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Posted April 4, 2009

UTCC Day 1

I was lucky enough to attend the University of Tennessee Football Coaches' Clinic yesterday. No, I am not a coach, but I was informed to attend coaches' clinics to improve my scouting of NFL prospects and get a better feel for the game.

The day started out with Monte Kiffin speaking to about 400 high school coaches from all across the country at Thomas-Boling Arena on the UT campus. I knew how energetic and crazy Coach Kiffin was because I saw his press conference the day the Bucs drafted Gaines Adams.

The audience loved Kiffin's demeanor, as did I. He talks really fast and is a 24-year-old in a 69-year-old's body. The guy could coach for possibly another 10 years.

During his presentation, he dissected the Tampa-2 defense and we watched about 15 minutes of Buccaneer footage. MIKE linebacker Barrett Ruud was very impressive on film showing great instincts, fluid hips and athletic ability.

Remember how I said Monte was crazy? While he was showing Buc film, he would get really excited when Derrick Brooks would take on a block with force. He called this type of player a "slobberknocker" - and no I am not kidding. "WE NEED SLOBBERKNOCKERS ON OUR DEFENSE!" Kiffin exclaimed.

Later, Cato June on a weakside power lead knocked the ball out for a fumble and Kiffin hollered again, "THAT'S A CAPOFF! WHEN YOU HAVE SLOBBERKNOCKERS AND CAPOFFS ON YOUR DEFENSE, THEN WE REALLY GOT SOMETHING."

The audience laughed hysterically - it is impossible to translate Monte's passion, energy and hilariousness onto a Web page.

Monte Kiffin's Defensive Coaching Philosophy

I. Coaches must be great teachers - HAVE PASSION. "If you coach them to be a good football player, they will do whatever you tell them to do."

II. First rule to getting better - SHOW UP

III. Do you really care? - DON'T FAKE IT

IV. Discipline - Tell players what they need to hear; not what they want to hear.

V. Don't beat yourself

VI. Field - Totally organized. Do not waste time; key drills, be on it. Reps are necessary. VII. Need energy on the field - hustle drill to drill. "Coaches: keep your hands out of your pockets!"

VIII. Play physical - it is a contact sport.

IX. Quickness - Can't beat it. "Take quickness over size."

X. Hustle

XI. Play hard - play fast - play together.

Tampa 2 Notes

-Tampa-2 is a two-deep, 5-under zone. Cornerbacks are rolled up on WRs, two safeties have half-field coverage. MIKE has middle read.

-Corners jam, then they flip their left hip a.k.a. "exit."

- "Spill (pursue) ball to sidelines."

-"Sign of undisciplined teams is foolish penalties.

- Monte spoke VERY highly of new Tampa Bay head coach Raheem Morris.

Jim Chaney - Offensive Coordinator/Offensive Line Coach

Monte Kiffin was great, but no question it was Jim Chaney who stole the show. I talked to around 20 high school coaches and they all raved about Chaney's presentation. Chaney was an offensive coordinator at Purdue for nine seasons and an assistant coach with the St. Louis Rams for the previous three years.

Chaney is obviously an extremely smart guy. He was extraordinarily detailed � I just can't imagine an offensive coordinator in college football doing more of the little things and research than what Chaney reviewed. His presentation was over offensive management and game planning.

Chaney reviewed the coaching staff's responsibilities in developing the game plan, which was pretty interesting. For example, wide receiver coach Frank Wilson will do self-scouting and Tennessee's own offensive tendencies.

He continuously stressed exploiting the strengths and weaknesses of both your own offense and the opponents' defense. He told the coaches to rank your opponents levels of the defense on a 1-3 scale, and then they would be able to devise a game plan to exploit the weakest level(s).

Chaney takes no prisoners in play-calling. He wants his best offensive guard on his opponent's weakest defensive tackle to open up a big play.

The offensive coordinator's PowerPoint presentation was ridiculously detailed. Chaney would speak about different sets and at times I just lost him, but he was very entertaining and I learned a lot about what goes through a play-caller's mind before a football game and in the pre-call reads.

Chaney emphasized knowing the personality of the play-caller and team you are going up against. He said, "The only way to predict future behavior is past behavior." He said getting a feel for who a coach is, and not just in the football sense, can give you a huge edge on game day.

No doubt about it, if Chaney can get a big time quarterback in Knoxville he will win a national championship with this talented and hard-working coaching staff. He clearly knows what he is doing and seems to be extremely detailed, yet he always gets back to the roots of football. At times he is five steps ahead of the opponents' defensive coordinators.

