March 5, 2009
Spring Practice Central
A new era of Tennessee football begins Tuesday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. at Haslam Field as the Vols open their 2009 spring practice. The practice will mark the UT debut of head coach Lane Kiffin, who at 33 now stands as the youngest head coach in major college football.
After his hiring on Dec. 1, 2008, Kiffin assembled one of the most impressive assistant coaching staff's in recent memory, and the group is anxious to hit the field with the 2009 Volunteers.
His father, Monte, takes over as Tennessee's defensive coordinator after 26 brilliant seasons in the NFL, the last 13 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Kiffin was the longest tenured defensive coordinator in the NFL and, as developer of the Tampa Cover 2 defense, is generally considered one of the modern era's best defensive minds.
The Vols also added Ed Orgeron of the New Orleans Saints (and formerly head coach at Mississippi) as assistant head coach, defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator; Jim Chaney from the St. Louis Rams as offensive coordinator; Lance Thompson from Alabama coaching linebackers; Frank Wilson from Southern Mississippi coaching wide receivers; Willie Mack Garza from North Dakota State coaching defensive backs; Eddie Gran from Auburn coaching running backs; James Cregg from the Oakland Raiders coaching the offensive line and tight ends; and David Reaves from South Carolina coaching quarterbacks.
This group is charged with the task of returning the Vols to the top of the Southeastern Conference, and this work begins with a pair of non-contact practice dates Tuesday and Thursday sandwiched around Tennessee's annual Pro Timing Day on Wednesday. On Friday evening, Tennessee's first contact practice will be open to the public.
Following UT's spring break March 16-20, Tennessee resumes work with three-straight weeks of practice prior to the Dish Network Orange & White game on Saturday, April 18 at 3 p.m. at Neyland Stadium.
Another spring event of note, the Tennessee Coaches Clinic featuring keynote speaker Mike Tomlin of the Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers, is scheduled for April 2-4.
Tentative Spring Practice Schedule
Practice Days: March 10, 12, 13, (Spring Break) 24, 26, 28, April 2, 4, 7, 9, 11, 14, 16
Pro Timing Day - March 11
Tennessee Coaching Clinic - April 2-4
Dish Network Orange & White Game - April 18 at 3 p.m.