2. High regard for current SEC assistants who once coached for Vols
While Butch Jones received enough evidence of subtle shade at SEC Media Days, the story was totally different for other former coaches with the Vols. Tennessee football has former assistants and head coaches spread out across the conference.
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Jones may be one of them, but there are two other notable assistants who received praise throughout the week. And then there is a former head coach on Rocky Top who also earned some very high praise.
But the first guy is a build off the last post. The subtle shade for Jones ties into praise for one of the former assistants, and he is Mississippi State Bulldogs defensive coordinator Joe Moorhead. While defending his time at UT, Moorhead also had high praise for Shoop. Here’s what he said.
"“Bob is incredibly intelligent. He takes input from his guys. In his only kind of unique Ivy League way, he does a great job communicating with the kids, putting the plan together, and he dials it up pretty well on game day.”"
Meanwhile, Nick Saban lured Charles Kelly, last year’s safety coach for UT, to the Alabama Crimson Tide. He gave typical coach speak in his praise for Kelly, calling him a “wonderful addition” to the staff and touting his relationship with players.
Texas A&M Aggies head coach Jimbo Fisher took it to another level with one of his assistants, running backs coach Jay Graham. A former UT running back himself, Graham coached for Derek Dooley. And Fisher said he’d be a head coach one day.
Then there’s Dooley himself. Dooley has seen his status rise as offensive coordinator for the Missouri Tigers, and transfer quarterback Kelly Bryant only helped that this week at the event. He noted Dooley was a big reason for his transfer.
"“He is not going to call anything where he is comfortable and the quarterback is not comfortable. He is going to cater to you, and just knowing that, I have that in my pocket where I can go into a meeting and say ‘I like this’ or ‘I don’t like this, so let’s do this’, and he is going to cater to you. That’s just been one of the biggest things that I like about playing for him so far.”"
Simply put, outside of Jones, the former UT coaches across the SEC got a lot of love at SEC Media Days. And that certainly stands out, as you have to question all the reasons some of them didn’t work out on Rocky Top and worry if it means anything for the future.