Time will tell if this is good or bad.
We’re still figuring out the effects of Zach Azzanni leaving for the Chicago Bears this morning. In the meantime, let’s discuss some basic facts and numbers. 1. Butch Jones and Tennessee will replace six assistant coaches this offseason. 2. That’s the most since Derek Dooley replaced seven assistants prior to the 2012 season. 3. This is an unusually high amount of staff turnover for a nine-win team.
As a reminder, here’s how Tennessee’s staff changed this offseason.
- Offensive coordinator: Mike DeBord leaves for Indiana; Larry Scott hired
- Wide receivers: Zach Azzanni to Chicago Bears; unknown replacement
- Quarterbacks: Nick Sheridan to Indiana; Mike Canales hired
- Offensive line: Don Mahoney fired; Walt Wells hired
- Defensive line: Steve Stripling out; Brady Hoke hired
- Defensive backs: Willie Martinez fired; Charlton Warren hired
There’s also been a strength and conditioning program shift behind the scenes as well. It’s worth noting that, unlike Dooley’s last season, not all of these left on their own volition. All seven of Dooley’s assistants to leave left voluntarily; just four of Jones’s did. That’s better, though we should still have concerns about the amount of staff turnover prior to a critical season for Jones’ longevity at Tennessee.
While there is doubt about another coach leaving, matching any sort of Dooley-era record would be a very bad sign for Jones. It probably isn’t very good in the first place to have six leave. If they help Butch Jones become historically successful at Tennessee, fans should be all for it. However, they’ll have a lot of questions to answer over the next six months.