Tennessee football: 5 strengths with Vols revamped staff heading into 2019

KNOXVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 29: A general view of Neyland Stadium during the South Carolina Gamecocks game against the Tennessee Volunteers on October 29, 2011 in Knoxville, Tennessee. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
KNOXVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 29: A general view of Neyland Stadium during the South Carolina Gamecocks game against the Tennessee Volunteers on October 29, 2011 in Knoxville, Tennessee. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /
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Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images /

5. SEC experience

Tennessee football’s three new assistants, Jim Chaney, Tee Martin and Derrick Ansley, bring significantly more SEC experience than the ones who left had in Terry Fair, Charles Kelly and Tyson Helton. And that’s a huge plus.

Including last year, Fair would have entered this season with 3 years under his belt as an SEC assistant, two of which were as a grad assistant. Meanwhile, Kelly would have entered with two years of experience as an SEC assistant. Helton, meanwhile, would be entering just his second year.

Instead, Martin comes in for his third year of experience after two years with the Kentucky Wildcats. Ansley comes in for his ninth year, six of which were spent as a secondary coach with Kentucky or the Alabama Crimson Tide and two more as a grad assistant with the Tide.

Then there’s Jim Chaney. He comes to Knoxville with nine years of SEC experience, all as an offensive coordinator, and four of which were with the Vols themselves. Two more were with the Arkansas Razorbacks, and three were with the Georgia Bulldogs.

Now, Fair had the local experience of playing in the SEC and for the Vols. But Martin has that same experience. So there’s no question that Jeremy Pruitt significantly upgraded the SEC experience of his coaching staff with the changes in the offseason.

That may not seem like a huge deal, but it can be a factor in certain aspects. Coaches who know the lay of the land when it comes to recruiting and schematic advantages based on the talent they’re facing are big deals.