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Why New Linebackers Coach William Inge Chose Tennessee Over Alabama

Photo By Andrew Ferguson/Tennessee Athletics

William Inge was all set to become Alabama’s newest outside linebackers coach. He spent each of the last two seasons as Kaleb DeBoer’s inside linebackers and co-defensive coordinator at Washington. Inge was going to follow DeBoer to Tuscaloosa.

Until he wasn’t.

“You’re getting ready to in a sense to rebuild and get everything squared away there (Washington),” Inge said on Monday. “Then there’s change. Then there’s more change. Then, there’s literally, in last hour, there’s Tennessee.”

Inge had never worked with Josh Heupel. He knew Tennessee defensive coordinator Tim Banks from Banks coaching at Penn State at the same time Inge coached at Indiana, but the two had never worked together either.

But when Banks reached out about his potential interest in replacing Brian Jean-Mary, who left Knoxville for the same position at Michigan, Ingle listened and things materialized quickly.

“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,” Inge said. “And literally, all this happened within 48 hours. It was a two-day span.”

Inge was interested in Tennessee because of the tradition and because he respected Heupel and his offense from afar. But when he talked with Tennessee’s fourth-year head coach, the interested quickly grew.

“I am a fan of Coach (Josh) Heupel as well,” Inge said. “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.”

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Inge did his best endearing himself to Tennessee fans during his introductory press conference calling the Vols just as strong of a brand and “just as established” as the Alabama program that won six National Championships in 17 years under previous head coach Nick Saban.

But the more surprising part of Inge’s move to Tennessee is because of his history with new Crimson Tide coach Kalen DeBoer. Inge worked for DeBoer at Washington and Fresno State and were on the same staff together at Indiana prior to that.

Inge admitted that leaving his longtime boss was a difficult decision but one he felt was eventually for the best.

“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,” Inge said. “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.”

Inge’s on field coaching role is currently as important as any other for Tennessee. The Vols have a talented but young inside linebackers room including true freshman Edwin Spillman and sophomores Arion Carter and Jeremiah Telander.

There’s lots to like about Tennessee’s inside linebackers but Inge also has an exciting coaching task on his hands in Knoxville.

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