- Advertisement -

Tennessee DC Tim Banks’ departure would be a massive hole to fill for the Vols

- Advertisement -

Tennessee’s football history is overflowing with coaches that have donned orange at an early age and worked their way up through the program to become coaches at their alma mater. That creates a relationship between fans and coaches and, more importantly, a sense of loyalty between the school and its coaches. Those days are likely gone forever, which could lead to a key member of Tennessee’s coaching staff headed elsewhere.

Defensive coordinator Tim Banks has become an intriguing commodity for schools looking for a head coach because of a unique set of circumstances. First, Banks has been a good coach during his three-year tenure as the Vols’ defensive coordinator. Second, he could be even better than what the world has seen considering the Vols are built around a up-tempo offense that keeps it’s defense on the field for an excruciatingly long amount of time. Therefore, Banks may actually be a great coach; we just don’t know it yet.

While the Vols’ weren’t quite as good overall this season as they were in 2022, some would argue that Tennessee’s defense took a massive step forward defensively. Well, at least a significant step – and that’s worth something. The Vols were 11th in the SEC in total defense in 2022. The Vols were fifth this season. That’s a testament to what Banks had done in the face of adversity, albeit well planned out, with an offense that thinks two-minute drill with 60 minutes on the clock.

- Advertisement -

Tennessee’s defenders don’t just tire out during games. They often have to match the tempo of their offensive counterparts in practice throughout the week, which is up-tempo as well. Moreover, if Tennessee head coach Josh Heupel has to decide to spend some NIL cash on a quarterback or a safety, you can bet he’s going for the offensive player.

All of that is what makes Banks’ job so challenging. Tennessee’s defense will always be second fiddle to Heupel’s offense, which could also be a factor in Banks wanting to blaze his own trail.

Tennessee used to have coaches that stayed for decades, such as head coach Phillip Fulmer, offensive coordinator David Cutcliffe and defensive coordinator John Chavis. Some fans decried such hiring practices as “The Good ‘Ole Boy Network” in the most derivative way possible. That network is long gone. When Tennessee fired Fulmer in 2008, Tennessee stepped into the business of college football. Suddenly, the Vols had to hire the right coach based off of an astute evaluation and the ability to land a top-tier coaching talent. Well, we all saw how that played out. Finally, the Vols seem to be on to something after a disastrous run of coaching failures.

- Advertisement -

Banks, who has reportedly been interested in becoming the head coach at Middle Tennessee State, was born in Detroit and has coached in the northeast and midwest. Other than the positive vibes he may have gotten since he’s been at Tennessee, there are no significant ties between Banks and the Vols. No one would begrudge him for leaving to become a head coach at another school and he wouldn’t feel nearly as emotionally tied to Tennessee as his predecessors were in the 1990’s and 2000’s. So what if Banks does leave for another coaching job, as he almost certainly will one day in the future? Where do the Vols go hunting for their next defensive coordinator when they need to? That’s when things get dicey.

Tennessee, led by Heupel, will have to find a coach that is willing to accept sitting at the kids’ table. Will Heupel target a coach like Banks, who utilizes multiple blitzes, twists and stunts to create big plays at the risk of allowing big gains or would Heupel like something more conservative on defense? I’m not betting on the latter, which is what makes the possibility or replacing Banks so difficult. Heupel will be looking for a coach that isn’t ego driven, is aggressive and unique and has proven himself at a high level. That’s a lot to ask for. Times have changed since the “Good ‘Ole Boy Network” and they haven’t gotten any easier, especially if Banks leaves the Vols.

- Advertisement -

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest Podcast

- Advertisement -

More Podcasts

- Advertisement -