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More SEC Coaching Changes: UT Losing 2 Coaches To UW

Add another open coordinator spot to the list of SEC vacancies.  ESPN is reporting that Tennessee defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox and linebackers coach Peter Sirmon have both agreed to join the staff at Washington.

Wilcox — in his second year at UT — managed to lead the young, thin Vols to a Top 35 national ranking in total defense.  He and Sirmon both played football at Oregon.  Wilcox was the defensive coordinator at Oregon before joining Tennessee’s staff.

Derek Dooley is also in need of a replacement for Eric Russell, the Vols’ special teams coordinator and tight ends coach who left for Washington State last month.

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SEC Headlines – 4/11/11 Part Two

1.  Steve Spurrier is being positive about quarterback Connor Shaw’s so-so spring performance.  (Which is a change from how he’s handled Stephen Garcia’s past stumbles.)

2.  New Tennessee linebackers coach Peter Sirmon wants “conceptual learning” from his players.

3.  This writer doesn’t believe Vanderbilt did its new coach any favors by inking a deal to play at Ohio State in 2013.

4.  LSU defensive back Tharold Simon has arrived… and that’s one reason Les Miles likes his secondary.

5.  Coming out of spring, Tiger fans know that the O-line should be good, the secondary should be deep and talented, and the starting quarterback job still belongs to Jordan Jefferson.

More to come…

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Dooley Dismisses Ex-Vol Smith From Staff

As Tennessee prepped for its Music City Bowl date in December, defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox was rumored to be on the shortlist to join Mack Brown’s staff at Texas.  At the time, the rumor mill suggested that Wilcox was having some personality conflicts Tennessee defensive line coach Chuck Smith.

When all was said and done, Wilcox stayed at Tennessee.  But Smith isn’t.  In what the school called a mutual decision, the former Vol player is leaving the UT program to “pursue other career opportunities.”  I think we can do the math on what Derek Dooley might have done to keep Wilcox in Knoxville. reports that Dooley “has dismissed” Smith.

Smith will be replaced by linebackers coach Lance Thompson who will take over the D-line group.  Ex-NFL player Peter Sirmon will be promoted from grad assistant to linebackers coach.

“I am grateful for the personal investment, hard work and passion that Chuck contributed to our program this past year,” Dooley said in a statement.  “He is a dear friend to me, and more importantly, will always be part of the Tennessee family.”

Why such glowing words for a man who spent just one year on the UT staff?  Public relations, partly.

Smith was one of the first positive “gets” of the Dooley era in Knoxville.  Vol fans, thirsty for someone with a connection to their program in the wake of the Lane Kiffin disaster, latched on to the former Vol D-lineman who had been working as a consultant with the New York Jets before returning to Knoxville.

In addition, Smith and Dooley were high school teammates years ago in Georgia.

Don’t be surprised to see Smith go back into private business for himself, working as a pass rush consultant to players and/or teams.

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