This offseason, Tennessee was able to accomplish something LSU and Auburn failed to do by luring defensive coordinator Bob Shoop away from Penn State and head coach James Franklin. Shoop has stated the fact the Volunteers are not in rebuilding mode made the job attractive, but it turns out the current defensive staff also played a role in his decision.
CoachingSearch.com recently transcribed Shoop’s interview with Knoxville radio program Sports Animal 99 and the Vols’ new defensive coordinator broke it down in further detail.
“As much as the defensive staff was taking notes when I was talking, I was taking notes when they were talking,” Shoop said. “There was a mutual respect there. The nicest compliment any of the guys gave me after the interview was ‘We really liked that you didn’t come in and say, 'This is how we’re going to do it.'
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“That’s not my style of management. My style is check you ego at the door. It’s not my team. It’s our team. Let’s find a way, at the end of the day, we’re all going to get the credit.”
Shoop also discussed how change can prove to be the best thing for everyone, even for successful staffs who have accomplished much already.
“Coach Jones and I talked about this after I spent the day here. We both used the word ‘invigorating,’” Shoop said. “Sometimes, when you’ve been with a group of people for so long, the positive is the routine, but the negative is the routine. To talk football and hear a different way of doing things, from the way the team practiced to the scheme to the terminology, that was really cool.
“I was anxious at first, but once I got in there and started talking football, it reinvigorated me. I wouldn’t have taken the job if I felt any other way. At the end of the day, Strip, Thig and Willie, we hit it off well, and there’s great chemistry.”
If Shoop can simply help Tennessee close out games better in 2016, he’ll be well worth his $1.1 million price tag. With nine in-state games in 2016 and realistic expectations to win the SEC East heading into an offseason, adding a defensive mind like Shoop could be the final piece to Butch Jones’ rebuilding job on Rocky Top.