UT sees leaders in line: New position coach building on strength

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)

KNOXVILLE — Don Mahoney undoubtedly knows he's inheriting a nice situation.

His intent is to make it even nicer.

Tennessee's new offensive line coach is taking over a unit that returns 123 combined career starts and loses just one player from a solid group that improved as run blockers and allowed only eight sacks in 2012, but Mahoney wants more from his linemen.

"They've been through a lot together, and they're willing to embrace this change," he said. "We've got to develop depth. We've got to have some guys step up and play at even a higher level than they did last year, and that's one of the challenges I'm going to present to them.

Continue reading at the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

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Comments » 29

senracjr writes:

The O-line is the strongest position we have, it should make a running back have a real good year. Go Vols

emailnodata (Inactive) writes:

Yeah, well, QB is the worry now, and WR.

I'm not sold on Worley. The redshirt freshman kid may beat him out.

As for the run game?? Not much in the way of backs.

Now, let's move to defense: decent D-line, middling to poor LB's, awful secondary.

Look, honest assessment: this team could have won 9-10 games last year, with maybe 1 play in each loss the deciding factor. UT's passing game was at times superb, unstoppable.

This coming year?? I honestly don't see jack. I think this could be worst couple of seasons in Vol history.

emailnodata (Inactive) writes:

I want to couch my post above: I'm not a flamer, not a troll, I'm a vol fan since the 1960's. I grew up on Condredge, Hacksaw, Kiner, and those guys.

Without a defense, we have a long, long, LONG ways to go.

sameolvolalum writes:

Kids, since nobody else has got much of a clue as to how good or bad UT will be next year (since we don't know jack, yet!), just give it a rest and save your half-empty attitudes for dealing with the rest of your (apparently) miserable lifes.

AllVol1 writes:

A good O line helps everything. It gives the QB more time. It gives RB's more room. It gives the WR's more time to separate or adjust routes. Yes, there are big legitimate questions about our skills positions, but this is the best possible scenario for those guys. Vols!!

YORVOL writes:

in response to sameolvolalum:

Kids, since nobody else has got much of a clue as to how good or bad UT will be next year (since we don't know jack, yet!), just give it a rest and save your half-empty attitudes for dealing with the rest of your (apparently) miserable lifes.

To that I say "AMEN"

creekroad writes:

The great thing about football is the concept of TEAM. TEAM means that the efforts of 11 individuals acting as a unit is always more important than any of the individuals acting separately .....we haven't had TEAM in quite awhile & it is our hpe for the future

Rumblefish writes:

Is it september yet?

jack4444 writes:

Got 7 senior defensive linemen returning as well. And I guarantee they got more potential than what was displayed last year.

eduardo writes:

Yeah and Ga, Fl and Bama are shaking in their boots! Oh and dont forget vandy! Give me a break!

Big_Orange_Aide writes:

The new coaching staff, from top to bottom, is better than the previous staff. They will use common sense in knowing how to put Tennessee in a position to be in every game we play. This recruiting year is by no means great, but it is looking m0re and more solid. CBJ is doing a good job.

BigBadVol writes:

The more I hear the more I like from this coaching staff. We will be competitive shortly.

copia69296 writes:

I would love to see more articles on the players. We never hear about the players unless it is an injury or arrest. How about letting us get to know the players, maybe as a fan base we can do a better job giving them support.

For 3 years this web site has been the same people making the same remarks to EVERY article. If you do not like a reporter, stop reading his articles! Good or bad, every response tells the KNS that you are reading his stuff and they will keep letting him write.

With that said, who is the lineman that is leaving, who will be taking his place, who entered classes early ? How about an interview each week with a player other than the QB !!??

KVCrockett writes:

CBJ looks like a football coach.Ready to lead, ready to teach, and ready to kick a player in the seat if a player needs it. I dont believe that has been the case lately.Gotta like the new OL coach calling parents and trying to learn more about the players themselves

62vol writes:

in response to copia69296:

I would love to see more articles on the players. We never hear about the players unless it is an injury or arrest. How about letting us get to know the players, maybe as a fan base we can do a better job giving them support.

For 3 years this web site has been the same people making the same remarks to EVERY article. If you do not like a reporter, stop reading his articles! Good or bad, every response tells the KNS that you are reading his stuff and they will keep letting him write.

With that said, who is the lineman that is leaving, who will be taking his place, who entered classes early ? How about an interview each week with a player other than the QB !!??

Dallas Thomas was a senior.
The writers on this site may have an agenda.

wazzya69vol writes:

in response to emailnodata:

I want to couch my post above: I'm not a flamer, not a troll, I'm a vol fan since the 1960's. I grew up on Condredge, Hacksaw, Kiner, and those guys.

Without a defense, we have a long, long, LONG ways to go.

I was right there with ya. Totally agree with your comment.

shorttail writes:

DEFENSE IS WHAT WINS GAMES

punkin writes:

Would it be too much to ask that our S % C coach at least look like he might be in shape and not someone that looks like they just finished a six pack on the couch?

Nevermind, I forgot; "best staff in the country".

BolivrBob writes:

in response to BigBadVol:

The more I hear the more I like from this coaching staff. We will be competitive shortly.

Me too bad. I'm liking everything I hear from a staff. No red flags at all like there was with Dooley early on. I think we definitely have the right guy and staff. I think we will see positive results this next season.

emailnodata (Inactive) writes:

in response to sameolvolalum:

Kids, since nobody else has got much of a clue as to how good or bad UT will be next year (since we don't know jack, yet!), just give it a rest and save your half-empty attitudes for dealing with the rest of your (apparently) miserable lifes.

I, and anyone else, will politely choose our time, place, and content for our comments.

