SEC: Chuck Smith

SEC lunch links

March, 4, 2011
Hitting the link(age) on a Friday, although the links are calling:

Smith won't be back with the Vols

February, 7, 2011
Chuck Smith was one of Derek Dooley's most popular hires last year among the fans.

But after just one season, Smith is no longer a part of the Tennessee staff, as Dooley announced Sunday night that the Vols and Smith had mutually agreed to part ways.

Smith was an All-SEC defensive lineman at Tennessee in 1991 and played nine seasons in the NFL. He and Dooley go back to their high school days when they were teammates at Clarke Central High School in Athens, Ga.

"I am grateful for the personal investment, hard work and passion that Chuck contributed to our program this past year,” Dooley said in a release. “He is a dear friend to me, and more importantly, will always be a part of the Tennessee family.”

Smith had taught and trained top defensive linemen as part of his Defensive Line Inc. business before coming to Tennessee for his first collegiate assistant job. He'd served as a pass-rushing consultant to Rex Ryan with the New York Jets the year before and had drawn rave reviews from the defensive linemen he'd tutored.

But there were rumblings before the 2010 season was complete that Smith might not be back for a second season, and it's also worth noting that Smith was more Dooley's hire and not defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox's hire. Wilcox was in play for the Texas defensive coordinator's job back in January, but chose to stay at Tennessee.

With Smith gone, Dooley announced that graduate assistant Peter Sirmon would be promoted to linebackers coach. Lance Thompson will shift over from linebackers to coaching the defensive line.

Sirmon worked with the Vols' secondary last season and played seven seasons in the NFL with the Tennessee Titans. He and Wilcox have been close friends since their playing days together at Oregon, and Wilcox is the one who brought Sirmon to Tennessee from Oregon, where he also was a graduate assistant.

Smith comes back home to Tennessee

February, 5, 2010
Derek Dooley has completed his Tennessee coaching staff with one of the Vols' own.

Chuck Smith, an All-SEC defensive end at Tennessee in 1991, has been hired to coach the Vols' defensive line. Smith was also a star defensive end for the Atlanta Falcons in the 1990s and played nine seasons in the NFL. After retiring from the NFL, he worked with numerous college and pro players as part of his Defensive Line Inc. firm.

Among his pupils: Albert Haynesworth, Shaun Ellis, Ray Lewis, Richard Seymour and Osi Umenyiora. Smith worked with the New York Jets this past season as an assistant defensive line coach and pass-rushing specialist.

There are nearly 60 NFL players over the last five seasons to whom Smith has personally taught, trained and mentored in the art of defensive line play. He and Dooley go back a ways. They played high school football together at Clarke Central High School in Athens, Ga.

"I’m just excited about this opportunity to be a part of a program that believes not only in winning championships but also having champions off the field,” Smith said. "Integrity always will be one of our goals."

The recruiting part to college football will be new to Smith, who's never previously recruited. But he insists that won't be a problem.

"This is my program. I played in it and think I can sell it as well as anyone," said Smith, who also previously served on Tennessee's athletics board.

Dooley had wanted Smith on his defensive staff for some time, but waited until he hired his defensive coordinator before finalizing anything. With Justin Wilcox aboard, Dooley and Wilcox officially interviewed Smith on Friday morning and closed the deal later in the day.

Dooley still trying to finalize staff

January, 26, 2010
New Tennessee coach Derek Dooley is still trying to finalize his defensive staff.

He’s swung and missed on a couple of big names for his defensive coordinator, most recently Clemson’s Kevin Steele, but one of the guys to keep an eye on now is North Carolina defensive coordinator Everett Withers.

It’s unlikely anything would happen until after signing day, but Withers has an impressive résumé and has been a defensive coordinator at three different schools. He’s headed up North Carolina’s defense the past two seasons and also coached defensive backs, but he was the defensive coordinator at Minnesota in 2007 and the defensive coordinator at Louisville from 1995-97. He's also coached in the NFL.

Dooley has also talked extensively with former Tennessee All-SEC defensive end Chuck Smith about joining the staff as defensive line coach.

Smith was on the New York Jets’ staff this past season and has worked with several players on pass-rushing skills and overall defensive line play since his retirement from the NFL. Even though Jets coach Rex Ryan said earlier this week that Smith was leaving to join the Tennessee staff, Smith said Tuesday that nothing was done and that Dooley would first hire a defensive coordinator.

That said, Smith is extremely interested in the job and thinks he could be an asset to his alma mater. Smith and Dooley played high school football together in Georgia.

The only glitch with Smith is that he hasn't recruited, but the former All-Pro with the Atlanta Falcons is convinced that he can sell Tennessee as well as anyone, having played in the program and remained in close contact with the university. At one point, Smith was a member of the school's athletics board.

Dooley has also talked to Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebackers coach Joe Barry about the coordinator job. Barry was previously the defensive coordinator for the Detroit Lions. He’s the son of former Tennessee offensive line coach Mike Barry.



Saturday, 10/4