John Adams: Like its players, UT coaches have something to prove

John Adams

After three consecutive losing seasons, Tennessee should be one of the most motivated teams in the country.

And the coaching staff should be just as motivated. Although it hasn’t lost 21 games in the last three seasons, it has something to prove, too.

When Butch Jones was introduced as Tennessee’s new coach, he assured you he would assemble one of the best coaching staffs in the country.

You can’t prove that by the resumes. But Tennessee fans can be encouraged by how well this staff has recruited.

The Vols already have 24 commitments and are well on their way to assembling a top-10 class. That’s quite an accomplishment for a new staff at a program that has had four losing seasons in the last five years.

Maybe the staff can coach just as well. It will have plenty of chances to prove itself season against one of the most challenging schedules in the country. Five of UT’s opponents are ranked in the preseason top 10.

For some of those coaches, the SEC presents a first-time experience. For others, it offers a chance for redemption.

Jones and four of his assistants have never coached in the SEC. Five of his assistants have coached at least one SEC school. Only secondary coach Willie Martinez has coached at two SEC schools, Georgia and Auburn.

Martinez might have more to prove than anyone on the staff.

He was fired as Mark Richt’s defensive coordinator at Georgia in 2009 and had the misfortune of signing on with Auburn before its disastrous 2012 season, which ended with a head-coaching change.

UT linebackers coach Tommy Thigpen also was on Gene Chizik’s staff — when Auburn won a national championship in 2010 and when it gave up 150 points in its last three SEC games in 2012.

Tennessee defensive coordinator John Jancek worked with Martinez at Georgia. He was the Bulldogs co-defensive coordinator in 2009 when they lost to the Vols 45-19 in Neyland Stadium.

Jancek also was a defensive coordinator at Cincinnati in 2011 when the Bearcats lost 45-23 in Neyland Stadium. So don’t bother telling him how down Tennessee has been.

UT running backs coach Robert Gillespie might not have an elite running back in his group, but he should fare better statistically than he did at South Carolina.

The Gamecocks never had a 1,000-yard rusher in his three seasons (2006-08) as running backs coach. They ranked 11th, fifth and 12th in the conference in rushing during that period.

Wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni, who was an assistant coach at Wisconsin last season, has coached in the SEC only one season. He was Florida’s passing game coordinator in 2010 when it ranked 10th in the SEC in passing.

You might remember those were the post-Tebow Gators, sadly lacking in the kind of skill players who can power a passing game. Azzanni likely will have the same challenge in his first season with the Vols.

That’s an example of why you are on shaky ground anytime you try to evaluate assistant coaches solely on stats. They’re so dependent on the talent at their position.

The best way for Tennessee’s coaching staff to prove itself this season is by improving what talent it has.

After that, it’s all about recruiting.

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Comments » 24

johnlg00 writes:

No question in my mind both the players and the coaches have to prove themselves against the toughest league in the land. Both groups should therefore be on the same page for the most part. Neither can succeed without the other, and both arguably have to do better than they ever have in order to do so--the coaches because they have either never coached in the SEC or have had spotty records for the ones who have, and the players because they have mostly all been on board for some of the worst seasons in Vol football history. I think both groups have had a bellyful of being given short shrift by the media, fans of opposing programs, and even portions of the UT fan base itself. They will all be out to turn the tables on the doubters. They have likely heard all they want to hear about how bad UT is expected to be this year and will kill themselves to prove everybody wrong. I'm sure it has driven their offseason workouts and may well propel them to an unexpected win or three.

Witch_Doctors writes:

Witch Doctor say let the slobberknocker commence, its [almost] football time in Tennessee.
Go Vols.
Bones never lie.

WaltGoVoIs writes:

The bones say John Adams is written out.

Walt

UT '81

longtimefan84 writes:

After Butch is fired. Adams will write about for 5 more years. KNS...it's time to fire John Adams. Let Fulmer write a column about Adams. It's only fair.

tonyvick#213307 writes:

...for some reason this is not an encouraging article

dragon18 writes:

in response to longtimefan84:

After Butch is fired. Adams will write about for 5 more years. KNS...it's time to fire John Adams. Let Fulmer write a column about Adams. It's only fair.

Really!?..... I reread the article to be sure and Fulmer wasn't mentioned once. Can we please get over the fact that Fulmer was fired? Whether it was right or wrong will be debated for decades hence and it still will not change the fact that Fulmer is no longer the head coach. We have a coach at this moment that has done nothing but work his arse off and has accomplished more than I could ever have expected on the recruiting trail.

So instead off popping off about when CBJ gets fired, try being a freaking fan that is living in the moment and enjoy what CBJ is trying to bring to UT!

movol77 writes:

Here is an idea...prove JA can write a sports proposition without a holier-than-thou, looking-down-my-perfect-perspective arrogance.

