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5 things you should know about new Vols OL coach, Walt Wells

Walt Wells! That’s a person.

Tennessee jettisoned Don Mahoney to the crap pile yesterday, promoting Walt Wells from within to be the new offensive line coach. We’ve got answers to your questions about Wells below.

1. Wells was the Quality Control coach for the offensive line in 2016.

For better or for worse, Walt Wells held this position for Tennessee last season. The line reached war crime levels of offensiveness at times, though that may be due to previous position coach Don Mahoney failing to develop players properly. I’ve heard that Wells worked a lot with Drew Richmond throughout the season. Richmond’s level of play increased quite a bit down the stretch. One would hope that carries over to the rest of the line.

2. Wells’ past stops include Eastern Kentucky, USF, Western Kentucky, Cumberland, and Smyrna High School.

Smyrna! I’m so happy! Smyrna is slightly over an hour from where I grew up and no one ever talks about Smyrna. So many people from there have thin mustaches. It’s incredible. Anyway, Wells’ last major job was as the Offensive Coordinator at USF in 2013. He was fired after the Bulls went 2-10. Well…that’s a thing! He coached Western Kentucky’s offensive line from 2003-2012, serving as the Offensive Coordinator in 2009. That year, WKU went…0-12. Well, uh, hey! They had room to go up.

3. Wells is a Nashville native and has extensive experience recruiting the Middle Tennessee area.

Wells is from Nashville, played at Austin Peay, got his B.S. at Belmont and his M.S. at Cumberland. He knows Tennessee incredibly well. Tennessee’s ability to recruit the mid-state slipped a bit in 2016. Perhaps Wells can get it back to ideal norms.

4. Wells has never been a position coach for a Power Five team.

This can be either a positive or a negative depending on how deeply you view relevant experience as a qualifier for a new job. I personally care a lot more about someone’s potential rather than their experience, though one can tie to the other. Basically, the Walt Wells hire is a mild experiment that could work very well or not at all.

5. He is the fifth new assistant for Tennessee in 2017.

He’ll join Larry Scott (OC), Mike Canales (QB), Brady Hoke (DL/AHC) and Charlton Warren (DB/STC) as people entering Tennessee or changing jobs. I’ve heard that staff changes may not be done, too. We’ll see on that. The last time this many jobs changed hands was prior to Derek Dooley’s final season, when he hired seven new assistant coaches. Again, it’s up to you if that’s a good or a bad thing.

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