The Tennessee Vols discovered in 1998 that you need more than one horse in the stable…
- Dave Clawson (40) has replaced David Cutcliffe (53), making the Vols 13 years younger at offensive coordinator.
- Latrell Scott (31) has replaced Trooper Taylor (38), making the Vols seven years younger at receiver coach.
- Jason Michael (29) has replaced Matt Luke (32), making the Vols three years younger at tight end coach.
- Stan Drayton (36) has replaced Kurt Roper (35), making the Vols one year older at running backs coach.
- The lone holdover from the 2007 offensive staff, line coach Greg Adkins, turns 40 on March 25.
The fact is, Tennessee fielded a relatively youthful offensive staff last fall. Four of the five assistants were under the age of 40, and the average age of the quintet was just 39.4 years. This year's offensive staff is even younger, however, checking in at 35.2 years per man.
Clearly, Tennessee ranks among the youngest offensive coaching staffs in college football heading into 2008. Based on what he saw in the weeks leading up to spring practice, however, Fulmer believes the new aides bring a youthful exuberance and rapport with the players that will provide significant benefits in the long run.
The head man specifically mentioned "the energy and the enthusiasm that they will bring to practice ... the communication between themselves and the players."
Compared to the '08 offensive staff, Tennessee's '08 defensive staff is stocked with grizzled veterans. Coordinator John Chavis is 51. Line coach Dan Brooks is 56. Ends coach Steve Caldwell is 52, and secondary coach Larry Slade turns 57 on April 6.
At an average age of 54 years, Tennessee's defensive staff is nearly two decades per man older than the Vols' offensive staff. That's quite a generation gap, but Fulmer isn't concerned.
"Every staff has its own dynamic," he said. "Every team has its own dynamic."
The 2008 staff – on offense, at least – is going to be dynamically young.