Central Michigan focus for Butch Jones' coaching staff at Tennessee

All but two assistants have CMU ties

Tennessee offensive line coach Don Mahoney talks with the media during an NCAA college football media availability at the Neyland-Thompson Sports Complex Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Knoxville News Sentinel, Adam Brimer)

Tennessee offensive line coach Don Mahoney talks with the media during an NCAA college football media availability at the Neyland-Thompson Sports Complex Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Knoxville News Sentinel, Adam Brimer)

Are you satisfied with the coaching staff Butch Jones has put together?

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Travel north along the Lake Michigan shoreline from Butch Jones' hometown of Saugatuck and in about an hour you'll arrive in Muskegon, where his defensive coordinator grew up.

On the other side of the state, Jones' receivers coach was raised in a small suburb outside Detroit. Closer to downtown, two of his coaches made stops at Wayne State. At Eastern Michigan, a strength coach made his mark in the business. Two others got big career breaks at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, a few miles away.

But it's in the interior of the state, surrounded by woodlands and farmland and not much else, that Jones' staff came together at Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant.

Of the nine on-field assistants and one strength coach hired by Jones to his new staff at Tennessee, all but two have passed through CMU at some point in their careers.

Jones said during his introductory press conference that he wanted the best assistant coaches in America. But as his hiring choices since then have made clear, Jones believes that many of those coaches have been with him for years.

"I know everyone on our staff. I understand their background, their pedigree and where they come from," Jones said. "The great thing is they know me, they know my expectations. So we can hit the ground running, and not spend time coaching coaches."

The Central Michigan Crew

Coaching tight ends at an out-of-the-way Mid-American Conference school might not seem like much, but when Jones landed that job at CMU in 1998, it was a huge break for his career.

Fourteen years later, in his third head coaching stop, Jones has two coaches and one player from that 1998 team on his staff.

Willie Martinez was the secondary coach. Don Mahoney was wrapping up a six-year stint as offensive line coach. And Zach Azzanni, a kid from suburban Detroit, was a wide receiver.

"When you're around good people, that never leaves you," Jones said. "It's a small profession. Everyone knows everyone. I've been fortunate to be raised in the profession with a lot of good head coaches and good assistant coaches."

Mahoney left for Tulane, returning only in 2007 when Jones was named coach at CMU. After graduation, Azzanni worked at Bowling Green before he too was reunited with Jones in 2007.

Meanwhile, Martinez's career was taking off. He left CMU as assistant head coach after the 2000 season, spending most of the next decade with Mark Richt at Georgia.

After two years at Oklahoma and an ill-fated season at Auburn in 2012, Martinez was looking for work. Jones was looking for a secondary coach with SEC experience. Long after their CMU days, they had an unlikely reunion.

"It was an easy decision," Martinez said.

Other members of the CMU crew came later.

When Jones was offensive coordinator in 2002 and 2003, he worked closely with his quarterbacks coach, Mike Bajakian. When Jones took over the top job, Bajakian became his coordinator, a position he's held for the last six years.

"When he asked me to come back, I didn't even ask questions," Bajakian said. "I just knew that I was going to enjoy that working relationship."

John Jancek was defensive line coach at CMU in 2003 and promoted to defensive coordinator in 2004. Like Martinez, Jancek also went South to Georgia. When he and Martinez were fired in a defensive purge after the 2009 season, Jancek latched back on with Jones, who had just been hired at Cincinnati.

Jones made two more key hires when he took over at CMU in 2007.

He took on a young Mark Elder to handle linebackers. Elder, who has been with Jones ever since, has proven to be flexible, handling at various times tight ends, running backs, linebackers safeties and special teams.

Jones also hired strength coach Dave Lawson, who has been with him ever since.

"When I became head coach at Central Michigan, I interviewed 10 strength coaches and it took me until No. 11, which was Dave Lawson, to know I had found what I was looking for," Jones said during his tour of radio shows last week. "He's a person who's extremely loyal and believes in our program."

The Elder Statesman and the Outsiders

Jones has been loyal to his core of assistants too, bringing five of his nine coaches with him from Cincinnati.

Of the four who appear to have been left behind, two were young and will probably have to put in a few more years of work before latching on at this level. But two others — tight ends coach Dave Johnson and receivers coach T.J. Weist — are experienced coaches with ties to the South. Neither, however, have any connection to Central Michigan.

