Advertise with usContact UsRTI Team

What Tennessee Football’s New Assistant Coaches Said On Monday


Photo By Andrew Ferguson/Tennessee Athletics

Tennessee football’s new assistant coaches — running backs coach De’Rail Sims and inside linebackers coach William Inge — met with the local media for the first time on Monday morning.

The duo each discussed why they came to Tennessee, early impressions on their position groups, their coaching philosophies and much more.

Here’s everything Sims and Inge said on Monday.

More From RTI: Tennessee Makes The Cut For Four-Star Offensive Tackle

De’Rail Sims

Opening Statement
“I’m thankful to Coach Heupel for blessing me and my family with the opportunity to come to the University of Tennessee. This is a rich and storied traditional program. We’re fired up to be here.”

On if coaching in the SEC was a part of his career goals
“For sure. I think when I started coaching, you always want to have your feet where you’re planted at that point of time, but you always have your end goals in terms of your aspirations that you want to get to. Of course, being able to get to the SEC was always a dream and a goal of mine. I just worked hard every single day to be able to reach that goal.”

On his memories of Tennessee football growing up
“When I was growing up, being able to watch them on Saturdays, and in my opinion it was RBU. You turn around and you watch Jamal Lewis when I was growing up, Travis Stephens when I was growing up. Seeing them run through that Power T to come in here, and they were beating up on everybody. It was one of those deals that you had admiration for the program. It was one of those deals that I wanted to come here and play, but I wasn’t good enough to play here. I had a teammate in high school that played here. I always had very, very fond memories of watching Tennessee on television.”

On his first impressions of the running back room
“Hard working. They come to work every single day and they push one another. Really good young men in the room with good character. Their personalities are really good. They gel together and it’s a brotherhood in that room.”

On the key to creating a running back room as he goes to a new job
“No. 1, having them understand me as a person and what I’m about. Kind of telling them my story and my background, and then being able to get to know them. Not as a football player, but as a person. Getting to know them from the inside out and understanding what are their trials and tribulations that they had to go through as young men, what’s their family dynamic and background and then what drives them and pushes them? I tell them all the time, I’m not getting on you as a person when we’re out there between those white lines, I’m getting on you as a player. As a player, you’re never going to be right. We always have to coach you hard. As a person, I have to love you. I have to love you as a player as well, but I have to get on your tail as well.”

On if he could see himself coaching at Tennessee after he coached against them at Western Carolina
“The number one thing I remember is that we got our tail ran out of the stadium. Honestly, it’s kind of been this way my whole entire career. God has always given me a preview of places that I’ll end up. I had a little feeling when I was here that night. I didn’t know at what point in time that would happen, but I had a feeling at some point in time it would. All I had to do was work hard, and it came true.”

On his perception of a Josh Heupel run offense
“My perception of the offense is that it’s always dynamic and physical in terms of the running game. You sit here and you look at all of the different parts that go with it and the mechanics that make up this offense. It was always one of those ones that gave the defense issues from a lot of different areas. I know a lot of people just look at it from the tempo standpoint, but there are a lot of things that go into it that make it hard for the defense to have to defend. It was one of those ones that I wanted to learn, get used to and get comfortable with as well.”

On what Vol fans should expect out of him in his first year
“High energy, detail-oriented. I’m going to push my guys to their full potential. The thing about us is we’re always going to be aggressive as a unit and do things the right way. That’s the No. 1 deal. We want to be detail-oriented, we want to be fast, we want to be physical and we want to play aggressive.”

On if his mission stays the same even if he’s coaching a different style of offense
“It does. Always getting our guys to play hard is No. 1, being detail-oriented is No. 2 and making sure we’re doing a really good job of doing our job. No matter what offense we’re playing in, we do what’s required of us to be able to go out there, execute and get our job done.”

On running back Dylan Sampson
“Dylan has been really good. Me and Dylan actually had a prior relationship. I recruited him when I was at the University of Louisville, so we had a relationship prior. He’s been really good in terms of helping this transition. He’s actually a coach on the field and a coach in the classroom as well, so that’s been easy.”

On reaching out to former tailbacks that played for schools he’s been at
“I think that’s important to get the understanding of what made this place so special in terms of a running back position. At previous spots, I have not necessarily done that. That is something that I definitely plan on doing here once I can breathe a little bit.”

On pros and cons of being a younger running back
“I think it’s awesome because you get to mold them and shape them. I think every single day is a learning opportunity, and every day is a day to get better. That’s the way we will approach things with spring practice coming up. Every single day is a day for us to get one percent better. Everybody in that room is young in some form or fashion, whether that’s playing experience on the field or getting here. I think that situation is really good. We just have to take the bull by the horns and work every single day.”

On learning the offense and his progress
“It’s been drinking water through a fire hose. From the time I stepped in this building, when I was blessed with the opportunity to get this job, it was all gas, no brakes. Understanding the rhythm and flow of the day was No. 1. No. 2, is being able to understand the offense, which every single day we are in here, that’s getting better and better. I think all offenses are the same, per se, in certain aspects of it, you just have to learn the language of the offense, so that’s the portion that’s been good. Every week that I’ve been here, it’s been slower for me. I’m talking about the whole entire transition, learning my way around Knoxville, learning my way around the building, learning the faces in the building. The more that I’m here, the
more I’m getting familiar with it.”

