Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt met with the media on Friday afternoon to discuss all the coaching changes he made to his staff this offseason. Not only did he add three new coaches to his staff at UT, but he reshuffled a lot of the responsibilities for the seven on-field coaches who remained on staff from last season to this upcoming 2019 season.
Before we get into some specifics, here’s a look at Pruitt’s new staff heading into his second year as the Vols’ head coach:
Jim Chaney – Offensive Coordinator
Chris Weinke – Quarterbacks
David Johnson – Running Backs
Tee Martin – Wide Receivers/Associate Head Coach/Passing Game Coordinator
Brian Niedermeyer – Tight Ends
Will Friend – Offensive Line
Derrick Ansley – Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Backs
Chris Rumph – Co-Defensive Coordinator/Outside Linebackers
Kevin Sherrer – Inside Linebackers/Special Teams Coordinator
Tracy Rocker – Defensive Line
Pruitt said on Friday that not only will Derrick Ansley be given the defensive coordinator title at Tennessee, but he’ll be the one calling plays for UT in the fall, not Pruitt. It’s hard to believe that Pruitt won’t be involved at least in some way with calling plays still, but it’s clear that Pruitt trusts Ansley despite this being the first time Ansley has ever been a defensive coordinator.
Ansley served with Pruitt at Alabama from 2010-11 when he was a graduate assistant and Pruitt was the Tide’s secondary coach. The two worked together again at Alabama in 2016 and 2017 when Ansley was hired as the Tide’s defensive backs coach and Pruitt served as Alabama’s defensive coordinator.
Pruitt even went so far as to say on Friday that if he starts a sentence, Ansley could probably finish it. Pruitt added that he believes Ansley is ready to call plays for the first time in his career, and he trusts him to call UT’s defense.
Staying on defense: Kevin Sherrer loses his co-defensive coordinator title and gained the job of coordinating Tennessee’s special teams. Charles Kelly served in that role as well as coaching UT’s safeties last season, but he left UT to go coach at Alabama earlier this offseason.
Chris Rumph remains a co-DC and will still coach outside linebackers. Tracy Rocker’s role remains unchanged.
Another big change is the shift of balance on the coaching staff. The Vols now have six on-field coaches on the offensive side of the ball and only four on defense.
Former Tennessee quarterback Tee Martin’s official role on UT’s staff was revealed finally. Not only will he be coaching Tennessee’s wide receivers, but he’ll also have the role of an associate head coach and passing game coordinator. Martin has coached wide receivers at Kentucky and USC and also served as the Trojans offensive coordinator.
Because of that move, David Johnson was moved from coaching wide receivers to coaching running backs. Johnson coached running backs at Tulane from 2012-15 before coaching receivers at Memphis from 2016-17.
Former Heisman-winning quarterback Chris Weinke has been moved from coaching running backs to coaching Tennessee’s quarterbacks in 2019. Offensive coordinator Jim Chaney doesn’t have a position officially tied to him, but he has extensive history working with both quarterbacks and the offensive line.
Both Brian Niedermeyer and Will Friend’s roles remain unchanged on UT’s staff.