- Paul Kuharsky, ESPN Staff Writer
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The first significant person in coaching circles Jason Michael got the attention of was former University of Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer.
Michael, the new Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator, started out as a graduate assistant for Fulmer in 2003-04 and returned as an assistant in 2008.
The "Wake Up Zone" in Nashville asked Fulmer about Michael Tuesday morning:
"To call Jason Michael a bright young man would be grossly understating," Fulmer said. "He's a brilliant young man. I had some friends in Bowling Green initially and they were telling me about Jason working for them some in the offseason. And I had a chance to just meet him, by chance almost, and was super impressed by him.
"He was the quarterback for a national championship team there at Western Kentucky and we had a chance to visit. Almost immediately, I said, 'You know, we'll find a way to get you involved with our program some way.' So he came as a graduate assistant and did a great job.
"I always prided myself in turning the lights out when everybody else was gone. And he turned them off. He was a guy that was the last one there and making coffee in the morning during a great run that we had. Then when I had a chance to bring him back I brought him back as a full-time coach. He's really, really bright, a great communicator, I think the players will enjoy being around him. He's also a very tough-minded guy."
Fulmer also said Matthews had the right persona to work as a coordinator for a head coach in Ken Whisenhunt, who will be calling the plays.
"The head coach gets pulled away some," Fulmer said. "You have to have that guy that you trust that's basically an extension of you. During the game you can call the plays because there has been that continuity in the insertion and in the system."