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Tennessee Football: Vols new LB coach William Inge embracing unfamiliarity

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For the first time since his NFL stint with the Buffalo Bills in 2012, Tennessee Football head coach William Inge is not working with the Indiana Hoosiers or under Kalen DeBoer. Inge comes to the Vols after four years as DeBoer’s offensive coordinator, two with the Fresno State Bulldogs and two with the Washington Huskies.

Inge replaces Brian Jean-Mary, who just left for the Michigan Wolverines, as UT’s new linebackers coach. This is his first time coaching at an SEC program, but he acknowledged that Josh Heupel was a selling point for him, noting he is a huge fan of the system.

“Being able to see the things that he has done with his background and his record. And then, when we got to talking,” he said. “I think I knew that I could have a big impact here in the group with respect to my position, helping the defensive staff, the overall staff, helping our football team. And that was something that was important to me.”

Of course, coaching in DeBoer’s system, Inge, has experience dealing with the spread offense and an offense that runs tempo. He just helped a program built within that offense reach the national championship game, and his unit was an underrated part of that.

However, Heupel and Tennessee Football are a totally different beast with their tempo. That is no deterrent to Inge, though, who addressed the concern of coaching in Heupel’s system. Inge noted that defense will be fine if they always step onto the football field as if they are “firemen” there to put out a “five-alarm blaze.”

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“Sometimes the time of possession may be a challenge, but if your room is right, you build your defensive structure correctly, that just means more guys get to play,” he said. “You have to have more depth in your room, more depth at each individual position and more people to play.”

Obviously, the Vols’ defensive coordinator, Tim Banks, has embraced that system and is truly an underrated defensive coordinator as a result. Inge, whose career includes stints in Washington, California, Colorado, upstate New York, Ohio and Iowa, is coaching under Banks for the first time.

Banks was with the Penn State Nittany Lions, though, when Inge was with Indiana, so it’s not like they aren’t familiar with each other. In addition to a new defensive coordinator, Inge is responsible for a linebacker corps. that lost a key player in Aaron Beasley and is looking for new talent there.

“When you have youth, that’s something you can be able to use to develop,” he said. “Being able to get with them and trying different platforms for learning because at the end of the day, it’s our responsibility as the coaches to make sure that they are able to execute. When you have someone that we call ‘green and growing’ that means that they are young, assertive, and ready to emerge.”

Now, Tennessee Football does get Keenan Pili back, but Pili only played one game last year. Inge said the unit calls him “Uncle Grandpa” because of his experience. Whatever he brings to the table, there can be no doubt he’s in a good spot with Pili, a highly touted group of underclassmen and an underrated coordinator.

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