That's not to say Jones has been unwilling to branch out. In 2009, his final year at CMU, he hired Steve Stripling to be associate head coach and defensive line coach.

Stripling, with 22 years of Big Ten experience, has been Jones' most experienced staff member and has served as interim coach twice, including this month while Cincinnati prepares for the Belk Bowl on Dec. 27 against Duke.

"He's the elder statesman who's gone under the radar a bit," Jones said. "He's regarded as one of the best in the country."

Jones hired two more coaches without a direct connection to his coaching tree this month at Tennessee.

Running backs coach Jay Graham is the only coach remaining from Derek Dooley's staff.

"I don't think in terms of retaining coaches. I rehired him, " Jones said. "He's been a great resource for me. When I've been out on the road, I spent the most time talking to him."

Jones also hired cornerbacks coach Tommy Thigpen, a North Carolina graduate who spent the last four years at Auburn.

Thigpen's connection to Jones came through Martinez, who was his colleague at Auburn in 2012, and also Azzanni, who worked with Thigpen when both were young coaches at Bowling Green in 2001 and 2002.

Combined experience of 142 years

Jones has at times emphasized the importance of SEC experience in building his staff and at other times suggested it is overrated — "Players are players. Kids are kids," he said last week.

Without the additions of Graham, Martinez and Thigpen, this staff would have little SEC flavor. As it stands, Jones' coaches have spent 24 years of a combined 142 years of full-time college experience at SEC schools.

The median age of Jones' nine on-field coaches is 41, ranging from the 59-year-old Stripling to Elder, who's 35.

With only two black assistants (Graham and Thigpen), Jones' staff is less racially diverse than most teams in the SEC. Jones did offer the receivers coaching position earlier this month to former Tennessee great Tee Martin, but Martin opted to remain at Southern California. Martinez is a first generation American of Cuban ancestry.

None of the assistants has ever served as a head coach on a non-interim basis. Only Bajakian has spent time in the NFL. But the college experience runs deep. The staff has an average of 16 years as college assistants. Graham has the fewest years (seven) because of his post-college career in the NFL. Stripling, Martinez and Jancek all have more than 20 years in the college ranks.

But the overriding statistic from crunching years of data is just how much time this staff — minus Graham and Thigpen — have spent together.

Jones' core group has spent a combined 36 years — roughly 30 percent of their careers — working with him in some capacity.

An emphasis on family

That unity is based on more than just connections and convenience, Jones' assistants said this week. They've stuck together because of shared values and a family atmosphere that permeates every aspect of the program.

Jones talked about "family" at his introductory press conference and in several interviews since then. His coaches say it's more than a cliche to him. It's why he was stung by critical reports that he mishandled his exit at Cincinnati and why he takes pains to say that he still receives calls and texts from his old players.

The family climate on the coaching staff includes wives and kids who have known each other for years.

Jones and Mahoney worked together at Central Michigan only in 1998, but their wives clicked immediately and stayed in touch. The two coaches met up on the recruiting trail when their paths crossed. Nearly a decade after they first met, Mahoney returned to CMU to join Jones' staff. Seven years later, they're still together.

"It's a matter of the person that coach Jones is, the father he is, the husband he is, the values off the field that I want to surround myself with," Mahoney said. "When I go to work every day and see these guys, we have the same values for what we stand for and what we believe in. For the hours that we put in and the work that we put in and the demands of the job, it makes coming to work a heck of a lot easier."

Jones said the week he spent being courted for — and eventually turning down — jobs at Purdue and Colorado were stressful, because his decisions affected not only himself, but also his family and the family of his coaches.

"You talk about loyalty, as a head football coach, not only are you responsible for your own family, but nine other assistants, their wives, their children and then all your support staff," he said. "It's a big obligation. That's why loyalty is so big."

Jones has three sons — a junior in high school, a sixth-grader and one in kindergarten.

"The kindergartner's like luggage. You just pick him up and go," Jones joked.

But his other sons have sports and schools and friends they have to leave. That's where the coaching family helps.

