Given our recent passion for coaching turnover, the transition from Mike Bajakian to Mike DeBord has been relatively quiet. At any major program a new offensive or defensive coordinator is usually the lead question coming into a new year. But there's so much positive momentum and hype surrounding Tennessee right now, I feel like some fans may have even forgotten such a high-level change was made.
It's the quiet Butch Jones was going for here, which is often the opposite of what we see in a hire. New coordinators are often brought in to do something different than the old guy, something more exciting or more in fashion. Instead the Vols got older in both age and school, with an emphasis on not changing. So while there was initial disappointment when the Vols didn't make a noisier hire back in February, the ol' "trust the man in charge to be in charge" standby once again quickly won the day for Butch, and it's been mostly crickets on DeBord ever since.
It will, however, get noisy this fall, in either praise or blame. It's hard for us to fully judge what Bajakian did considering what he was working with for much of his time in Knoxville. But two things are clear for Tennessee's offense: they want to go faster, and they want more big plays.
Last year the Vols ran 75.1 plays per game and finished 30th nationally in total snaps. It was a vast improvement over 2013, when Tennessee ran just 67 plays per game and finished 108th in total snaps. But playing faster didn't always mean playing better: the Vols still had just 4.93 yards per play, 108th nationally and better than only Vanderbilt in the SEC.
Josh Dobbs was at the helm for Tennessee's three most productive outputs - South Carolina (6.79 ypp), Kentucky (6.39), and Iowa (6.32) - but Tennessee's efficiency was most impressive against the Hawkeyes. In building a 42-7 lead, the Vols did the following:
- 9 plays, 80 yards, 3:29, TD
- 5 plays, 67 yards, 1:41, TD
- 1 play, 49 yards, 0:13, TD
- 8 plays, 62 yards, 3:23, TD
- 3 plays, 2 yards, 1:24, punt
- 9 plays, 75 yards, 3:22, TD
- 5 plays, 24 yards, 1:47, punt
- 9 plays, 75 yards, 3:13, TD
- TOTAL: 49 plays, 434 yards, 42 points, 8.8 yards per play, 2.5 quarters