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William Inge Brings Player-Led Mentality to Linebacker Room

William Inge
Tennessee LB Jeremiah Telander and linebacker’s coach William Inge. Photo via Tennessee Athletics on YouTube.

William Inge is a player’s coach.

The longtime veteran assistant coach came to Tennessee this offseason to lead the Volunteers’ linebackers unit after an impressive tenure around the football world. The 50-year-old assistant coach has spent time with the Buffalo Bills, Indiana, Fresno State, and most recently the Washington Huskies during their run to the national championship game.

Cool, calm, and collected, Inge brings a mature presence to the Vols’ defense staff. Veteran linebacker Keenan Pili praised Inge on Tuesday for his ability to teach and communicate in the position room while a recent video from Tennessee Athletics showed that in action.

But where Inge has a high level of being able to teach others, he also empowers his players to instruct each other.

“That’s something that’s probably been in me ever since my playing days,” Inge said about his belief in player-led meetings. “It’s something that Hayden Fry really instilled in the team. Something that he always said was that ‘player-led teams will always be in positions to play for championships,’ because if a player can lead a player, now you have what’s called peer accountability. You get indirect leadership from a player being able to do that.”

The latest episode of The Juice video series on YouTube from Tennessee Athletics shows an up close and personal look at Inge’s teaching style. In the video, Inge had rising sophomore linebacker Jeremiah Telander instruct a specific meeting with his fellow linebackers.

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“The player-teach-player [aspect] has been big for us,” Telander said on Tuesday. “Our unit has grown a lot closer just even in these last four or five weeks. I believe that if you can preach it then you can go out there and do it. And you’ve got to be able to preach it before you can do it. Just being the chemistry, if I can teach one of my guys and they can listen to me, and if they can teach me and I can listen to them, I think we have a chance to be one of the best units.”

Tennessee has a lot of class diversity in their linebacker’s room. Of the 10 players currently playing at the position, Tennessee only has one redshirt junior, one junior, one redshirt senior, and one senior. It’s safe to say that the room skews on the younger side. But even with the gap in experience for some players, Inge has a fundamental belief that everyone in the room has the ability to teach one another.

“So, if a player can lead, when those players become the leaders of the team, when we can sit back and make sure that the coaches run the program and the players run the team, you know your culture is where it needs to be when it comes to you being able to compete for championships,” Inge continued on to say.

Check out William Inge’s teaching portion of The Juice below:

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