Tennessee cornerbacks coach Derrick Ansley facing alma mater Troy on Saturday

UT assistant was standout for Troy

Someone dug through the archives at Troy University this week to come up with a promotional poster of Derrick Ansley, circa 2004.

Today, Ansley is Tennessee's first-year cornerbacks coach. Back then, he was an outstanding senior defensive back who finished fifth in the nation with nine interceptions a year earlier.

In the poster, sporting cornrows, a thin mustache and a serious glower on his face, Ansley is billed as "AMERICA'S D.A.: Tough on Quarterbacks."

Any of Ansley's players who found the image on Twitter probably got a good laugh out of the poster, but they also learned something they might not have realized: It wasn't that long ago that Ansley was a really good player.

"I did my job in a really good defensive scheme," Ansley said Wednesday with modesty.

Tennessee (3-5) faces Troy (4-4) on Saturday (TV: FSTN, noon) in a game that will allow Ansley to reconnect with some of his old coaches and friends on the other sidelines.

Although the Trojans have struggled this year, they've consistently been among the best teams in the Sun Belt since joining the conference in 2004,

and they've been among the most notable "giant-killers" in college football since joining Division I-A (now the Football Bowl Subdivision) in 2001.

"I think our class laid the foundation for the success they have now," Ansley said.

One of the reasons Ansley is so modest about his own personal accomplishments in college is because he played on a defense with elite linemen Osi Umenyiora and DeMarcus Ware. Umenyiora has made two Pro Bowls and won two Super Bowl championships with the New York Giants. Ware, who plays for the Dallas Cowboys, is considered by many to be among the best players in the NFL on either side of the ball.

Both came to Troy after being overlooked by SEC schools. That, Ansley said, is one of the reasons the Trojans have had so much success. Players come to Troy hungry and with something to prove.

"SEC schools can only sign so many," Ansley said. "In (Alabama) and in the South, there are a lot of guys who fall between the cracks. We had a lot of good players that weren't highly recruited coming out of high school."

Ansley grew up in Tallassee, Ala., a small town between Montgomery and Auburn in an area that the Trojans recruited heavily. He had no immediate plans to enter coaching after a successful college career, but a friend at Huntingdon, a Division III college in Montgomery, encouraged him to join the staff.

Ansley spent five years there before landing an opportunity to join Nick Saban's staff as a graduate assistant at Alabama. (He had actually turned down Saban once before because he was recently married and had just purchased a house. When Saban approached again, Ansley said yes.)

Ansley worked with Tennessee defensive coordinator Sal Sunseri at Alabama, and got to know Sunseri's son, defensive back Vinnie Sunseri. Ansley said he and Vinnie would spend an hour every evening going over calls and talking football.

"He's the one who tutored my son. And my son's play speaks for myself," said Sunseri, his voice rising for emphasis. "That's what I think of Derrick Ansley. The bottom line is the guy's a helluva football coach and he's going to have a helluva future. I believe in him and the players' believe in him."

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

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Comments » 33

rockytopwestone writes:

I wish they played as well as he supossedly coach`s.

ACWLY writes:

With Sunseri at the defensive helm, we better be VERY VERY CAREFUL or the giant beaters will clean our clock. They will probably score at will so the play of our Offense will probably tell the tell. GBO

pcshowtime writes:

Cornerbacks coach I be danged if I would claim that title.

Patterson84 writes:

in response to carbonatedmilk:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Plus Dooley

atnvol#283282 writes:

Fact; I saw my first game at Neyland in September of 1967.....this is the worst Vol secondary that I have seen.

klrigsby#1377153 writes:

Was told last night at the UK basketball game the Coach Fulmer said if they want him as Head Coach he would be there. As a life long Vol fan I do not know how to take that.CPF is so ingrained in Tennessee Football I really dont know what to think.

ashvol7 writes:

in response to Patterson84:

Plus Dooley

Need to send Alabama a package deal and include Hart with them. I agree. I wouldn't take credit for this coaching mess. We are just about as bad as a team can be on this side of the ball.

laraccoon writes:

in response to klrigsby#1377153:

Was told last night at the UK basketball game the Coach Fulmer said if they want him as Head Coach he would be there. As a life long Vol fan I do not know how to take that.CPF is so ingrained in Tennessee Football I really dont know what to think.

is that you Forrest ?

volfan1202 writes:

in response to klrigsby#1377153:

Was told last night at the UK basketball game the Coach Fulmer said if they want him as Head Coach he would be there. As a life long Vol fan I do not know how to take that.CPF is so ingrained in Tennessee Football I really dont know what to think.

Of course he would be there. In case you haven't noticed, no other college team in the country wants him. Even Memphis rejected him when they were looking for a coach. If any AD thought he was worth a d^^m as a coach, he would be working somewhere else.

cltvol writes:

in response to klrigsby#1377153:

Was told last night at the UK basketball game the Coach Fulmer said if they want him as Head Coach he would be there. As a life long Vol fan I do not know how to take that.CPF is so ingrained in Tennessee Football I really dont know what to think.

any coach that is looking would feel the same way,,an elite coach? that's another story. CPF was elite with elite results lst half his tenure. Then he got a new contract @ 1 stick a year the week of Fiesta Championship. Thought it odd that was negotiated that week. Kept getting raises and became rich and complacent. The story ended as it should have. The fact we made two bad hires afterward doesn't make his exit wrong.

