Sal Sunseri says he's faced adversity before, will fight through it

Sunseri takes blame, praises defensive players

Adam Brimer/News Sentinel
Tennessee defensive coordinator Sal Sunseri looks on from the sideline at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, S.C., on Oct. 27.

Photo by Adam Brimer

Adam Brimer/News Sentinel Tennessee defensive coordinator Sal Sunseri looks on from the sideline at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, S.C., on Oct. 27.

One fact you might know: Sal Sunseri was a consensus All-American and team captain at the University Pittsburgh during one of the program's most successful eras from 1978-1981.

Something you might not know: Sunseri started as a walk-on and many doubted that he could play Division I football.

Tennessee's first-year defensive coordinator had rarely discussed his playing career until Wednesday, when he brought it up without prompting.

Sunseri has been under fire for a Tennessee defense that is ranked 112th of 120 teams nationally, allowed 721 yards of total offense last week to Troy and seems to get worse as the season goes on.

By comparing this season to the adversity he faced as a player, Sunseri may have offered a rare glimpse into his mindset during a weekly interview in which he is usually very guarded.

"People told me I was too small to play, I was too this — and all that," Sunseri said. "I worked through it, and got it done. And right now we've just got to play better defense. That's the attitude that I want to take to the kids. We're going to work through it."

Tennessee (4-5, 0-5 SEC) plays Missouri (4-5, 1-5) at Neyland Stadium on Saturday (TV: WVLT, 12:21 p.m.).

Tennessee coach Derek Dooley has promised to take a more active role on defense and said he plans changes in game-planning and game-day management after last week's debacle.

"He's the boss. I think it will be good," Sunseri said. "I'm not disappointed in the kids; I'm disappointed in myself. I just got to keep pushing them and finding out what's going to trigger them to make them better. I know what (the players) have the capability of doing, I've just got to get it out of them."

Sunseri likely will move upstairs to coach from the press box, which he had done for the past seven years before becoming coordinator.

"I like being up there because you get better eyes up there and can see more of what's going on," he said.

Beyond that, it's unclear what will be different on Saturday. Sunseri said nothing will change

for him, other than perhaps his location.

"I hope they don't change it a whole bunch," Missouri offensive coordinator David Yost joked in comments published this week in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "If you watch the video, they've kind of done everything this year, so I don't know what else is out there."

The Vols have tried to simplify the defense. The secondary is vulnerable to long balls when playing in man coverage and short stuff when playing in zone.

When prodded, Sunseri acknowledged that his defense is difficult to run successfully without speed in the secondary, something that seems in short supply this season. But Sunseri otherwise avoided even the slightest criticism of players, saying "my hat's off to the kids" for their hard work in practice.

As for the personal criticism of his coaching, Sunseri said he wouldn't shy away from responsibility.

"You always have pride," Sunseri said. "We're not playing as good as we need to play on defense, and I'm responsible. I'm the guy that's calling it. So it's got to get done. I'm not one to turn my face away from it, my eyes away from it. We've got to get it done, and we're going to keep battling until we get it done."

Sunseri said he hasn't wavered from the defensive philosophy that won championships at Alabama and helped him land a coordinator job at Tennessee.

"You have your mentors that you talk to and you speak your mind and see what the heck advice they have," Sunseri said. "But the bottom line is, there is a plan and the plan is good, because the plan has been very successful. We've just got to go implement it."

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

Get Copyright Permissions © 2012, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
Want to use this article? Click here for options!