"You have to understand, this is a way of life for our families," Jones said. "This isn't our hobby. This is our livelihood. My family lives and dies on game-day. My wife will become a second mother to 105 individuals on our football team. My sons will live and die Tennessee football everyday. It is a traumatic change at times to move your family, but they're extremely excited to join the community. I think my kids have worn Tennessee gear every day since they left the press conference."

Readying for Year 1 at Tennessee

When not on the recruiting trail, Jones' new coaches have been working the phones with current players, trying to get to know their new pupils and build up a level of trust entering spring ball.

"Trust is earned over time," Jones said.

The same could be said for the men who Jones brought with him to Knoxville, ready to embark on what is likely the most difficult — but also the most lucrative — coaching tasks of their careers.

"I'm excited," Jones said. "This is a top-notch staff. Tennessee fans, when they get to know and see this staff, they'll be excited as well."

Evan Woodbery covers Tennessee football. Follow him at www.Twitter.com/TennesseeBeat

related story:

Butch Jones' first Tennessee coaching staff introduced

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Comments » 135

redskinvol1 writes:

The best staff in America will surely land a top ten class this year.I hope Coach is who he says he is.GO VOLS AND HTTR!!

ARANGEVOL writes:

in response to redskinvol1:

The best staff in America will surely land a top ten class this year.I hope Coach is who he says he is.GO VOLS AND HTTR!!

Well He certainly talks a lot. Now all he has to do is put his coaching ability where his mouth is.
A top 20 recruiting class would be almost a miricle and winning seven games would be another.

Shake_Bake writes:

in response to redskinvol1:

The best staff in America will surely land a top ten class this year.I hope Coach is who he says he is.GO VOLS AND HTTR!!

A top ten class?? Are you serious? I will be shocked if that happens! I mean don't get me wrong, that would be great; but...I don't think so.

82cat writes:

in response to ARANGEVOL:

Well He certainly talks a lot. Now all he has to do is put his coaching ability where his mouth is.
A top 20 recruiting class would be almost a miricle and winning seven games would be another.

Hey Einstein you do realize he was being asked questions and interviewed by a reporter.

You may also note 90% of the article is the reporter making observations about the staff and quoting other staff members.

Well you sure whine a lot so give him a break

nocleats writes:

It would help if Dr Cheek makes the changes he has been "addressing" for the last few years. The ones that his coaches, athletic directors, boosters, and sportswriters have been asking him about for some time now.. The ones that allows these coaches to recruit with the same regulations as any other SEC school does. This issue can not be ignored.

Prostar writes:

I'm excited to see what this staff can do. I don't have any unreal expectations. I just want good, fundamental, hard-nosed football. Come prepared, play a complete game.

NGage writes:

KNS, I down you for all the negative and hit pieces you do on the UT program (largely Adams), so it's nice to see an article like this every now and then. Must be the Christmas season, LOL. Merry Christmas, KNS.

orange_eVOLution writes:

Feels like a very refreshing change. This staff has a lot of work to do, but I think we are going to see a different brand of football for Tennessee next season. Just go get those recruits!

Gman-for-vols writes:

in response to nocleats:

It would help if Dr Cheek makes the changes he has been "addressing" for the last few years. The ones that his coaches, athletic directors, boosters, and sportswriters have been asking him about for some time now.. The ones that allows these coaches to recruit with the same regulations as any other SEC school does. This issue can not be ignored.

Im curious, what are you talking about??

ktownddy writes:

http://tnjn.com/2008/dec/22/students-...

The changes in grading and its effect on GPA have made it more difficult for students with less academic prowess to maintain GPA...

BMSvol writes:

im sure these central michigan coaches are really gonna teach saban and spurrier a lesson or 2.

tennrich1 writes:

I wonder if other fan bases have the same amount of uninformed, ridiculous fans as we do at UT....REALLY???...A ton ten recruiting class??? That would be beautiful but Jon Gruden would have played heck trying to get a top ten class with a few weeks to work...I just think you were jesting and just trying to get your point across!!!

DRORANGELOVE writes:

With all of our starting receivers, TE Rivera, and starting QB gone and the schedule we have, I think Coach Jones and his staff should get a raise if they win as many as 7 or 8 games this year.