On the run game at Cincinnati when the passing game was not effective
“It’s a mentality. You understand that sometimes, you are going to have to run the ball when you want to, and you are going to run the ball when everybody in the stadium knows that you’re running it. I think that is something that you have to work on every day. That is something that as a whole entire unit, that we will take pride in. I think it’s the pride in the performance piece that comes along with that. Understanding that you are going to have to make somebody miss, you are going to have to break a tackle, you are going to have to go pad plus two and be able to accelerate your feet through contact and still be able to get those yards after contact that we talk about a lot. So, whether everybody in the stadium knows that we are running the ball or throwing it, it’s a mentality that you have to adjust to adapt to be able to execute from a running back’s standpoint.”

On traits he looks for when recruiting running backs
“One, the mental and the physical toughness standpoint of it. Two, football acumen; how smart are you and the retention piece of it? And then change of direction, short area quickness. Everybody, when they look at the running back, they look at ‘can he hit the home run? Can he take one 80 yards?’ Yes, you look at that, but what are the other intangibles that come along with that? Short area quickness, playing behind your pads, good body control, good balance and being able to be willing to put your face on somebody in pass protection. Those are the things, that kind of make-up in terms of a high school back, as you are evaluating and looking for one.”

On rotating running backs
“I think it’s all dependent upon the offense and what Coach Heupel wants to do. We just kind of flow from that standpoint. In the past, we’ve rotated to keep guys fresh, but in different offenses that I’ve been in, whether it’s a no-huddle, up-tempo offense, we’ve been able to play multiple guys and keep them fresh, but it all depends on how we are flowing offensively and who’s in rhythm. That’s a big piece of it. You never want to get a guy out of rhythm. I always talk about, when you are playing running back, you get in that groove to where it feels like you can just feel where the seams and holes are opening at. We go from that standpoint and who has the hot hand? You never want to pull off the hot hand. You want to let them eat.”

On if he has watched the film of this group of Tennessee running backs
“Yes, I have in terms of going along learning the offense. That is the process of learning. You are learning them as you are learning the offense, as well, and you are looking at the things that they do really, really well. It’s hand-in-hand, from that standpoint, and I’ll continue to watch film as we go along, as well.”

On early impressions of Dylan Sampson
“I think you see the explosiveness jump off tape. You see the tenacity in terms of as he is attacking defenses. The willingness to put his face on people and go in there and block. I think the traits you see and what he’s shown is what jumped off to me on tape.”

William Inge

Opening Statement
“Good morning, everyone. I am Coach William Inge. It’s an honor and a privilege to have the opportunity to be here at the University of Tennessee. It’s an exciting time I think as we all know. I am really excited to be a part of this thing we have going on right now. It is awesome to be around the players. You talk about being able to drink from a firehose as last week has been awesome, and I have loved every moment of it.”

On what the last few months have been like
“It has been like life in hyper speed, to where you have a chance to compete for a national championship. Then, you’re getting ready to in a sense to rebuild and get everything squared away there. Then there’s change. Then there’s more change. Then, there’s literally, in last hour, there’s Tennessee. And then all of the sudden, a week ago I’m here. So, it has been a whirlwind. But that is kind of the nature of the beast that we are in right now. We are excited and we always take advantage of every moment that we have.”

On what he knew about Tennessee and Coach Tim Banks
“Coach Banks and I go back to when he was at Penn State, and I was in Indiana. We have known each other over the years and have just kind of seen each other passing on the road, recruiting. We have also played against each other but have not had the chance to be in the same conference. We have never worked together. It was just kind of one of those scenarios where a conversation happened and started ‘Hey, would you be interested?’ And this is kind of the scenario. And literally, all this happened within 48 hours. It was a two-day span.”

On why he was interested in Tennessee
“Because No. 1, I know the history, the tradition and the branding that this place has with that Power T and what it all represents. The recruiting that you can be able to do here, but also, I am a fan of Coach (Josh) Heupel as well. Being able to see the things that he has done with his background and his record. And then, when we got to talking, I think I knew that I could have a big impact here in the group with respect to my position, helping the defensive staff, the overall staff, helping our football team. And that was something that was important to me.”

On what it took to branch off from Coach DeBoer and come to Tennessee
“As you could assume, it was very tough because you have a very good comfort level with a staff, with people and with how you do things. But then, when you have another branded program that’s exactly the same, that may be just as established as the program you are dealing with, that comes into play, and that’s something you want to look at and something you want to seek, and having a chance to do something different. Be around some of the young men here and help literally to get to the hearts and minds of some of these players and help them compete for an SEC and national championship. That’s something that has become very important to me.”

