The Tennessee Volunteers had one of the worst defenses in college football last season. Despite showing promise on offense, a large part of the team’s misfortune was due to an inability to stop opposing teams.
Defensive coordinator Sal Sunseri was fired after just one season at Tennessee. His scheme was regarded by many as complex, but seemed to confuse his own players much more than opposing offenses.
With the hiring of Butch Jones, the Volunteers have also gained the services of John Jancek, who served as Jones’ defensive coordinator at Cincinnati. Jancek’s defense finished sixth-best in the Big East last season and finished sixth and seventh respectively in 2011 and 2012.
However, it is his SEC background that should leave Vols fans optimistic. Jancek coached at Georgia from 2005 through 2009. He served as the linebackers coach for four years before being named the co-coordinator in 2009.
While serving as the co-coordinator, Jancek and the Bulldogs finished seventh in the SEC in total defense. Georgia won 48 games, an SEC Championship and two BCS appearances while finishing in the top-10 three times during the span in which Jancek held a defensive position with the team.
However, he will have a mighty task at hand when trying to revive one of the worst defenses in Tennessee football history.
A.J. Johnson served as one of the few bright spots for the Vols defense last season. However, there isn’t much else positive to speak of the UT defense after.
Tennessee should show improvement based on the logic that they really can’t do any worse. Realistically, however, an improvement is expected as they return many starters who now possess big-game experience and maturity.
One would expect to see an improved Tennessee defense this season under Jancek, which may be a necessity for his job security based on the short tenure of Sunseri.