I always liked and supported Dooley but the truth of the matter is , I did'nt see any improvment in his teams from the start of the season until the finish, if anything his teams got worse as the season progressed. I don't think we will see that problem with this new coach and his staff. Time will tell. GBO

BMSvol writes:

in response to DRORANGELOVE:

With all of our starting receivers, TE Rivera, and starting QB gone and the schedule we have, I think Coach Jones and his staff should get a raise if they win as many as 7 or 8 games this year.

I always liked and supported Dooley but the truth of the matter is , I did'nt see any improvment in his teams from the start of the season until the finish, if anything his teams got worse as the season progressed. I don't think we will see that problem with this new coach and his staff. Time will tell. GBO

i never saw improvement from the first to second half.

i seemed the vols got embarrassingly out-coached second half of every sec game the last 3 years

Dalton writes:

I supported Dooley until I was convinced he had no grasp on the program...same with Fulmer (Wyoming game)...I'll do the same with Coach Jones...the most liberating aspect of a true fan is the realization that we know less than the people paid to make decisions...if it doesn't work...we're smart enough to withdraw support..
really?...YEAH!...c'mon in the water's fine...don't miss out on the fun because you want to be the first to say it's freezing....GOVOLS!!!

claiborneh writes:

Jones has great PR skills and seems very likable. Other than that I am not informed other than the articles here to say how good his staff is. However I think some of you may agree that "the best staff in America" comments Jones made at the first press conference is the expected B.S. spin. Jones did not shop one single coach other than retain Graham and ask Martin. Other than that all the coaches are from Central Michigan or Cincinatti. Who knows, could be a terrific staff, but the best staff in the country....right.

claiborneh writes:

It's Official! The TN football staff has been voted #1 in the country. It was a unanimous decision by Butch Jones and the staff.

Rosie writes:

Hope this staff can adapt to the SEC. The Mac is one thing- the sec is a bit different.
Like most Vol fans- I'm routing for the new crew, but been burned 'hoping'

VolinCalif writes:

in response to BMSvol:

i never saw improvement from the first to second half.

i seemed the vols got embarrassingly out-coached second half of every sec game the last 3 years

You have a very valid point. I really liked Dooley and I think his long term plan was good. The real problem was he couldn't take care of the home front. The sec is Defence, defence and some defence. He should never have tried to change everything at one time. I even think that Sal was a good coach just not ready for DC at this time, but the 3-4 is a very good Defense but takes a lot of time to get up to speed. Dooley didn't have that kind of time, his mistake. We will have a pretty good season this year 7-8 wins with two upsets. These guys are a hungry group of coaches and they work with their players.Look for players to put out every game.

VolinCalif writes:

in response to claiborneh:

Jones has great PR skills and seems very likable. Other than that I am not informed other than the articles here to say how good his staff is. However I think some of you may agree that "the best staff in America" comments Jones made at the first press conference is the expected B.S. spin. Jones did not shop one single coach other than retain Graham and ask Martin. Other than that all the coaches are from Central Michigan or Cincinatti. Who knows, could be a terrific staff, but the best staff in the country....right.

A great team working together can get a lot done that a few hot shots on their own can never do. I think that is what Butch was trying to get across. He just maybe right. We'll see how it goes in the O/W I bet he wins.

redskinvol1 writes:

Jesting or not I think the best coaching staff in America should be able to pull a top ten class this year.If coach thinks this is the best staff in America then I'm sure he thinks he can pull a top ten class or he wouldn't make such claims.Reel em in coach.Go VOLS and HTTR!!

VolinCalif writes:

in response to redskinvol1:

Jesting or not I think the best coaching staff in America should be able to pull a top ten class this year.If coach thinks this is the best staff in America then I'm sure he thinks he can pull a top ten class or he wouldn't make such claims.Reel em in coach.Go VOLS and HTTR!!

Correct. I think he'll finish in about the top 15. They have done pretty good at Cinn. and have several Fl players.So they aren't beginners. I look for a big first week after the dead period.

VolinCalif writes:

in response to VolinCalif:

Correct. I think he'll finish in about the top 15. They have done pretty good at Cinn. and have several Fl players.So they aren't beginners. I look for a big first week after the dead period.

Just a P.S
I also think that selling rebuilding UT is a great advantage for Jones and Staff. It didn't hurt ND, Al, or Mich. Just need the right salesmen

MidTennVol writes:

The "best coaching staff in America?" Puhlease. Give me a break.

