When the Tennessee Vols were undergoing staff change during the off-season, Chris Weinke was a coach that fans often brought up as an assistant that should be replaced.
Weinke, who served as Tennessee’s running backs coach last season, came to Knoxville after he spent two years as the Los Angeles Rams’ quarterbacks coach, followed by a short stint as an offensive analyst at Alabama.
Many assumed the reason for Weinke coming to UT was because of his recruiting connections at IMG Academy. Weinke served as the head coach at IMG Academy, a boarding school that regularly produces a lot of talent, from 2010-2014.
But after watching several IMG products commit elsewhere, it seemed like Weinke was expendable.
Weinke seemed even more expendable after some staff shuffling resulted in David Jonson moving to running backs. The hiring of Jim Chaney, who has served as a quarterbacks coach many times in his career, seemingly left Weinke without a spot on Jeremy Pruitt’s staff.
But Pruitt thinks enough of Weinke that he moved him to quarterbacks coach — an incredibly important position that can make or break an offense (Chaney isn’t coaching a position in 2019 — he’s simply serving as offensive coordinator).
Can Weinke coach quarterbacks?
Weinke is a former Heisman Trophy winning quarterback, so I’m pretty sure he knows a thing or two about playing the position. But being a good player doesn’t necessarily make someone a good coach.
Unfortunately, when it comes to breaking down Weinke’s abilities as a quarterbacks coach, there isn’t a lot of information to use. His two years with the Rams didn’t go very well, but he wasn’t exactly in a great situation either. Nick Foles, Case Keenum and a rookie Jared Goff were his quarterbacks. And let’s not forget that Jeff Fisher was the head coach — not exactly a recipe for success.
“You have to be a great leader. It’s probably the most important aspect of playing the quarterback position.”
— Tennessee Football (@Vol_Football) April 26, 2019
The fact that Pruitt spent a year around Weinke at Alabama is probably the biggest sign that Weinke is an above average coach. By now, Pruitt can easily recognize what makes a good coach and what makes a poor coach. He’s put together one of the best coaching staffs in the SEC at Tennessee, so it seems unlikely he’d take a flier on Weinke. I’m convinced that Pruitt believes Weinke is a high quality quarterbacks coach.
Recruits seem to be convinced, too.
Drake Maye, a four-star 2021 pro-style quarterback from Cornelius, NC, told VolQuest recently “I think the world of coach Weinke”. Maye added “He’s the best of the best…..it would be awesome to have a coach like that”.
Maye, the brother of UNC basketball star Luke Maye, is rated as the No. 3 player in the state of North Carolina and the No. 5 pro-style quarterback in the nation.
Suffice it to say, he’ll be a highly sought after 2021 recruit.
If Weinke is making that kind of impression on one of the top quarterbacks in the country, then I’d say he’s absolutely worth having on Tennessee’s staff.
Of course, Weinke will have to prove he can close the deal when it comes to recruiting. And he’ll have to prove he can develop quarterbacks at the collegiate level.
But for now, I think Weinke deserves the benefit of the doubt.
After all, Pruitt has proved, via his actions, that he wants the best assistant coaches in the country on his staff.
He obviously feels Weinke is one of those coaches.
Featured image via 247Sports