One of the most attractive things about being the Tennessee Vols‘ defensive coordinator is the level of autonomy that comes with the job.
When Vols head coach Josh Heupel hired Tim Banks away from Penn State earlier this month to serve as Tennessee’s defensive coordinator, he essentially hired a “second head coach”.
Banks is going to be the CEO of the defense. Heupel doesn’t spend much time on that side of the ball, which means it’s all on Banks.
One of the big questions surrounding Banks is what kind of defense will we see under his leadership in Knoxville.
There’s been plenty of speculation that we’ll see a base 4-3 defense (given Banks’ past history with 4-3 defensive fronts), but at this point, Banks isn’t set on a certain style of defense for the Vols.
The recently hired UT defensive coordinator spoke with Austin Price and Chris Low on “The Nation” on Sunday evening and was directly asked if he had a defensive preference.
“No I don’t,” replied Banks. “Just like most coaches, at least the good ones I’ve been around, you try to evaluate your personnel first and foremost and you obviously evaluate the conference — what the different offenses look like and then you cater it that way.”
“We want to be multiple, depending on what advantages we can get,” added Banks. “We may be four down or we may be three down….it just depends on what we’re seeing. The thing I can tell you is we’re going to play extremely hard, we’re going to play fast.”
I think this is absolutely the right approach by Banks.
Trying to fit players into a particular scheme usually doesn’t work — especially with a new coaching staff coming in and coaching players they didn’t recuit.
It’s best to fit the scheme around the talent a program has.
And it’s also wise to take into account what the offenses you’re playing against look like.
If a defense isn’t designed to defend against the offenses you’re going to see on a weekly basis, then it probably won’t be very effective.
Banks has a tall challenge ahead of him. Being a defensive coordinator for a head coach that runs an up-tempo offense isn’t easy.
But it sounds like Banks is up to the challenge. And he’s eager to get started, which is certainly a good sign for the future of Tennessee’s defense.
Featured image via PennLive.com