Peter Sirmon became the newest member of the Tennessee staff when he was promoted during the winter to assistant coach in charge of linebackers.
Sirmon, 34, spent last season at Tennessee as a graduate assistant coach for the defensive staff, spending most of his time with UT's safeties. That proved to be an excellent match for the Vols, with Janzen Jackson earning a second-team All-SEC nod and Brent Brewer making great strides in his first season back from the professional baseball ranks.
Sirmon says his recent playing experience definitely contributes to his coaching success.
"I think anytime you have walked in the same shoes as the players, there's a level of communication and understanding. You're asking them to do things you know can be done and if things are difficult, you understand the problems they're having. It's easier to relate to them."
Sirmon brought a wealth of experience and knowledge to the Vols. The seven-year NFL veteran spent 2009 as a graduate assistant at Oregon, his alma mater.
Oregon won the Pacific-10 Conference title that year and played in the Rose Bowl after compiling a 10-2 regular season mark. Sirmon's coaching input helped the Ducks lead the Pacific-10 Conference in sacks that season with nearly three per game.
Prior to a stint with the Ducks, Sirmon served as coach for the linebackers and kickoff coverage teams at Central Washington. It was his first coaching position since retiring from the NFL.
The Wildcats compiled a 10-1 regular season record that year and advanced to the NCAA Division II football playoffs.
Sirmon's playing days saw the Wenatchee, Wash., native selected by the Tennessee Titans in the fourth round of the 2000 NFL Draft. He spent his entire seven-year career playing linebacker in Nashville.
An All-Pac-10 performer, Sirmon was a four-year starter and letterwinner at Oregon from 1996-99. During his time in Eugene, Sirmon was a part of 30 Ducks wins.
A teammate and roomate from his Oregon days was Justin Wilcox, Tennessee's second-year defensive coordinator.
"Justin and I have a really strong relationship," Sirmon says. "I think we can both talk frankly with each other and understand that it's work."
Sirmon and his wife, Lindsay, have four children: Jackson, 11; Presley, 9; Savanna, 8; and Sadie, 5.