WhitePineVol77 writes:

in response to atnvol#283282:

Fact; I saw my first game at Neyland in September of 1967.....this is the worst Vol secondary that I have seen.

Mine was October 1962, and you are spot on re: the secondary. They lack the necessary SEC speed that has become the bar for US college football

WhitePineVol77 writes:

CPF is not the answer. It is going to take us years to reload with the athletes we need to compete in the SEC. Whoever our new coach is to be, if Dooley "gets gone", it will need to be someone that can recruit quality in their first class and into the future. There has 2 be depth in every position, 3 deep if possible.

richvol writes:

Everyone comments about the CB's speed but we absolutely are out of position and even on short routes we let the receivers run free...it's pathetic.

TooDlems writes:

This guy one or two seasons as a GA defensive back coach under Saban. I guess Dooley was under the impression that he picked Saban's brain in those two years.

WhitePineVol77 writes:

in response to richvol:

Everyone comments about the CB's speed but we absolutely are out of position and even on short routes we let the receivers run free...it's pathetic.

You are not wrong either...all part of the large picture, to be trite.

TooDlems writes:

in response to klrigsby#1377153:

Was told last night at the UK basketball game the Coach Fulmer said if they want him as Head Coach he would be there. As a life long Vol fan I do not know how to take that.CPF is so ingrained in Tennessee Football I really dont know what to think.

Lexington would be a great place for Fulmer, I heard Vicki loves to ride those thoroughbreds.

lemme_axya_this writes:

in response to TooDlems:

This guy one or two seasons as a GA defensive back coach under Saban. I guess Dooley was under the impression that he picked Saban's brain in those two years.

When did he coach under Saban at Ga? Are you sure you're a bammer fan?

lemme_axya_this writes:

in response to TooDlems:

Lexington would be a great place for Fulmer, I heard Vicki loves to ride those thoroughbreds.

Tuscaloosa is a great place for Sabans wife Terry and his drunken sorority girl daughter. I hear they both love those inbreds.

The1 writes:

in response to klrigsby#1377153:

Was told last night at the UK basketball game the Coach Fulmer said if they want him as Head Coach he would be there. As a life long Vol fan I do not know how to take that.CPF is so ingrained in Tennessee Football I really dont know what to think.

CPF would be happy with any coaching offer. TN paid him millions for a job another man making hundreds-of-thousands could have done. I suggest he find a high school to coach to fill his need. No Div 1 University wants him.

Vol_in_Mich writes:

in response to lemme_axya_this:

When did he coach under Saban at Ga? Are you sure you're a bammer fan?

You're kidding, right? GA = Graduate Assistant

GBO - Wait Till Next Year (again)

Orangepuddinskin writes:

I wasnt aware that we had conerbacks, let alone a coach for them.

Orangepuddinskin writes:

OHHHH. You mean those guys that play 20 yards off the line of scrimmage on 3rd and 1.

pcshowtime writes:

We like the bash the secondary. Remember 9-11 starter back from last year 27th ranked defense. Maybe justin wilcox was a genius I do not know.

6972 writes:

in response to atnvol#283282:

Fact; I saw my first game at Neyland in September of 1967.....this is the worst Vol secondary that I have seen.

Look on the bright side, at least you know that you will never see one worse....so things have got to get better.

brokendownoldvol writes:

Then why do we have the worst cornerback play in the country?

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

in response to carbonatedmilk:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Got that right!!!These CB's are worse than last season if that's possible! About all Ansleys done here is collect a nice paycheck

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to pcshowtime:

Cornerbacks coach I be danged if I would claim that title.

That's for sure..If UT get's torched against Troy perhaps this former Troy player sabotaged the season?? Either way, I don't see this guy being retained at any level after his coaching debut at UT..Just sayin'

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to pcshowtime:

We like the bash the secondary. Remember 9-11 starter back from last year 27th ranked defense. Maybe justin wilcox was a genius I do not know.

Wilcox did a great job with the talent he had..UT's offense stagnated last year after Hunter went down and the defense stayed on the field the whole game. Now the offense shows promise and the defense gives up quick scoring drives and places too much pressure on the offense to play perfect. It's exactly the opposite from last season..GBO!!

Orangepuddinskin writes:

in response to pcshowtime:

We like the bash the secondary. Remember 9-11 starter back from last year 27th ranked defense. Maybe justin wilcox was a genius I do not know.

If you want to know something crazy, we actually already have one more INT than we did the entire year last year. But we somehow held teams like UGA and SC under 20 points. I dont think you will find anyone on this board that would argue that Wilcox > Sunseri.

http://www.cfbstats.com/2012/team/694...

Orangepuddinskin writes:

Oops. I meant that you would be hard pressed to find someone that would say Wilcox is not greater than Sunseri, thus far.

lemme_axya_this writes:

in response to Vol_in_Mich:

You're kidding, right? GA = Graduate Assistant

GBO - Wait Till Next Year (again)

It was a joke son(Foghorn Lefhorn voice) the fast ones go right over your head. Don't you have a top 25 "pole" to read?

martinvol34 writes:

in response to pcshowtime:

Cornerbacks coach I be danged if I would claim that title.

remember that he didn't recruit the current players. his players, mcneil and company are darn good.

TooDlems writes:

in response to lemme_axya_this:

When did he coach under Saban at Ga? Are you sure you're a bammer fan?

Graduate Assistant DA.

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