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Former UT D-Line Coach Smith To Hold Press Conference Today

Former Tennessee player and defensive line coach Chuck Smith is returning to Knoxville today and will hold a press conference outside Neyland Stadium.  So why is that news?  Because Smith was fired from UT shortly after signing day amid rumors that he failed to get along with Vol defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox.

Smith is planning to tell his side of the story and — according to sources close to him — he wants to make it very clear that he did not quit on his alma mater.

As we pointed out at the time of his departure, there had been rumors swirling that Smith could not get along with at least two coaches on UT’s defensive staff, including his boss, Wilcox.  Wilcox had been a target of Mack Brown for Texas’ defensive coordinator position in December, but he elected to stay in Knoxville.  Many assumed that Wilcox stayed — in part — because Derek Dooley agreed to jettison Smith, who had actually been an old high school teammate of the Vols’ head coach.

How bad were things between Smith and Wilcox?  Some in the Knoxville media have heard that the two actually had a physical confrontation right around the time of Smith’s departure.  Questions about that alleged incident might just come up when Smith meets with the media today.

While many Vol fans praised the hiring of Smith, it was an unusual step for Dooley.  Smith had spent years in the media and running his own football camps prior to joining the UT staff.  He had also served for one season as a pass rush consultant for the New York Jets.  But he had never been an actual coach.

The lesson: Hiring a fiery ex-player might win over the fanbase, but it won’t mean much if the guy’s not cut out to be a college coach.

Of course, Smith probably sees things differently.  We’ll know more later today.




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