© 2012 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Topics

Comments » 99

maciste54 writes:

I truly hope this guy will succeed both for the Vols and the kids themselves.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

The booth at Lindsey Nelson field would be a good spot..Just sayin'

voloffaith writes:

Final comment about plan is good and has been successful..........need speed and hurting there...didn't throw kids under the bus.....said on him...so admire facing up to it...anything under 500 yards on defense might bode well if offense stays prolific.......

jack4444 writes:

Sal steps up. Gotta give him that anyway.

shorttail writes:

why dosen't tn. recruit safeties instead of putting players back there on ojt

Gr82beTennessee writes:

Adversity brings out the true character in us. I like what I see in Sunseri and how he is handling it like a man. As bad as we all feel about the defense, I am certain after reading this that no one feels worse than Sunseri. I really hope for all of us that he can be successful. Unfortunately, patience is running thin.

asleep#212036 writes:

in response to shorttail:

why dosen't tn. recruit safeties instead of putting players back there on ojt

I think most kids out of high school are just recruited as defensive backs, no matter what position they actually played, and then slotted in when they get to college. And to be fair, projected starter Jantzen was kicked out and stud Randolph got hurt and those two in the secondary would cover a lot of mistakes, especially with the long runs and deep balls. Maybe DD's fascination with Bama pushed him to go too far too soon with the defense. Had he brought in a decent 4-3 guy who could have kept us in the Top 50 nationally, we would be at least 7-2 sniffing a big-time bowl, possibly even BCS, and Dooley would have a raise, an extension, and the clout (and time) to change the defense next year if he saw fit to fix it long-term. But no.... Probably poor judgment on his part and has a good chance to cost him his job.. Go Vols!!!

born2ride writes:

I hope Sal enjoys his $1.5 Million Dollar Buy Out.

pcorange writes:

That's the most ownership of the problem I've seen any coach on this staff take yet. I am impressed with his willingness to take the blame and not put it on the players, because it is abundantly clear that the players are not at fault. If they keep CDD and Sal, I hope for the sake of this program he gets it figured out.

Tennfan4075 writes:

Was the lack of speed not recognized before and during the implementation of this defence or was this not a known factor until it didn't work? I would have thought the the correct approach is to assess the player's abilities and then put together the plan that fits the parts not putting a square peg in a round hole.

Prostar writes:

It doesn't seem very smart to have changed the defensive scheme at this time with his (CDD's) job security hanging in the balance. Add to that the fact we're 75% thru the season and you're still trying to make it work. Our overall ranking is HORRIBLE and our recruiting is taking a beating. From what I read elsewhere a coaching change if coming, however the names I hear are Mullen, Strong and Petrino. Mullen and Strong won't be able to talk until late December. Petrino is available now but I'm not quite ready to sell my soul for the wins he might bring but I can change my mind. Most any team with a defense ranked 40th or better in my estimation would have coaches on my list to evaluate. I just don't think Dooley and Sunseri will be able to get it done. I don't know why they can't but I lack the faith.

HooRay_Vol writes:

But defense is looking better for next year. We beat out Western KY, Alabama State and South Alabama for Joe Sanders. Two starts in Scout and zero stars on Rivals.

volfan1202 writes:

I don't understand what everybody is complaining about. Sure the Vols have been horrible all year, but Doolittle is going to focus his expertise on defense now. It's all good.

claiborneh writes:

I listened to "Sal" on a radio interview. Conclusion: gold chain wearing chump. This guy is a walking cliche. "It is what it is" "but hey, ..." "We're gonna keep working..."
He'd be just as effective making salami sandwiches.
Refund please

claiborneh writes:

in response to Tennfan4075:

Was the lack of speed not recognized before and during the implementation of this defence or was this not a known factor until it didn't work? I would have thought the the correct approach is to assess the player's abilities and then put together the plan that fits the parts not putting a square peg in a round hole.

Lack of speed is latest b.s. spin. The kids are not prepared. They don't know what they are doing. 4/3, 3/4, 4/4 it doesn't matter.

OrangePsyched writes:

No one else find offense with what the Mizzou OC joked about to Post Dispatch. Everyone is so excited to join in the bashfest no one wants to defend our guys. We're family..we can criticize each other but I don't like the other team being that cocky. Franklin is fragile..we need to send the house and take a shot.