Scoon writes:

in response to MidTennVol:

The "best coaching staff in America?" Puhlease. Give me a break.

Couldn't agree with you more, there, Mid!!

Scoon writes:

in response to redskinvol1:

Jesting or not I think the best coaching staff in America should be able to pull a top ten class this year.If coach thinks this is the best staff in America then I'm sure he thinks he can pull a top ten class or he wouldn't make such claims.Reel em in coach.Go VOLS and HTTR!!

Skin, it's one thing to show leadership optimism for program change, but it's quiet another and ignoramus to show foolhardiness with making such 'unfoundable' promises to have the best coaching staff in all of America. Let's see, what makes the best coaching staff in America, anyways? Hmm. Ah! An ascending championship program, but a program none the less who lets their boys rip up and down Alcoa Highway smoking dope in the middle of the nights endangering the lives of all others around them. Yeah, that's it. Sooo, can Jones assure all of America that vols aren't agonna be ripping up and down Alcoa in the middle of the nights smoking dope and endangering the lives of others? Now, I aint trying to be cute here, just realistic. There is NO such thing as a best coaching staff in all America as all programs shall have their flaws and with most, big ones at that ... and, that's kind of an asinine statement to make, if not very immature, to say the very least in the first place. Not a good sign for you vols.

Merry Christmas.

Scoon writes:

in response to VolinCalif:

You have a very valid point. I really liked Dooley and I think his long term plan was good. The real problem was he couldn't take care of the home front. The sec is Defence, defence and some defence. He should never have tried to change everything at one time. I even think that Sal was a good coach just not ready for DC at this time, but the 3-4 is a very good Defense but takes a lot of time to get up to speed. Dooley didn't have that kind of time, his mistake. We will have a pretty good season this year 7-8 wins with two upsets. These guys are a hungry group of coaches and they work with their players.Look for players to put out every game.

In speaking of Dooley, you stated "The real problem was he couldn't take care of the home front."

.... and, he caused poor 43 to be out in his car in the middle of the night with the windows rolled down letting the cold rain hit him in the face whilst eating a Micky D's cheeseburger with ketchup and fries ... and, alone. Tsk Tsk. Poor, 43.

VolinCalif writes:

in response to Scoon:

In speaking of Dooley, you stated "The real problem was he couldn't take care of the home front."

.... and, he caused poor 43 to be out in his car in the middle of the night with the windows rolled down letting the cold rain hit him in the face whilst eating a Micky D's cheeseburger with ketchup and fries ... and, alone. Tsk Tsk. Poor, 43.

Hi Scoon
43 is coming around, some of the Ketchup is on the end of his noise but as long as he doesn't sniff he'll be OK. I think Butch's statement was just a figure of speech, one has to say something that sounds exciting when taking on trying to rewind our Fan base. Sorry not our fan base, just mine, yours are the Cats. By the way I was hoping that Ky would hire Petrino, I know he wouldn't stay very long but I do believe he would restore Ky to a mid level Sec team within a couple of years. Can you see that happening? Top notch BB and very Good FB at KY!! The Cats would give up their litter box and start buying lime for the strips on the field.
Have a very Merry Christmas hug the wife and tell her I don't have much trade-in value but If she ever wants a fixture around the house I'm available.

SouthPaVol writes:

in response to DRORANGELOVE:

With all of our starting receivers, TE Rivera, and starting QB gone and the schedule we have, I think Coach Jones and his staff should get a raise if they win as many as 7 or 8 games this year.

I always liked and supported Dooley but the truth of the matter is , I did'nt see any improvment in his teams from the start of the season until the finish, if anything his teams got worse as the season progressed. I don't think we will see that problem with this new coach and his staff. Time will tell. GBO

I agree that the players never seemed to get better as a team, although AJ Johnson started good and became great throughout this year. Also, I thought the Bray-receivers communication became better and my confidence rose in our passing game. the running back's ability to hit the hole improved somewhat and the backs ran with more authority.

What I thought fell off tremendously was our 1st half to 2nd half production. It seems almost every game the last 2 years our team came out of the locker room less motivated than when they went into it. Maybe because they had to listen to a lawyer speak for 20 minutes--that would make most anybody lethargic!