As for your arr-chair psychology-ing, you may kindly apply that to yourself and move on to more palatable pastures.

emailnodata (Inactive) writes:

We'll know just how serious this staff is if come spring time, they've made some moves to shore up the defense.

If you've been following, you'll notice the SEC defenses have fared poorly this year in many bowl games; what that tells me is that our defense doesn't have to make the more to "great" for us to win, just "solid".

emailnodata (Inactive) writes:

Know what the key will be for this guy??

When UT gets into one of those odd-ball, weird-play situations, does the break go UT's way.

I cannot think of a single game in CDD's career here where the "break" fell for UT.

dk writes:

in response to creekroad:

The great thing about football is the concept of TEAM. TEAM means that the efforts of 11 individuals acting as a unit is always more important than any of the individuals acting separately .....we haven't had TEAM in quite awhile & it is our hpe for the future

Best post that I have seen on here is a while. Coaching and discipline are the keys. Say what you want to, but last year's team did not have discipline. We all know that they didn't get good coaching. The present staff have been together for quite a while. Most of them anyway. They should all be on the same page and if they can get the Tennessee players to play like the Cincinnati players did, then the Vols will be just fine. Won't win the NC this coming year, or next 2 or 3 years, but should be in the running for the SEC by 3rd or 4th year.

decades_vol (Inactive) writes:

in response to punkin:

Would it be too much to ask that our S % C coach at least look like he might be in shape and not someone that looks like they just finished a six pack on the couch?

Nevermind, I forgot; "best staff in the country".

Hey, this is the offensive line coach, not the S/C coach. For that matter, if he can make a very good offensive line become even better, I say let him have all the beer and doughnuts he wants. And throw in a plate of flamin' hot wings to boot. He can belch and %#@^ all he wants, if he can make these guys come out mean and snarlin'.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to emailnodata:

I want to couch my post above: I'm not a flamer, not a troll, I'm a vol fan since the 1960's. I grew up on Condredge, Hacksaw, Kiner, and those guys.

Without a defense, we have a long, long, LONG ways to go.

I've seen enough of your posts to know you're not a troll, and the things you point out are question marks for many of us. Even so, there is reason for optimism. No doubt the QB competition between Worley and Peterman will be interesting. Bray appeared to be so much better than anybody else last spring that neither of the other guys got many reps with the first team. The coaches were spending all their time trying to get Brady ready and had no time to spend with the others. Jones, the rest of the staff, Worley, and Peterman all know that they will have a big task in replacing Bray, but the right kind of player embraces the challenge of having to be THE MAN and steps up.

We may not have the numbers of top-quality receivers and backs that we had in the past, but there are guys who can play. There is still room for the backs to improve over and above the noticeable improvement they made last year. There are receivers with talent like Dallas and Carter and others whose names escape me right now who will also embrace the challenge of major roles. That is all part of what a new start is all about.

Clearly, the defense needs major surgery, especially in the backfield. Hopefully, the team will run a defense the players will understand and they can at least have the right people on the field in the right positions to begin with. There is no cure for their apparent lack of speed other than recruiting faster guys, but just knowing what they have to do and being disciplined enough to do it every time would constitute improvement all by itself.

No, I'm not trying to blow orange sunshine up everybody's butts. The team has a LONG way to go to get back where we all want them to be. Next year's schedule is a no-doubt killer. But we would be making a big mistake as fans to think that all is gloom and doom before CBJ and staff even sign their first class, before winter workouts, before spring practice, and of course WAY before the team takes the field for real. Hoping for the best while recognizing the huge challenges ahead, I know I will be eager to see how it all works out, and right now I can't ask for more than that.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to AllVol1:

A good O line helps everything. It gives the QB more time. It gives RB's more room. It gives the WR's more time to separate or adjust routes. Yes, there are big legitimate questions about our skills positions, but this is the best possible scenario for those guys. Vols!!

Well said. As Bama showed conclusively last night, it all starts with the big uglies up front. Luckily, the Vols have a pretty full cupboard of them for next year. Still, the new coach has a challenge ahead of him. O-linemen are a unique breed. They are guys who will work hard, knowing they will rarely get individual credit equal to their effort or even their talent. They rarely hear their names except in the pre-game introductions or are recognized in games unless they commit a penalty. They tend to form an extremely tight-knit group because of this. As a group, they are usually the most intelligent players on a team. It is hard for an "outsider", even with the best intentions, to become a part of that group. It is not easy to know right off what to change with a group that has had success before the new coach showed up. The new guy seems to be saying and doing all the right things to form a working relationship with those guys. We'll just have to see how it works out, but there is reason to feel good about this group in particular.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to emailnodata:

Know what the key will be for this guy??

When UT gets into one of those odd-ball, weird-play situations, does the break go UT's way.

I cannot think of a single game in CDD's career here where the "break" fell for UT.

Man, you got that right! There is truth in the idea that people make their own luck, but poor ol' Dooley didn't have ANY good luck. It struck me as extrememly weird that ND had a couple of bad breaks early in that game that seemed to rattle them, and took away any belief they might have had that they could make a game of it, not that they really had a chance to begin with.

Olddogsrule writes:

in response to jack4444:

Got 7 senior defensive linemen returning as well. And I guarantee they got more potential than what was displayed last year.

You got that right jack; and a great article ... from the Chattanooga newspaper, ... ... and as Coach Butch says, "we don't want our minds to tie up our feet". Let's hope that approach works for the new offense AND defense as well. With all the players who are returning for 2013 on the offensive and defensive lines, if CBJ can put together a quality group of ball handlers and DB's and the offensive and defensive schemes don't "tie up their feet" we could be pleasantly suprised. Now we have to hope CBJ's ("process" as Saban calls it) program of numbers of players in each position gets filled soon and brings along the younger athletes and recruits for 2014 and beyond.

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