Tyson Helton’s one year stint as the Tennessee Vols’ offensive coordinator probably won’t be described as “smooth” anytime soon.
Helton, who was a first time play caller on Jeremy Pruitt’s inaugural staff at Tennessee, dealt with an offense that was severely limited because of a porous offensive line.
While some of the offensive failures were blamed on the aforementioned offensive line, there were plenty of questionable play calls from Helton that often sent Vol nation into a tizzy.
Prior to Helton leaving Tennessee to be the head coach at Western Kentucky, there were rumors that Pruitt wanted to move in a new direction with the offense. There were also rumblings that Helton didn’t exactly love working under Pruitt, who can be a very demanding coach.
But if Helton was unhappy at all during his time in Knoxville, he’s not making those feelings public. In fact, he recently gave Pruitt and UT a glowing review in an interview with The Athletic.
Helton told The Athletic that he “loved every minute working with Coach Pruitt”. He called Pruitt a “tremendous coach” and added “I wanted to experience that [Saban] coaching tree, and there was no better guy to do from than Coach Pruitt. I thoroughly enjoyed it.”
The former USC quarterbacks coach also added “I have a special place in my heart for the University of Tennessee”.
It’s very smart on Helton’s part to keep any dissension between him and Pruitt out of the public eye.
As we’ve seen over the years, landing a coaching gig in college football is mostly about connections.
And I seriously doubt that Helton will be the head coach at Western Kentucky 7-8 years from now. He will either fail to get the job done there and get fired, or he will do an excellent job and another program will come calling for his services.
Either way, he would be a fool to burn a bridge with Pruitt, Tennessee and the other coaches on staff. At some point in the future, one of those connections will come into play for Helton. And he’ll be glad he didn’t ruin a relationship.
It’s refreshing to see a coach like Helton just not work out at UT, but still have the classiness to publicly praise everything about his experience in Knoxville.
Featured image via Knox News