With Butch Jones having been dismissed Sunday morning, Tennessee AD John Currie picked defensive line Brady Hoke to take over the football program to finish the season. The Vols have to win out to qualify for a bowl game and host LSU and Vanderbilt to finish the season.
Monday, in place of Jones, Hoke met with the Knoxville media for the first time as interim coach. He deflected to answer many questions on his own status or recruiting moving forward, instead placing his focus on helping Tennessee finish the season strong.
Here’s a summary of what Hoke had to say:
Opening statements: We will coach our hearts out for these seniors. We hope the fans make it a great experience for the kids. They’ve had a tough year but they deserve that recognition. We will live in the present and prepare for LSU.
On whether his coaching style will be different, or is it the same now that he’s head coach? I was given the advice to be myself when I took over Michigan. I’m going to be who I am. I will tweak some things. I have to be who I am.
On the team meeting Sunday: It was a team meeting, I’m going to keep it at that. The reaction, whatever, that’s a football team deal.
Who will be the D-Line coach now? Nate Ollie has done a tremendous job. I have confidence in him. He will continue to work with me.
Injury update? I’ll get with you on injuries later in the week. We will talk about that later when I get more updated.
What went wrong this season? Those are things that we as a staff, everyone has a part in everything, but I don’t think that’s fair to comment on. A lot went right this season. Some games we didn’t play as well as we could have but 3 or 4 games that could have went the other way.
Do you point toward Florida and how they have fallen apart post-McElwain and say, let’s not be like them? No, not at all. I think there are 128 teams at this level. Each team is different, the players will meet with me today and we will have a heart to heart and go from there.
What did John Currie tell you about your opportunity moving forward? We had a good conversation. That’s about as much of it as I want to get in to. I was honored that he entrusted this to us. We just want to win for those seniors.
On the Vanderbilt recruiting weekend, what’s the status there? We will just see what happens.
Will you lean on Larry Scott for help in an interim role? Larry and Chico are both guys that have been interims. It’s new to me but at the same time, we have some really intelligent coaches on this staff. I think it’s good to share ideas. I have to run the program the way I would run a program.