DwayneElizondoMountainDewHerbertCamacho writes:

Don't worry guys, we just picked up a commitment from a Georgia Defensive End who was also entertaining offers from...powerhouse Alabama State...perennial BCS contender South Alabama...the defensive braintrust known as Indiana University...and Colorado U...also known as one of the worst programs in the country.

Recruiting has taken a plunge under this staff and our record will NOT improve so long as Dooley and Co. can't get four star caliber players and compete with UF, Bama, UGA, and LSU. It just ain't gonna happen.

Sure it's only one kid, but its pretty indicative of how things are going. We aren't even competing with the SEC on the recruiting trail.

tedstryker1980 writes:

He is not being paid a walk-on salary ... nor does he have a walk-on buyout. This was a poor analogy.

claiborneh writes:

in response to DwayneElizondoMountainDewHerbertCamacho:

Don't worry guys, we just picked up a commitment from a Georgia Defensive End who was also entertaining offers from...powerhouse Alabama State...perennial BCS contender South Alabama...the defensive braintrust known as Indiana University...and Colorado U...also known as one of the worst programs in the country.

Recruiting has taken a plunge under this staff and our record will NOT improve so long as Dooley and Co. can't get four star caliber players and compete with UF, Bama, UGA, and LSU. It just ain't gonna happen.

Sure it's only one kid, but its pretty indicative of how things are going. We aren't even competing with the SEC on the recruiting trail.

Exactly.
Fresh off the press:
Tennessee picked up its third Georgia commitment for 2013 when Joe Sanders pledged to the Volunteers on Wednesday night.

The 6-foot-5, 270-pound defensive end from LaGrange High School said he picked Tennessee over football scholarship offers from South Florida, Western Kentucky, Central Florida, Eastern Kentucky and South Alabama.

“I committed tonight because I had it made up in my mind that I wanted to go to Tennessee,” Sanders told the AJC. “I liked the atmosphere, the coaches, and how they push you once you’re down there.”

Oh yes there was one other reason the kid picked Tennessee: TN has a huge stadium and was somehow desperate enough to offer a scholarship. Let's see... Tennessee or Eastern KY... what will I do, what will I do!

chbradshaw writes:

I'm not getting past the fact that his son made a "throat-slash" gesture to the Tennessee fans in Neyland Stadium.

When the opposing school is paying his dad $2.4 million for what will likely be around 10 months of work, the trailer-trash gestures can be avoided for a week.

BigOrangeRock writes:

Four years since Chavis was fired and this is what we got. Someone on the hill needs to be tarred and feathered.

Sir_Spanky writes:

in response to Tennfan4075:

Was the lack of speed not recognized before and during the implementation of this defence or was this not a known factor until it didn't work? I would have thought the the correct approach is to assess the player's abilities and then put together the plan that fits the parts not putting a square peg in a round hole.

You might be expecting a bit too much from a coaching staff that still has to call time outs during other team's field goal attempts because they don't have the correct number of players on the field.

Orangepuddinskin writes:

in response to OrangePsyched:

No one else find offense with what the Mizzou OC joked about to Post Dispatch. Everyone is so excited to join in the bashfest no one wants to defend our guys. We're family..we can criticize each other but I don't like the other team being that cocky. Franklin is fragile..we need to send the house and take a shot.

I am onboard with this. I can talk phooey about my family, but noone else can. I hope we pop Mizzou in the mouth this weekend. It is one of the worse offenses playing one of the worse defenses. I hope our D comes out strong for a change. What happened to the defense that started out in the Dome?

jobrando#216494 writes:

I'm sure he weighed out coming to work for a lame duck coach. He will fine work plus he gets his pension buyout. Still a good move coming to VOLS.

volaholic45 writes:

IOW, he has no idea what to do, other than to keep doing what he's been doing. Insert tired definition of insanity here.

Thumper72 writes:

in response to volaholic45:

IOW, he has no idea what to do, other than to keep doing what he's been doing. Insert tired definition of insanity here.

