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Report: Tennessee O-Coordinator Bajakian On Bowling Green’s List

mike-bajakianThe coaching wheel is spinning at full speed these days and it’s not just head coaches who’re the subject of rumors.  Tennessee offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian is reportedly on Bowling Green’s list of possible replacements for departed head coach Dave Clawson.

Ironically, Clawson served one miserable season in Knoxville as the Vols’ O-coordinator before he himself landed the Bowling Green gig.  His one season in the SEC resulted in a 5-7 season and Phillip Fulmer’s forced resignation.  Since landing in Ohio as head coach — which he’d been at Richmond prior to his Tennessee move — Clawson has improved he Falcons’ record from year to year.  Last week his team won the MAC Championship Game and handed Northern Illinois its first loss of the season.

Bajakian is a graduate of Williams College in Massachusetts (also like Clawson).  He has bounced around quite a bit in his coaching career.  Since 2007 he’s been the offensive coordinator for Butch Jones, first at Central Michigan (in the MAC like Bowling Green) and then at Cincinnati.  In other words, he knows the conference and he has recruiting contacts in Ohio.

Clawson accepted the head coaching job at Wake Forest this week, potentially opening the door for Bajakian to move up.

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Tennessee’s Jones Sounds Ready For A QB Change

gfx - they said itTennessee suffered a 59-14 beatdown at Oregon on Saturday, the school’s worst loss in the modern era.  While the Vols were severely out-manned by the second-ranked Ducks — think “knife to a gunfight” — Tennessee was hindered further by its inability to get much of anything from the quarterback position.

Junior Justin Worley won a four-man competition to become the Vols’ starter this fall.  But Worley accuracy has been suspect, as has his arm strength.  Through three games he is 35-of-57 for 372 yards, five touchdowns and just one pick.  While the TD-to-INT ratio is good, that 6.5 yards-per-attempt average is not.  And that number was aided by one 51-yard pass against Oregon.

Making matters worse, Worley is not a runner.  Jones and offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian use a spread system.  Having a quarterback who can’t throw downfield and won’t run on a zone-read play is like trying trying to drive with your emergency brake engaged.

Jones sounded yesterday like he was ready to make something — anything — happen on offense:


“Just like any position in our program, it’s open.  Whatever quarterback has the best week of practice will be the starter for Tennessee when we play Florida.  If that means a freshman quarterback, that means a freshman quarterback.  We’ll add more quarterback run into our package this week.  We just need to find ways to generate big explosive plays.  If that’s Josh Dobbs running the read option or Riley Ferguson, that’s what we’ll do.”


In a perfect world, Tennessee’s coaches would allow Worley or redshirt freshman Nathan Peterman to take the lumps in coming weeks (Florida, South Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama) and then go to a freshman when the schedule figures to ease up a little.  But Jones might not have that option.

The only SEC squad with fewer plays of 10 or more yards is Florida, but the Gators have only played two games to Tennessee’s three.  Those squads will meet in Gainesville — perhaps with a new UT quarterback behind center — on Saturday afternoon.

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Tennessee Offensive Coordinator Mike Bajakian Talks Western Kentucky: “They Won’t Be Intimidated”

Tennessee offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Mike Bajakian meets the media to discuss the outlook for the Western Kentucky game.

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SEC Coaching News Roundup 2/20/2013

xs-os-football 1. Alabama makes the hiring of former Miami assistant Mario Cristobal official today.  He’ll be assistant head coach and coach the offensive.

2. Born and raised in Miami, Cristobal has both played and coached in the Miami area.  Could be a huge recruiting asset in South Florida.

3. Tennessee coach Butch Jones says his assistants are in demand.  Offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian had been approached by two SEC schools this offseason, and receivers coach Zach Azzanni has “turned down three SEC jobs this year.”

4. Arkansas coach Bret Bielema on how to practice during the season: “You have two heavy work days on Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday is shine and polish, Friday is a walk(through) and Saturday you play. If you try to do more than that in a week, players begin to break down.”

5. In 2014, new LSU offensive coordinator Cam Cameron will make $1.1 million - the same as defensive coordinator John Chavis.

6. Do John Calipari’s postgame comments Saturday after the loss to  Tennessee “give pause to any prep players thinking about being ’Cats”?

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New Tennessee Coaches Meet The Media



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