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Former Vol Has Strong Words for Tennessee’s Football Culture

Photo Credit: Will Boling/RTI

Former Vol Albert Haynesworth is known for his vocal takes on Tennessee football.

Over the weekend, he blasted the Vols’ defensive line on Twitter for lining up a yard off the line of scrimmage. Tennessee used a similar tactic against Georgia Tech in Week 1 because of Tech’s flexbone/option offense. But the Vols’ line was doing it again in Week 2 against FCS opponent Indiana State.

On Thursday, Haynesworth joined the Midday 180 on 104.5 The Zone in Nashville to talk about his comments, and expand on his feelings about Butch Jones.

“We need to get back to an attacking style,” he said. “Kahlil McKenzie and Shy Tuttle were supposed to be me and John Henderson.”

Both Haynesworth and Henderson were known for their tenacity and athleticism despite their large size while at Tennessee as defensive tackles. And Haynesworth hasn’t seen in Tuttle and McKenzie what he saw in himself and his former teammate.

Tuttle hasn’t made much of an impact on Tennessee’s defense so far this season. But he has the excuse of coming back from a major injury from last season. McKenzie has ten tackles through two games, but he hasn’t been able to be disruptive like expected.

Haynesworth is confident in both of their abilities, but he feels that the coaching staff is holding back their talented athletes, especially on the defensive line. Haynesworth called McKenzie and Tuttle “more than capable,” adding that the coaches were “shackling” those two former highly touted recruits.

“Sitting back is the way to avoid chop blocks. That’s total BS. As soon as the ball moves, you move.”

Haynesworth is critical of Butch Jones and the Vols’ coaching staff, but that doesn’t mean he is rooting against Jones or the Vols. He just wants to see the defense go on the attack again.

“I don’t dislike Butch,” Haynesworth said. “I want to see us win. I’m not picking favorites. Let’s turn it back to attacking defense.”

Phillip Fulmer was Haynesworth’s head coach, and John Chavis was his defensive coordinator. Haynesworth knows how those two think and how Chavis specifically wanted his defense to look and attack. And according to Haynesworth, Fulmer and Chavis wouldn’t be happy at all with the way the Vols play defense now.

“Fulmer and Chief (John Chavis) would’ve committed suicide,” Haynesworth said. “Let guys attack.”

Tennessee will have their biggest test of the season when they face Florida this weekend. The Gators’ offense may have looked stagnant against Michigan to start the season, but defensive coordinator Bob Shoop was hired to stop SEC offenses. And he’ll have to earn his paycheck in this game.

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