Recently-hired Tennessee Vols head coach Josh Heupel hasn’t officially announced any additions to his inaugural coaching staff at UT, but we already know a few names that will be on his offensive staff.
Alex Golesh is set to be the Vols’ offensive coordinator/tight ends coach. Joey Halzle will be Tennessee’s quarterbacks coach. And Glen Elarbee will be the offensive line coach. All three were on Heupel’s staff at UCF.
Before taking the job at Tennessee, Heupel hired Kodi Burns as UCF’s wide receivers coach and Matt Merritt as the Knights’ running backs coach.
Burns and Merritt will likely head to UT, too. Burns, who was previously Auburn’s wide receivers coach, should end up in that same role at Tennessee.
Merritt, however, may end up in an off-field role (Merritt was previously at James Madison…Heupel could be looking for someone with more FBS experience). If that happens, it means that Heupel will have an offensive on-field coaching position available.
I think it would be wise for Heupel to try to find a running back coach with strong recruiting connections. At the same time, he needs a coach that fits his offensive scheme.
Current Memphis running backs coach Anthony Jones would be a great option to fill this role.
Jones joined the staff at Memphis in 2017 under then-head coach Mike Norvell. The Tigers run an up-tempo offense that places an emphasis on getting their playmakers in space. It’s similar to what Heupel runs.
Schematically, Jones would fit on Tennessee’s staff with ease.
The recruiting connections, however, are what really make Jones an attractive option.
Jones is a Memphis native. He went to high school at Westwood in Memphis. Jones, who played college football at UT-Chattanooga, was also the head coach at Westwood and Cordova, before joining Norvell’s staff.
There aren’t many college assistants who know the Memphis area better than Jones.
And if Tennessee is going to be successful, they need to recruit the Memphis area well (this is something that previous head coach Jeremy Pruitt actually did fairly well).
Jones has deep connections to Memphis high school football. He knows the coaches, the families, and the area. He would absolutely provide a recruiting edge for the Vols in Memphis.
Hiring Jones makes a lot of sense. This is a move that Heupel should strongly consider.
Featured image via UTAD