It's doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Worse defense in the conference, currently 9th in recruiting; fasten your seatbelts VOL fans, it’s going to be a long, bumpy ride.

pcorange writes:

in response to Orangepuddinskin:

I am onboard with this. I can talk phooey about my family, but noone else can. I hope we pop Mizzou in the mouth this weekend. It is one of the worse offenses playing one of the worse defenses. I hope our D comes out strong for a change. What happened to the defense that started out in the Dome?

Even the defense in the dome didn't look so hot late in the game, and allowed an ACC team to put up 21 points on them. I'll admit, it was their best game all season, but no way NC State scores 21 on a real SEC defense.

Stanman08 writes:

WHAT HE IS SAYING IS; THE DEFENSE DOES NOT HAVE THE PLAYERS (DEFENSIVE BACKS) GOOD ENOUGH. So you sugar coat the fact that these defensive back are not good but just don't say it. IF YOU WATCH HOW MUCH THEY GOT BURNED THIS YEAR, MAYBE HE is RIGHT.

Biggie writes:

I saw the lack of speed in the 1st game and it was glaring in the Georgia game. We simply don't hve the speed to catch anybody once they get thru the line.
The fact that we couldn't get to the Troy quarterback showed another glaring weakness.
No pressure and no speed to close.

budd#207344 writes:

in response to Biggie:

I saw the lack of speed in the 1st game and it was glaring in the Georgia game. We simply don't hve the speed to catch anybody once they get thru the line.
The fact that we couldn't get to the Troy quarterback showed another glaring weakness.
No pressure and no speed to close.

Last year with these DBs we had the 19th ranked pass D in the country. In fact, if you remember, the run was our problem not passing. Now with the basic same bunch and new , younger, better, faster players they aren't fast enough? BS. He can't coach. Go tell your walk on story to somebody who cares. Please

Rumblefish writes:

Here are some stats from the worst SEC defenses this year. Enjoy!!!

Touchdowns Allowed
•Auburn 31 TDs
•Arkansas 34 TDs
•Tennessee 39 TDs
•Kentucky 43 TDs

Scoring Defense
•Auburn 27.3 ppg
•Arkansas 29.1 ppg
•Kentucky 33.2 ppg
•Tennessee 35.4 ppg

Rushing Defense
•Arkansas 121.44 ypg
•Kentucky 177.80 ypg
•Tennessee 186.33 ypg
•Auburn 199.22 ypg

Passing Defense
•Auburn 229.4 ypg
•Kentucky 236 ypg
•Arkansas 292.4 ypg
•Tennessee 296.8 ypg

Total Defense
•Kentucky 413.8 ypg
•Arkansas 413.9 ypg
•Auburn 428.7 ypg
•Tennessee 483.1 ypg

Yards Per Play
•Kentucky 5.68 ypp
•Arkansas 5.68 ypp
•Auburn 5.92 ypp
•Tennessee 6.31 ypp

Sacks
•Tennessee 12
•Auburn 18
•Kentucky 20
•Arkansas 22
Tackles For Loss
•Kentucky 40
•Arkansas 50
•Tennessee 51
•Auburn 53

Forced Turnovers
•Arkansas 10
•Auburn 11
•Kentucky 12
•Tennessee 14

Opponents 3rd Down Conversions
•Arkansas 37%
•Auburn 37%
•Tennessee 38%
•Kentucky 56.29%

Red Zone Defense
•Arkansas 75%
•Kentucky 83%
•Auburn 84%
•Tennessee 97%

6972 writes:

If you don't have the speed in the def backfield to run the 3-4, then why try to run it with these kids. To me that is like saying, I am going hunting but I don't have a gun but I am going anyway. If you want to run the 3-4, gets the atheletes that can run it. You can't coach up speed....you got it or you don't.

UTKin1992 writes:

I believe him. He definitely overcame anorexia.