GainesvilleVol1 writes:

It will be interesting to see how UT finishes in recruiting this year. If he reels in a top 15 team, I will be impressed. We all know the SEC is the toughest league in the Nation, no coach could step in and win at UT next year with so mamy juniors leaving and a brutal schedule. We fans are not know for patience, but I hope this coach and staff can make watching UT football fun again. Merry Christmas to all, be safe, hug your family.

GO VOLS!!

laraccoon writes:

in response to claiborneh:

It's Official! The TN football staff has been voted #1 in the country. It was a unanimous decision by Butch Jones and the staff.

i guess Jones will have to overcome the ignorant UT fanbase , see above comment !

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to MidTennVol:

The "best coaching staff in America?" Puhlease. Give me a break.

Like you would know a bad coaching staff from a good one?? Please..

82cat writes:

I keep saying it but 2 words

OFFENSIVE LINE

We certainly have problem's but a deep SEC experienced offense line can make up for a lot of them.

Looking for positives for 2013 OL is where you start.

SevenT writes:

Coach J....You can't make chicken salad out of chicken ship.

Just Saying

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to SevenT:

Coach J....You can't make chicken salad out of chicken ship.

Just Saying

You should know all about Chicken Shirt being from Kentucky..I seem to recall a bunch of yellow back cowards from tucky that refused to join the confederacy way back when. The Hatfield's whipped on the hapless McCoys and UT manhandles the mildcats yearly.

SevenT writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEARE:

You should know all about Chicken Shirt being from Kentucky..I seem to recall a bunch of yellow back cowards from tucky that refused to join the confederacy way back when. The Hatfield's whipped on the hapless McCoys and UT manhandles the mildcats yearly.

The Union Army took the river cities Louisville and Northern Kentucky for barge traffic so they controlled the State during the Civil War, the rest of the state fought for the Confederacy. Know your history BiPolar.

Vol_in_Mich writes:

in response to BMSvol:

im sure these central michigan coaches are really gonna teach saban and spurrier a lesson or 2.

They just could. Don't be so fast to put down something you know little about. All great coaches start some place. Saban - Toledo a MAC school, then MSU: Urbie - Bowling Green a MAC school then UTAH (you do remember his undefeated team, the first BCS buster), heck, Les Miles even played at Michigan. I'll not even get into the coaches like Don Shula that came from Ohio a MAC school.
Point is most all coaches start at smaller schools. The MAC is probably the best Mid Major conference in the country & Central Mich was at the top when Jones was there.
At least he has a winning record unlike you know who.
Give the guys a chance, the Vols may just end up with the best staff in America after all.

GBO - Give em heII Butch!

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to SevenT:

The Union Army took the river cities Louisville and Northern Kentucky for barge traffic so they controlled the State during the Civil War, the rest of the state fought for the Confederacy. Know your history BiPolar.

Is tucky listed as one of the confederate states?? I don't think so..I'm certain you're kin to the faction that was undecided.

VolGrad writes:

in response to ktownddy:

http://tnjn.com/2008/dec/22/students-...

The changes in grading and its effect on GPA have made it more difficult for students with less academic prowess to maintain GPA...

Incomplete, expired or bogus link: HTTP 404 error.

ProfessionalHandicapper writes:

So far three have bolted to the NFL and two linebackers decommitted. Once again talent walking away from UT. The list since Fulmer was fired is lined with names like Berry, Bray,Hunter,Patterson,Brown,OKU,Pope,Lamison,Jackson,Rodgers,Boyd, Stephens, ect could fill an All SEC roster. Now add the decommits and the 4 Star safety who quit as a feshman when Jackson was dismissed and the laundry list of talent is overwhelming. I told UT fans for two years too much talent was leaving and the typical response was "we dont need them anyway". After losses to Vandy and Kentucky maybe you did need them.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to ProfessionalHandicapper:

So far three have bolted to the NFL and two linebackers decommitted. Once again talent walking away from UT. The list since Fulmer was fired is lined with names like Berry, Bray,Hunter,Patterson,Brown,OKU,Pope,Lamison,Jackson,Rodgers,Boyd, Stephens, ect could fill an All SEC roster. Now add the decommits and the 4 Star safety who quit as a feshman when Jackson was dismissed and the laundry list of talent is overwhelming. I told UT fans for two years too much talent was leaving and the typical response was "we dont need them anyway". After losses to Vandy and Kentucky maybe you did need them.

