RTI contributor Murphy Carlton is the author of this article
When Tennessee hired away Jim Chaney from Georgia to serve as the Vols’ offensive coordinator, it sent shockwaves through the SEC. Vol fans have seen before what Chaney can do, as he called plays for UT from 2009-12, and he went on to have even more success after his first stint in Knoxville with stops at Arkansas, Pittsburgh, and Georgia.
Vol fans are hopeful that Chaney will turn around Tennessee’s inept offense from 2018 in his first year. One national writer thinks Chaney can do the same, and he believes the Vols’ offensive play-caller will have so much success that he’ll be in the conversation as one of the top assistant coaches in the SEC in 2019.
Brad Crawford, a writer for 247Sports, listed off his bold predictions for the upcoming 2019 college football season on Monday. Some of his claims are bolder than others, but all of them are designed to make the reader pause and consider the outcomes. One of Crawford’s bold predictions involves Tennessee and their new offensive coordinator.
Crawford believes that fans should be excited about Chaney’s return to Knoxville, and he predicts Chaney to lead the SEC’s top assistant conversation and help the Vols to a bowl game in 2019.
“There’s nowhere to go but up for the Vols offensively and Chaney is the right man for the job,” Crawford writes. “The former Georgia OC has only been in Knoxville for a couple of weeks and second-year head coach Jeremy Pruitt is already impressed. And with the help of newest Tennessee assistant Tee Martin, Chaney should help Tennessee excel in the primary area the program has been lacking in recent years — quarterback. The Vols have weapons at the skill position, but there’s uncertainty on whether rising junior Jarrett Guarantano is the long-term difference maker under center. Tennessee has ranked dead-last in the SEC the past two seasons in total offense, but the Vols will jump several spots in that category and get to a bowl game this season with Chaney’s help offensively.”
For a national writer who covers college football to make this kind of prediction aimed at Tennessee’s offense should make everyone in Vol Nation excited about what this offense, and ultimately the team itself, can accomplish this season.
Chaney has had success in his career in helping his quarterback at the time reach another level of play. Chaney has also been able to highlight the strengths of his QBs in his offenses. Vol fans hope this trend will apply to rising junior quarterback Jarrett Guarantano this upcoming season. The Vols’ success on offense largely depends on that and the development of the offensive line both.
Guarantano is on his fourth offensive coordinator in four years, but he and Chaney have already created a strong relationship and enjoy working together. Chaney’s offensive system should play right into Guarantano’s skill set, and it should also allow for UT’s playmakers to get the ball in their hands with multiple opportunities to make big plays.
While Crawford doesn’t say he believes Chaney will be a contender for the Broyles Award — the annual award given to the top assistant coach in college football — stating that Chaney will be in the conversation as the top assistant in the SEC would likely make Chaney at least a semifinalist for the award. Tennessee hasn’t had a coach win the Broyles Award since David Cutcliffe was awarded the honor in 1998. Alabama’s Mike Locksley won the award last season before taking the head coaching position at Maryland.
Tennessee is less than a week away from kicking off the 2019 season against Georgia State on Saturday. Look for the Vols’ offense to have a big day against the Panthers as Chaney begins his mission of getting the Vols’ offense back to where it needs to be.