Olddogsrule writes:

I never expected more than a 7-5 regular season. That was and is realistic. More is gravy. CDD has installed a record setting offense, yeah I know, it was Troy Who, but no other Volunteers coach at any time did it against any of their 'cupcake' opponents, did they? That's gravy. The offense is outstanding, warts and all. And my ha's off to the players and coaches for their current 36.8 PS/G average and are on track to set an all time average points scored per game record. Higher than any Vols offense, under any coach, any time. I'm pulling for them to do it. They a are fun to watch. That is good coaching, I don't care who you are. This ain't Sal Sunseri's first rodeo. Read his resume. It's his first year here and he's installing what is arguably the best defensive scheme with the athletes he has to work with, and had to bring JUCO players to help. All the back seat whiners posting on here need to be patient for another year. Had the D team been a little better, for whatever reason you care to provide, there'd be lots of gravy to go around, and this team would have definitely been in the running for the SEC East, and all things considered, that's not bad considering my original expectations.

laraccoon writes:

in response to claiborneh:

Lack of speed is latest b.s. spin. The kids are not prepared. They don't know what they are doing. 4/3, 3/4, 4/4 it doesn't matter.

your right ,if Wilcox had this group there is no way they would be so inept ,it is coaching .

bbmon13#478091 writes:

buffoon....

Vol_in_Mich writes:

My how the mighty have fallen. The only team used to being in the bottom four in every defensive catagory is Kentucky.

GBO - Wait Till Year After Next

underthehill writes:

in response to Olddogsrule:

I never expected more than a 7-5 regular season. That was and is realistic. More is gravy. CDD has installed a record setting offense, yeah I know, it was Troy Who, but no other Volunteers coach at any time did it against any of their 'cupcake' opponents, did they? That's gravy. The offense is outstanding, warts and all. And my ha's off to the players and coaches for their current 36.8 PS/G average and are on track to set an all time average points scored per game record. Higher than any Vols offense, under any coach, any time. I'm pulling for them to do it. They a are fun to watch. That is good coaching, I don't care who you are. This ain't Sal Sunseri's first rodeo. Read his resume. It's his first year here and he's installing what is arguably the best defensive scheme with the athletes he has to work with, and had to bring JUCO players to help. All the back seat whiners posting on here need to be patient for another year. Had the D team been a little better, for whatever reason you care to provide, there'd be lots of gravy to go around, and this team would have definitely been in the running for the SEC East, and all things considered, that's not bad considering my original expectations.

I had UT going 7-5 for the year and thought some predictions above that were not based on reason..even some media so called experts were buying into the higher expectations..those expectations led to dispair when it fell thru..I thought and still do ..if UT goes 7-5 Dooley should get another year..as for the offense..it appears to be based solely on Bray..if he mans up they play well..if he panics when pressured..it goes downhill..as for the defense..the players are thinking and not reacting..when this happens they don't have a chance..any way ..I think UT beats Mizzu...I'll be back to eat crow if wrong...

HopeisNotaCourseofAction writes:

in response to Olddogsrule:

I never expected more than a 7-5 regular season. That was and is realistic. More is gravy. CDD has installed a record setting offense, yeah I know, it was Troy Who, but no other Volunteers coach at any time did it against any of their 'cupcake' opponents, did they? That's gravy. The offense is outstanding, warts and all. And my ha's off to the players and coaches for their current 36.8 PS/G average and are on track to set an all time average points scored per game record. Higher than any Vols offense, under any coach, any time. I'm pulling for them to do it. They a are fun to watch. That is good coaching, I don't care who you are. This ain't Sal Sunseri's first rodeo. Read his resume. It's his first year here and he's installing what is arguably the best defensive scheme with the athletes he has to work with, and had to bring JUCO players to help. All the back seat whiners posting on here need to be patient for another year. Had the D team been a little better, for whatever reason you care to provide, there'd be lots of gravy to go around, and this team would have definitely been in the running for the SEC East, and all things considered, that's not bad considering my original expectations.

