Vols' Coaches Praised By Super Bowlers

Friday, February 1, 2013 - by Jason Yellin, UTSports.com
NEW ORLEANS -- "The times I have talked to Butch, I have been very impressed.

"He's a great recruiter and great offensive mind.

"

Those are some striking comments from one coach about another, but when you consider they come from a coach who has led his team to the Super Bowl, that makes them even more powerful.

Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh spoke about new Tennessee head coach Butch Jones at Super Bowl Media Day at the Superdome earlier this week.

An Ohio native, Harbaugh has gotten to Jones over the years through coaching clinics. He became more familiar with him when Jones coached in Harbaugh's home state, while leading Cincinnati to two conference titles in his three years with the Bearcats.

Jones also made a major impression on a two-time Pro Bowler who will be playing in the Super Bowl. Joe Staley was a 49ers' first-round draft pick out of Central Michigan in 2007. He got to know Jones who took the reigns at CMU that same year, after Staley had finished his playing career under Brian Kelly.

"Butch is an awesome person," said Staley. "I talked to him a lot when he was at Central (Michigan). He's a super great guy, very fiery, very intelligent football coach. I know he's going to do great at Tennessee. I'm real happy to see him have the success that he's had."

Several other new Tennessee coaches received high praise from players they coached in college as they played a vital role in helping them reach the NFL. Those Super Bowlers spoke about the impact some of the new men in orange made on their careers.

Dannell Ellerbe of the Ravens played for both Vols' defensive coordinator John Jancek and secondary coach Willie Martinezwhile at the University of Georgia.

"I appreciate all of the things (Jancek) instilled in me," said Ellerbe, who made the Ravens as an undrafted free agent in 2009 and racked up 92 tackles this season.

"(Jancek) made me a tough player and I thank him for that. He always pushed me harder and he always told me about my talent. He made me accountable for everything. It was awesome playing for him."

Along with Ellerbe, 49ers converted tight end Demarcus Dobbs played at Georgia working with Jancek on Martinez on the defensive side of the ball. While with the Bulldogs, Dobbs played both linebacker and defensive line before switching to the offensive side of the ball in the pros.

"Coach Jancek was an enthusiastic coach," said Dobbs, who has played in 12 games in each of the last two seasons with San Francisco. "He was the type of coach that would give you an opportunity. He was a guy that really tried to push you to get to the next level and to get to your full potential."

Martinez was similarly motivational for Dobbs.

"Coach Martinez is a hard-nosed guy," said Dobbs, who had 78 tackles and 41 quarterback pressures playing under Jancek and Martinez. "He wanted you to be the best at your craft. He didn't let you slack for one moment. That's what guys took from him and respected him for that. He wanted you to be the best you can be."

Tennessee's linebackers coach Tommy Thigpen was a driving force for two members of the Ravens in helping them reach that next level. Both linebackers Josh Bynes and Michael McAdoo are thankful for Thigpen's honesty and belief in their skills.

"(Thigpen's) tough and he's going to be hard on you, but at the same time he gets you to understand the game and how it's supposed to be played at your position," said Bynes, who played for Thigpen at Auburn.

"He worked with the linebackers and the defensive backs and he would make sure we were on the same page when it came to coverage so we would have better chemistry when we were out there."

McAdoo played under Thipgen while at North Carolina.

"Coach Thig was a great dude with the relationship that he had with the players," said McAdoo. "We could reach out to coach Thig, he could relate to us, because he had been there before. He had been in the same shoes as we had, as he played the game."

Bynes said Thipgen was always direct with the players and they appreciated that.

"He never sugar-coated it, because you can't sugar coat life," said Bynes, who captained Auburn to the 2010 National Championship. "He would be real with you, let you know how things were up front.

"The SEC is just like playing in the NFL. It's tough, it's hard, it's fast it's physical."

Coaches help raise the level of expectations for players. On Sunday, they will play for football's ultimate prize on Sunday. And they are grateful for that.


PHOTOS: Boys' Tennis At Spring Fling

McCallie's Phillips, Baylor's Parker Win State Track Titles

MURFREESBORO -- McCallie had one individual state track champ on Friday here at the Dean A. Hayes Track and Soccer Stadium and one relay win as the Blue Tornado finished in fourth place with 63.5 points. Trel Phillips had a best effort of 49 feet, 10.5 inches to take first place in the shot put while teammate Jay Roberts claimed fourth with a best of 47-10.75. The 400-meter ... (click for more)

City Applying For Federal Grant To Extend River Trail To Moccasin Bend In $2.23 Million Project

The city is applying for a $1.6 million federal grant that would be a key part of the funding needed to extend a trail by the Tennessee River from Renaissance Park to Moccasin Bend. The city is seeking an Eastern Federal Highway Division grant to go along with $234,260 of city funds. The state portion would be $259,692.  Grants from the Lyndhurst and Benwood Foundations ... (click for more)

Flora Tydings Selected As Chattanooga State’s Next President

Flora Tydings is expected to be named the next president to lead Chattanooga State Community College pending approval by the Tennessee Board of Regents at a special called meeting next Wednesday. The board will meet at 9:30 a.m. CDT at the TBR System Office in Nashville. Included on the agenda is TBR Chancellor John Morgan’s recommendation for Dr. Tydings to replace Interim President ... (click for more)

Don't Make A Mockery Of Memorial Day - And Response

We're told Memorial Day is the day to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice in order that we, as Americans and others around the world, might live free, unshackled (invisible or otherwise) and without oppression. But how is that so when so many in America continue to be denied those freedoms? Others whose family and friends made the ultimate sacrifice? Their surviving families ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: A Great Orthopedic Success

Mark Freeman, the chief of orthopedic surgery at Erlanger Hospital, shared a dazzling look at our area’s Level One Trauma Center Friday morning. Yet, as he described the dramatic changes that have occurred in just the past 12 months, the promise of what will happen within the next year was even more appealing. Believe this, our flagship hospital is getting well in a hurry. “If ... (click for more)