climer who has been at the Tennessean exhibiting ineptness and gross negativism full-time since 1977.

pms151 writes:

in response to OrangeAppeal:

And John Adams continues his "Cal Ripken, Jr. like" streak. Exhibiting ineptness and gross negativism since 1987 at the KNS. However, he is still second to David Climer who has been at the Tennessean exhibiting ineptness and gross negativism full-time since 1977.

A close second I might add. However Mr. Climer ocassionaly has an original thought.

VolinCalif writes:

Good grief, John tries to give us something other than the same old hash. He is pointing out that there were multiple problems and that Chaney couldn't fix everything that was going wrong. He makes it clear that Chaney was very disturbed about the season. But the Vols didn't start the season on the wrong foot, we really looked pretty good, Chaney needed a running game and a healthy Offence, he just depended to much on the pass and got burned. Could he have really done much more? Don't know, but Chaney has a fine resume and has had many great passing teams. We'll be very happy with him this year. So Thanks Adams for pointing to this subject.

dk writes:

John, what is next week's article on the Vol's loss to Kentucky going to be entitled? How many more angles can you come up with? Enquiring minds want to know! Your Mother said that if you don't clean up your room, that she is going to take your coloring book and crayons away from you.

Vol86 writes:

Just wondering how JA can stick around the KNS writing these articles. Does he read these post and realize that the readers are tired of his bad articles.

CrankE writes:

I'm still looking for Orange April. When there is Regime Change at KNS and John Adams is fired. Now that's some change you can BELIEVE in!

BigBadVol writes:

I'm just thankful we have a coach that has shown loyalty to UT and wants to be here. It's refreshing.

PUL4VOLS writes:

Here's hoping Chaney gets the run fixed. If not, we will not look a lot better than last year. I believe it can be done. I also want to see as many articles in KNS and Tennessean next year after Tennessee finally beats UK in football again. Bet that never ever ever happens. We shall see.

Bigger_Al writes:

Adams continues to inhale briskly.

snakeplissken writes:

Chaney is still at Tennessee because there's nowehere else for him to go, except maybe somewhere like Maryville College.

vut5686#1405392 writes:

What a waste time and space. All his historical rehash has been said over and over by everyone else (and better) as well has his own self. Funny? Not. Interesting? Not. Informative? Not. Does it even express an opinion? Not.

Purpose? Unknown.

GONAVY writes:

in response to BigBadVol:

I'm just thankful we have a coach that has shown loyalty to UT and wants to be here. It's refreshing.

good point

tomkats3242 writes:

This coach is like this writer. BOTH need to leave and never come back to UT campus especially the writer. Worst I have ever read or seen. Its a shame they let people with this class in the door anywhere on campus. PLEASE fire the bum.

knoxchatter writes:

Why is a coach STILL trying to get a starting quarterback in his junior year to 'take ownership of the offense???" Is this supposed to be reassuring to Vol fans? As for still mentioning the KY loss....way to go John Adams for this is something that should never never never EVER be forgotten...it never should have gotten so bad that it happened to begin with. And for those that constantly comment on here with 'well, these are still just kids...they are supposed to make mistakes...'....um, get real...this is a MAN'S GAME...and they are old enough to be a man. Disenchanted Vol fans have every right to be just that...DISENCHANTED..with the state of this program over the past few years based on tradition and what once was! As for this coming season: hope for the best, expect the worst! It is what it is...

bbmon13#478091 writes:

Ok, to all of you John Adams bashers...

Most of you have probably forgotten more football than he knows anyway....media types don't do research, investigative, in depth analysis anymore - this is what they do. His work is no different than 95% of those in the media.

To do anything else requires work - it requires independent thought, it requires critical thinking. Most just don't do that any longer. It's easier to take one or two things and write 15 articles about those topics and just change a few paragraphs or quotes around.

Don't concern yourself with John's work - it is what it is - he's simply doing what he knows.

Vol_in_Mich writes:

Please keep getting your articles from the Cahaatnooga Times/NFP. They actually have some sports writers.

Vol_in_Mich writes:

in response to Vol_in_Mich:

Please keep getting your articles from the Cahaatnooga Times/NFP. They actually have some sports writers.

Woops! Too drunk to spell my home town. CHATTANOOGA, or East Ridge!

givehim6 writes:

Jim Chaney may be the dean of UT coaches for now but Jay Gram knows much more history about UT, he can remember when UT played for championships not just winning records and P on bowl games.

copia69296 writes:

The only way to send a message to KNS is to STOP reading anything written by JA and STOP responding to the articles.

VolinCalif writes:

in response to slaw_way:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Yes K D i agree with you. That was just my point. Chaney is a pass originated coach and he was totally dependent on the pass and got burned. I think Dooley knew that but there wasn't much they could really do last year, it was just to late. But this year they sure know better and have had time to correct things. I think they will , We will have a very good season this year.

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