7-5 is unrealistic

5-7 is realistic, with 2 of those 5 Ws vs 1-9 teams (akron and ga state)

Pathetic situation with a record that is undefendable - which fits right in with the way our D plays.

"Hoping" to sweep the likes of these last 3 opponents is also pathetic and shows how far we have fallen.

As far as CSS's 1st rodeo, wish he was doing that now - rodeo clown, and we had a real DC who knew what the intercourse he was doing.

And no, CSS aka Buddy Hackett ate all the gravy, there is none left.

Another year? Next year's schedule adding oregon is harder, so our rodeo clown will need to ride off into the sunset soon or we'll suffer thru yet another disappointing losing season.

tomatosoup writes:

You know...being one of the biggest UT fans living in Northern, VA....I can't help but to feel a little sorry for this guys. Not trying to make up any excuses but he "seems" like a nice guy that is trying. I like the fact that he takes full responsibility for our miserable defense but just wish Coach Dooley would allow him to stay on the field.....I've got to admit, even Sal is going to be humilitated sitting in a press box with other assistans come Saturday. I can only imagine what the other assistant coaches will be saying to one another and all of the glares and stairing that Sal will get. Guess if there is a positive being demoted to the press box, it's that he'll be able to see the entire field instead of only a part of it....guess that's exciting? Go Vols and let's win out!!!

mytrifecta writes:

Sal's got the face of a Walmart door greeter and to this point about the same ability to coach a defense. I guarantee you all our db's are at leaat in the 4.6 range. Tired of hearing about lack of speed in the secondary...the difference in 4.4 and 4.5...or 4.6 during a game is almost nonexistant. Example? Jerry Rice is the greatest WR to play in the NFL and he ran a 4.6. He also ran past guys like darrell green (4.29) on a regular basis. Its about being in the right position...and our guys are clearly not in the right position about 95% of the time.

budd#207344 writes:

in response to Olddogsrule:

I never expected more than a 7-5 regular season. That was and is realistic. More is gravy. CDD has installed a record setting offense, yeah I know, it was Troy Who, but no other Volunteers coach at any time did it against any of their 'cupcake' opponents, did they? That's gravy. The offense is outstanding, warts and all. And my ha's off to the players and coaches for their current 36.8 PS/G average and are on track to set an all time average points scored per game record. Higher than any Vols offense, under any coach, any time. I'm pulling for them to do it. They a are fun to watch. That is good coaching, I don't care who you are. This ain't Sal Sunseri's first rodeo. Read his resume. It's his first year here and he's installing what is arguably the best defensive scheme with the athletes he has to work with, and had to bring JUCO players to help. All the back seat whiners posting on here need to be patient for another year. Had the D team been a little better, for whatever reason you care to provide, there'd be lots of gravy to go around, and this team would have definitely been in the running for the SEC East, and all things considered, that's not bad considering my original expectations.

Questions
1. If Sunseri knows what he is doing why is he installing a defense that the present talent can't execute?
2. Why is the 3-4 the better scheme if people like Chavis and UT have run a 4-3 for over 100 years?
3. Why would a HC who knows the natives are restless put in a defense that everyone agrees takes 3-4 years to work and requires different athletes than you have been recruiting for the past 100+years?
Please enlighten me as to why these things should not be a sign of lack of knowledge as opposed to some higher level of performance?

jandjhome#228397 writes:

I am hoping he and Dooley won't be around to fight thru it next year. Please Hart stand up to Cheek,

underthehill writes:

in response to tomatosoup:

You know...being one of the biggest UT fans living in Northern, VA....I can't help but to feel a little sorry for this guys. Not trying to make up any excuses but he "seems" like a nice guy that is trying. I like the fact that he takes full responsibility for our miserable defense but just wish Coach Dooley would allow him to stay on the field.....I've got to admit, even Sal is going to be humilitated sitting in a press box with other assistans come Saturday. I can only imagine what the other assistant coaches will be saying to one another and all of the glares and stairing that Sal will get. Guess if there is a positive being demoted to the press box, it's that he'll be able to see the entire field instead of only a part of it....guess that's exciting? Go Vols and let's win out!!!