On the talent he is inheriting in the linebacker room with this new job
“Yes It does, but also, no pun intended, that’s why we have to work twenty-four/seven. When you have youth, that’s something you can be able to use to develop. Being able to get with them and trying different platforms for learning because at the end of the day, it’s our responsibility as the coaches to make sure that they are able to execute. When you have someone that we call ‘green and growing’ that means that they are young, assertive, and ready to emerge. Now we have to be able to do things systematically to allow them to go play and be able to make their plays at the point of attack. When you have some excitement like that in your room, that’s something that really excited me to really want to be here knowing you didn’t have guys that you are only going to be with, lets say, for six months. Starting from scratch, we have a really good room of guys that are ready to take the next step. It just excites me as a coach continuously. Putting them into scenarios where they can be developed and getting them to be able to do things that they couldn’t ordinarily do themselves.”

On Keenan Pili and his experience in the linebacker room
“Keenan, we call him Uncle Grandpa because he is the old war buck veteran. It’s so funny in some meetings today just about what you did over the weekend. Well you know some guys ‘hey I went and took so and so out to eat or I went over here’. He is doing some home improvements with his wife, and I say whatever you do you should always say yes and you will never have a problem, guaranteed. I have had a chance to know him, kind of even a year ago, when he was coming out of BYU, and we recruited him at Washington. To see him, he brings another level of maturity, but for me that really puts me in scenario where I can really command leadership from him and really try to instill things in him that’s going to allow him to grab the bull by the horns when it comes to him being the one vocal and action leader on our football team. That’s going to allow us to take the next step.”

On the experience of coaching at Washington and coaching in a national championship game
“Probably the biggest thing is that when you pour into your young men, that is a byproduct of what occurs. When you have a team that is player led, that is a byproduct of that. When guys believe in one another and they do not beat themselves, that is a byproduct of that and kind of one of our main Maxim’s that we have in this program, when you look around the building. The team that makes the least amount of mistakes will be the team that’s going to be in the best position and win the football game. That is so true that is said by Coach Neyland years ago to where that is a staple in all of college football, probably all of sport around the world. If you could make sure that you could remain that particular team, you will be in every game.”

On being at a place like Tennessee
“In a sense, you’re kind of at the pinnacle, because everything that you look at, everything you read about everything you see, most of the time, the SEC has the gold standard. When you look at the gold standard, there’s going to be a few teams historically that have been up there, while the one with the power T has been one of those schools. So for us to have the opportunity to be here, it is an honor and a privilege. We really look forward to being able to add to some of the next steps when it comes to continuously creating some of the histories and traditions that will go on forward from here.”

On any young players that have stood out to him so far
Well, some of the guys it’s one of those scenarios where we’re just trying to see exactly what they can do. So for us, I’ve only had one workout with him. Everything else has been in the meeting room or walkthroughs. So that’s why when we come back next Monday, after spring break getting into spring ball, I told everyone, we’re going to all start with a clean slate. I want to be able to teach you and show you just kind of one-on-one and allow you all to grow together and allow you to grow as your own person and you to grow as your own person and kind of go from there with each individual so nothing has kind of happened as yet per say.”

On why the offensive scheme is not a concern for him as a defensive coach
“Because I truly believe that in a lot of places it’s more a matter of how you see it. Sometimes the time of position may be a challenge, but if your room is right, you build your defensive structure correctly, that just means more guys get to play. You have to have more depth in your room, more depth at each individual position and more people to play. If we do that, and again you all know this, on defense no matter where you are you have to have the philosophy of you’re a fireman coming onto the football field and there is a five-alarm blaze. No matter when you get on the football field or no matter how you get on the football field, it’s our responsibility No. 1 to be able to put the fire out and get off the field.”

On how he goes through the process of considering different job options
“It’s a little bit of everything because No. 1 you want to be able to look at the stability of the program and see who has gone and come from the program. You want to look at the history and tradition of the program. You also want to look at how will that program be able to help you grow professionally. Probably for me that was one of the more important things. Being able to look at how can you consistently be able to grow, can you be able to grow and what can evolve from this particular scenario or this situation. Then, when you look at the place where’s it at, is it the place where you can be able to live and function as a family. Us having a chance to get on the other side of the mountains and having a chance to come to Knoxville, and just as a family we’re extremely excited.

On who he targets recruiting wise as the game gets more complicated
“Speed, speed, speed, speed, fast, quick, speed, athletic and that’s where the game is evolving. What you need today from a linebacker standpoint is you need length and you need athleticism. If you have those two things, you can start with that as a core. Then you have to be able to have the physicality to be able to deal with some of the teams that run the football. You have to build your room as such to where you’re playing different football teams so your room has to be built to be able to manage being able to play all those different styles of teams that you’re going to play. I think that’s probably something that’s great within the SEC, because you’re going to have some teams where the ball is chucked out in space 24/7, you’re going to have some teams where the ball is coming down your throat 24/7 and you’re going to have some teams where it’s going to be kind of your 50/50 mix. That’s kind of how you build your team, how you build your room. That’s for us, that is one of the biggest things that we have to just consistently continually do, continue to upgrade our talent to make sure you can get some guys who have what we call in-space comfort. Guys who when you’re in space, they’re very, very, very comfortable. They can guard and challenge good receivers and have their mindset to where they’re good, they’re going to be fundamentally sound.”

Similar Articles


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Tweet Us