When defensive line coach Tracy Rocker left the Tennessee Vols’ staff earlier this winter it wasn’t an unexpected move.

Rocker was well-known as a solid position coach, but he left a little to be desired on the recruiting trail.

The former Auburn defensive tackle ended up leaving UT for a job on Will Muschamp’s staff at South Carolina.

While Rocker’s departure from Knoxville wasn’t surprising, the move that Vols head coach Jeremy Pruitt made to replace him was.

Pruitt hired Jimmy Brumbaugh to serve as Tennessee’s new defensive line coach.

When I first heard this news my immediate reaction was “who?!?!”

Tennessee Vols

I imagine plenty of Tennessee fans had the same reaction. Brumbaugh isn’t exactly a “big name” in the college football world. And he definitely wasn’t someone who was rumored to be on the way to UT.

But as usual, it ended up being a terrific move by Pruitt….at least so far.

Pruitt has displayed an incredible ability to hire and replace coaches. Bringing Derrick Ansley (defensive coordinator), Jim Chaney (offensive coordinator), and Tee Martin (wide receivers coach) to Tennessee were huge moves. But it’s not always the big names that pay off the most.

Linebackers coach Brian Niedermeyer (previously UT’s tight ends coach) was relatively unknown before he joined Pruitt’s staff in late 2017. Niedermeyer is now one of the top recruiters in college football.

Brumbaugh, who previously served as the co-defensive coordinator at Colorado and Maryland, appears to be a similar hire. So far, the players love Brumbaugh’s attention to detail.

That kind of attention to detail is what separates a good coach from a great coach. And it certainly sounds like Brumbaugh is someone who has the potential to be a great coach.

Of course, it’s not shocking that Pruitt nailed this hire. The man knows football. And he knows who can teach the game of football.

Recruiting is important. But like we saw during the Butch Jones era, players have to get developed once they get to college or it won’t matter how much five-star talent a program has — the wins won’t follow.

Featured image via Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports/247Sports


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