It does appear Sal is a good guy who made a bad decision to come to UT..and UT made a bad decision to try such a stupid change..should have kept Thompson on board..Thompson went back to bama..I think Hart made this call and it ain't worked out..as attention turned to Hart when Dooley kept insisting he had nothing to do with the defense..all of a sudden Dooley gets to take over the defense..at this point in time..UT needs to win out and try to salvage a decent recruiting class..if it happens..Dooley should get another year...

tomatosoup writes:

in response to underthehill:

It does appear Sal is a good guy who made a bad decision to come to UT..and UT made a bad decision to try such a stupid change..should have kept Thompson on board..Thompson went back to bama..I think Hart made this call and it ain't worked out..as attention turned to Hart when Dooley kept insisting he had nothing to do with the defense..all of a sudden Dooley gets to take over the defense..at this point in time..UT needs to win out and try to salvage a decent recruiting class..if it happens..Dooley should get another year...

Agreed....I do plan on UT winning out and making a lower tier bowl game with hopefully a win. Let's keep our fingers crossed that 2 of our big 3 on offense come back next year and HOPEFULLY, something will happen to our "D" that will allow us to better compete against what is going to one rough schedule next year!!! Go Vols!

Olddogsrule writes:

I will garantee you Sunseri is coaching fundamentals, he is coaching position responsibilities, gap responsibilities, and each positions' responsibility for knowing what shift to make based on what the opposing team's offense shows. He's coaching how to break off a block toward the ball, correct tackling, pursuit angles ... all things a good 3-4 defense does. He's showing film of how it's done right, and having discussions with the players on each position. And they are practicing it daily. And no, the 3-4 is not rocket science, it's not even high school algebra.

That said, speed means nothing if the athlete hesitates even a moment against an opponent. Hesitation comes from several sources, too many to name given 11 players who either have that confidence in themselves, or don't. Sunseri can be really hard on his defense coming off the field after a bad series. Maybe moving him to the coaches box, which he has lots of experience coaching from and gives him a better ability to 'see the field' combined with the D not having to come off the field and face the intensity of Sal's sideline coaching may be all it takes for the D to relax into playing their positions and having fun playing the game. And we all know, when the team's having fun, they're winning.

Olddogsrule writes:

And to MANLY (uh ...er) manlytrashtalkisnotacourseofaction (dosen't deserve caps) ... the hem of your anger slip is showing, fix yer skirts.

CoverOrange writes:

The 3-4 notionally should change out a 260lb DE for a 230lb LB. How does that affect the play of 4 DBs especially on deep coverage which is a safety's responsibility.

I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that even if Sal had kept the defense in a 4-3, there would still be major issues.

We waited for three years for Chaney to produce a sterling offense, can we survive waiting three years for Sal? Two?

overthetop writes:

He's a fat, goofy slob who got paid an obscene amount of money to come in and make a complete mess of the Vols defense. Now they're going to have to pay him another obscene amount of money to make him go away. Could be the worst hire in the history of the Tennessee atheletic program.

tennezz writes:

in response to BigOrangeRock:

Four years since Chavis was fired and this is what we got. Someone on the hill needs to be tarred and feathered.

That`s what when you get when you change coaches...Kiffin wanted to bring "Grandpa" with him! I hope they do not fire these coaches they are not dumb and have been to war now and are learning what it takes to win in the SEC. Dooley will be a real good recruiter when he gets off the hot seat. These problems he has had will make him a better coach. Somebody will get a good one if we fire him.

Want to participate in the conversation? Become a subscriber today. Subscribers can read and comment on any story, anytime. Non-subscribers will only be able to view comments on select stories.

Features