If Tennessee doesn't have the best coaching staff in the country, then they are the second best. However, I still don't see this offense being productive based on what we all saw out of Jon Crompton last season.

Ed Orgeron � Asst. Head Coach/Recruiting Coordinator/Defensive Line

Orgeron was a very enthusiastic coach who is arguably now one of the best defensive line coaches in the country. Expect to see a very productive Tennessee defensive front next season. He raved about defensive end Chris Walker (6-3, 232) and says he will be a very good player.

Here are a few notes I took on Orgeron:

-When being reach blocked, a defensive lineman should use his hands and disengage violently.

-He emphasized how a coaching staff can only focus on their team, "Only you can block you," and said coaching your team is never about the opponent because it gives your players excuses.

-Orgeron stressed getting "vertical" when coming off the snap, and that means just getting straight up the field to wreak havoc in opponents' backfields.

-Orgeron's philosophy is he wants his players to go after the ball as opposed to the quarterback. His players are constantly drilled on stripping the ball from the quarterback when he is making his progression reads out of a 5- or 7-step drop.

Lance Thompson - Linebackers Coach

Thompson is clearly a solid position coach; he was very knowledgeable in his theories regarding practice drills and technique.

-A tip for all of you that scout college players. When watching a linebacker tackle, watch his inside leg and inside shoulder. A linebacker should step into the tackle with his inside foot as opposed to keeping it behind his outside foot. If your inside foot is behind a linebacker's outside foot, he loses his balance and is adept to being trucked by the ball-carrier.

-When stack and shedding, a linebacker needs to create space with his arms when placing his hands on the blocker's shoulders. You create space for two reasons: for play vision and to escape/rip.

Matt McGuire's Recent NFL Draft Blog Entries:

Analyzing Andrew Luck's Decision - 1/7
Luck vs. Locker - 9/15
Top 10 Quarterback Busts - 7/7
NBA Draft vs. NFL Draft - 6/27
Six Sophomores Who Need to Step Up - 6/2
Kentucky 2010 NBA Draft Prospect Blog - 6/1
Brett Favre Retirement Conditions - 5/30
2010 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year - 5/24
2010 NFL Power Rankings Tier - 5/21
2010 NFL Power Rankings - 5/18
NFL Mailbag: C.J. Spiller and Buffalo Bills Reaction - 5/14
LeBron James Game 6 Reaction - 5/14
The Buffalo Bills - 5/13
LeBron James: Celtic Pride - 5/13
The JaMarcus Russell Lesson - 5/11
Most Productive 2010 NFL Rookies - 5/6
Double Down - 4/30
2010 NFL Draft Observations and Telecast Blog - 4/26
2010 NFL Draft Grades: Day 3 - 4/25
2010 NFL Draft Grades: Rounds 1-3 - 4/24
2010 NFL Draft Grades: First Round - 4/23
2010 NFL Draft Trade Analysis - 4/23
Random Round 1 Thoughts and Analysis - 4/23
2010 NFL Draft Class Predictions - 4/22
2010 NFL Draft Trades - 4/21
Response to Mike Mayock's Redskins-Trent Williams Comment - 4/8
Teams Misevaluating Their Own Quarterbacks - 4/6
Where Will Jimmy Clausen Go? - 4/5
2010 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 Picks - 3/25
Gerald McCoy's Draft Range - 3/12
NFL Draft Picks Are Business Investments (Anthony Davis) - 3/11
Offense Matters - 3/9
Mel Kiper vs. Todd McShay Debate Revisited - 3/8
Taylor Mays - 3/3
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Quarterback Height (Jimmy Clausen) - 2/25
The Top Five Reasons the Redskins Won't Pass on Jimmy Clausen - 2/22
2010 NFL Draft: All-Overhyped and Underrated Teams - 2/18
Matt Ryan and the Rams - 2/17
Prospect Case Study: Tim Tebow - 2/11
2010 NFL Draft Offensive Grades - 1/20
Tim Tebow at the Senior Bowl - 1/14
Junior Quarterbacks/Jimmy Clausen - 12/29
2010 NFL Draft Prospect Updates - 12/21
The Michael Oher Lesson - 12/20
Cameron Heyward's Ceiling - 12/17
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2010 NFL Draft Mailbag - 10/28
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Mr. Overrated - 10/14
2010 NFL Draft Cursed? - 10/8
Conservative Carroll - 9/22
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Terrelle Pryor - NFL QB? - 9/15
Jay Cutler Trade Evaluation - 9/14
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