KNOXVILLE - Tennessee football's coaching staff has gone through many changes since the Vols last took the field. Many positions will have new leaders, including defensive line, offensive line and wide receivers.
Former Michigan head coach and Oregon defensive coordinator Brady Hoke will be running the show on the defensive line. The last time Hoke coached just one position was in 2002 on the Wolverines defensive line.
"You get a little chance to focus back into your world and what you're doing," said Hoke.
How does the coach describe his style?
"I think detailed," said Hoke, "passionate, I think, emotional and, I think, a pretty good teacher."
Hoke replaces Steve Stripling, who coached the defensive line since Butch Jones' arrival in 2013. Stripling now works as the director of football program development.
Hoke said he plans on making use of the experience and relationships Stripling has with his new players.
"Strip knows these guys deeper and a little bit more than I do, I'm working at it. So having Strip around, in a lot of ways, has been great. When I first got here, that's the first guy I went to."
On the opposite end of the ball, Walt Wells may be in a new position as offensive line coach, but he's not new to the program. Wells signed on in spring of 2016 as an offensive quality control assistant.
"It's always great to be on the field," said Wells, "I'm looking forward to getting back out there and not having to chart and carry a clipboard."
Wells isn't shy about the attitude he wants his players to have.
"I want to get the most athletic players on the field that know what to do and can get there the quickest, the fastest and most violently."
Wells said he wants to help get the University of Tennessee back to the top of the Southeastern Conference. A big part of that, according to Wells, will be embracing competition.
"You're playing in the SEC, all these guys want to play in the NFL. You go to the SEC, you're expected to go to the next level," said Wells. "We have to go out and find the best five available that's going to come off the ball, hit somebody in the mouth and get some movement up front - and protect the passer."
And on the outside of the field, Kevin Beard is the man in charge of helping to turn Tennessee back into "Wide Receiver U."
"I think it's, just like they say, building one brick at a time. Just taking it one day, situation after situation."
Beard knows a thing or two about catching the football. He was a wide receiver with the University of Miami, racking up 900 receiver yards, 5 touchdowns and a national championship during his time with the Hurricanes. Beard worked as a wide receiver coach there as well in 2015.
While Beard hasn't had much time to meet with the players, he's excited for what he sees from the position group.
"At the end of the day, I know they want to compete. They want to be great and they want to get better."
"Coach Z did a great job, putting a great tool belt together for them, and all I want to do is just add on to the tool belt and win games in the process."
Beard also has a relationship with new Tennessee offensive coordinator, Larry Scott. Both Scott and Beard worked on the Miami staff in 2015, when Scott was named interim head coach.
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