When UT wins, JA will then criticize the margin of victory. When UT wins another SEC crown, JA will comment about the lack of national championship. When UT wins another national championship, JA will arrogantly compare it short of another player, team, coach, etc.....

tnvolfan30 writes:

in response to tonyvick#213307:

...for some reason this is not an encouraging article

Sure did sound like he was throwing the assistants under the bus...

Olddogsrule writes:

Several different ways this could've been wrbetter.

But not by johnnyboy, the unmitigated king of jerks in print non journalism.

FIRE JOHN ADAMS!!!

bUTch_please writes:

Lessee if I can save KNS some ink....

Snowballs' Chance in H*!!.
by John "Rocky Top S**ks" Adams.

All the assistant coaches are SEC losers.

All the players are SEC losers.

I'm sick of hearing about this stupid Top 10 recruiting class. Just wait till you see my columns on official visit Saturdays, morons.

The End

antonio14313 writes:

i actually don't think this was that bad of an article. he basically just stated facts and stats. normally he has more of his personality in his articles, which, in my opinion, he didn't do much of this time. he's a much better writer when he leaves his personality out of the article. and also when he doesn't try to be witty.

i can't wait till coach jones and his staff shuts him up.

GO VOLS.

t

antonio14313 writes:

...and mark wiedmer is a better writer.

go vols.

t

madrigal writes:

More of Adams' frothing at the mouth. When is KNS going to get tired of his recycled, regurgitated drivel?

And Mark Wiedmer may be a "better writer" but you can write well and still write BS.

hikerdude writes:

I really don't understand the JA hate that surfaces constantly on this board. This article does nothing more than state facts. If you are a Koolaid drinker , the facts sometimes upset you. Facts are stubborn things. They don't go away just because you don't like them. But JA didn't make them up.

murrayvol writes:

in response to longtimefan84:

After Butch is fired. Adams will write about for 5 more years. KNS...it's time to fire John Adams. Let Fulmer write a column about Adams. It's only fair.

Sooooo, you're saying Adams has 25 more years at KNS. Tremendous!

murrayvol writes:

in response to antonio14313:

...and mark wiedmer is a better writer.

go vols.

t

Damning with faint praise antonio??

murrayvol writes:

in response to hikerdude:

I really don't understand the JA hate that surfaces constantly on this board. This article does nothing more than state facts. If you are a Koolaid drinker , the facts sometimes upset you. Facts are stubborn things. They don't go away just because you don't like them. But JA didn't make them up.

They'll never admit it but they'll miss him when he's gone.

Pompey writes:

....Adams laid out the facts so the coaching staff can accept the challenge it presents or withdraw and pout....I think that I know which one Butch will do...!

Whizzer writes:

I guess what I don't understand is why "Adams haters" continue to come here and read his columns, then post negative comments about how the KNS should fire Adams. The KNS doesn't care whether you like what Adams had to write. It cares about if you came to read it. So by complaining about Adams, you confirm that you read him. In other words, you are really telling the KNS that he shouldn't be fired because you read him and he causes you to have a reaction. I find myself agreeing with him often, but not always. Opinions vary and seldom will everyone agree on anything.

Olddogsrule writes:

in response to murrayvol:

They'll never admit it but they'll miss him when he's gone.

So NOT TRUE. Fact is when johnny boy was recuperating from knee replacement several of us commented about the breath of fresh air beginning to waft through GVX. That and the rest of the staff there proved johnnyboy's not needed ... at all .. for GVX to be a success.

FIRE JOHN ADAMS! SAVE MONEY and HAVE A BETTER PRODUCT.

volistic writes:

in response to tonyvick#213307:

...for some reason this is not an encouraging article

I know. You would think John Adams wrote this article.

madrigal writes:

in response to murrayvol:

They'll never admit it but they'll miss him when he's gone.

NOT.

movol77 writes:

in response to hikerdude:

I really don't understand the JA hate that surfaces constantly on this board. This article does nothing more than state facts. If you are a Koolaid drinker , the facts sometimes upset you. Facts are stubborn things. They don't go away just because you don't like them. But JA didn't make them up.

It's not about one article. It's about the whole collection. No one (UT) is good enough for JA. When there is, he ignores them more for what he can pick at..

jmaples54 writes:

if you think articles bringing praise, encouragement and optimism would make the players and coaches better, you are as ignorant as many of these posters.

you people who criticize adams are just like him! negative, critical, sometimes sarcastic, holier than thou!

it brings to mind the old saying, "the things you love about other people are the things you love about yourself. the things you hate about other people are the things you hate about yourself."

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