Uhhh, those recruits left because Dooley got canned..Wasn't that what you pined for?? There's always attrition when coach's get terminated, or are you just that ignorant? Butch Jones will bring in replacements for those who changed their minds and it will balance out in the end..NGTH!

newvolfan writes:

Ok, Ok, I guess if Coach Jones would have announced, this year I will put together the most medioccre staff in America you guys would have been happy, right? Coach Jones knows these guys, he knows they are loyal, he knows there work ethic and to him they are the best in the country. And I have a feeling they may suprise you. It's great to be a TENNESSEE VOL!

VolGrad writes:

in response to VolGrad:

Incomplete, expired or bogus link: HTTP 404 error.

Not sure why clicking that link in this comment field yields the error. Searched the website tnjn.com and found the story. That is the link it provides: http://tnjn.com/2008/dec/22/students-...

Maybe it's just this google chrome browser.

AllforTenn writes:

in response to SevenT:

The Union Army took the river cities Louisville and Northern Kentucky for barge traffic so they controlled the State during the Civil War, the rest of the state fought for the Confederacy. Know your history BiPolar.

Maybe you should do some more research about the Civil War. Many Kentuckians sympathized with the Union and many joined the Union Army.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to newvolfan:

Ok, Ok, I guess if Coach Jones would have announced, this year I will put together the most medioccre staff in America you guys would have been happy, right? Coach Jones knows these guys, he knows they are loyal, he knows there work ethic and to him they are the best in the country. And I have a feeling they may suprise you. It's great to be a TENNESSEE VOL!

That's a brilliant point, CBJ's was probably baiting the crowd and personally believes in his staff. It's the under the microscope with every comment that led CBJ to accept this job. He's finally at a University that he feels will validate his coaching system and remove him from the shadow of Brian Kelly.

newvolfan writes:

Should be their work ethic. Better correct that before all the English majors jump me.

MichiganVol247 writes:

I think it's funny that so many people are banging on CBJ already for kids leaving early, kids de-committing, and his coaching staff. This is a joke, kids de-commit everyday, and if you don’t think so ask LSU and Alabama, those two pass de-commits around like the collection plate at church!

I was born in Michigan, when I was old enough to leave…I did. I came straight to Knoxville to be part of the University of Tennessee and it’s community. I ended up staying for 18 years and STILL call Knoxville home even though we had to move out of state for a job. I know where CBJ is from, I know where his coaching staff is from, I know the sense of family and community they have in Michigan. It’s not any different than the family and community connection I felt when I was in Knoxville.

This coaching staff, this team, this University will be better in the future because of that sense of family and community. And for those that think things are different at other schools in the SEC…where’s Saban from, where’s Miles from…where’s Bielema from…where was Meyer from? You guys need to get off your butt and do some research. Great teams come from the SEC…Great players come from South…and Great Coaches come from everywhere!

MarbleCitySon writes:

in response to collegegrovebilly:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

We were 1-7 in year three

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to MarbleCitySon:

We were 1-7 in year three

He was referring to Dooley's record this year.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to MichiganVol247:

I think it's funny that so many people are banging on CBJ already for kids leaving early, kids de-committing, and his coaching staff. This is a joke, kids de-commit everyday, and if you don’t think so ask LSU and Alabama, those two pass de-commits around like the collection plate at church!

I was born in Michigan, when I was old enough to leave…I did. I came straight to Knoxville to be part of the University of Tennessee and it’s community. I ended up staying for 18 years and STILL call Knoxville home even though we had to move out of state for a job. I know where CBJ is from, I know where his coaching staff is from, I know the sense of family and community they have in Michigan. It’s not any different than the family and community connection I felt when I was in Knoxville.

This coaching staff, this team, this University will be better in the future because of that sense of family and community. And for those that think things are different at other schools in the SEC…where’s Saban from, where’s Miles from…where’s Bielema from…where was Meyer from? You guys need to get off your butt and do some research. Great teams come from the SEC…Great players come from South…and Great Coaches come from everywhere!

Excellent post..

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