Schools usually don't leave the last coach behind when they initiate their search for a new coach.
It's as though they're determined to find a new coach who has an abundance of whatever the last coach lacked.
So as Tennessee looks for a successor to coach Derek Dooley, it likely will be drawn to anyone who has successfully schooled his student-athletes in the art of impeding a forward pass or an opposing ballcarrier.
That might explain why one UT fan suggested in an email that the program should bring back former defensive coordinator, John Chavis, in an elevated role — now that he has improved his resume at LSU.
Note: His defense never gave up more than 700 yards to a Sun Belt Conference team.
A yearning for defense also could explain the appeal of TCU coach Gary Patterson. He's a defensive-minded coach, although you couldn't tell it based on his school's first season in the Big 12.
But everyone gives up a lot of points in the Big 12, which has become the college outdoor version of Arena League football.
While I appreciate Tennessee's immense defensive concerns, there's a bigger picture to consider.
In the past 20 years, Tennessee has had four different coaches. The offensive philosophy remained fairly consistent, though.
Maybe it's time for a change. And it's not just about production. UT might be able to recruit better to a spread offense.
Never mind how effective the current offense has looked in the best of times. You also need to look at recruiting against the elite programs in the SEC.
Defending national champion Alabama has relied on defense, a power-running game and a pro-style passing attack under Nick Saban. How much is that different from Georgia's or LSU's current style? Or Florida in coach Will Muschamp's second season?
All of those programs have a couple of advantages over UT: a better in-state recruiting base and more recent success. Translation: They have a better chance of winning head-to-head battles with Tennessee for the nation's premier passers and running backs.
For example, LSU has five running backs who would start at Tennessee. Georgia has two freshmen who would. How do you overcome that?
You could hire a big-name, offensive-minded NFL coach (I won't mention any names) who would have built-in credibility with any pro-style quarterback coming out of high school. If his offense also featured an elite power-running back, so much the better.
But what advantage can UT offer besides immediate playing time? And that doesn't seem to work. Otherwise, LSU and Alabama wouldn't keep filling up their depth charts with running backs.
So why not consider a different offensive course — with recruiting, as well as offensive production, in mind?
Some critics contend that the same offenses that run up ridiculous numbers in other conferences wouldn't work in a league as blessed with defensive talent as the SEC. Texas A&M presents a strong counterpoint, especially since coach Kevin Sumlin's fast-paced spread offense took down then-No. 1 Alabama.
If Tennessee is going to win a conference championship, it likely will have to beat Alabama. And how can it hope to beat Alabama at its own game?
Instead, why not try to beat it with Texas A&M's game — or something like it?