John Chavis evaluates upcoming Tennessee-Arkansas matchups, praises new Razorback coaches
If there’s a coach who could offer interesting insight into the upcoming Tennessee-Arkansas game, it’s former defensive coordinator John Chavis.
Chavis is the former DC at Tennessee, LSU, Texas A&M and most recently Arkansas. Chavis, who is assisting with a middle school team in Tennessee this season, told the Knoxville Quarterback Club on Monday that he believes the Razorbacks should have won four games in 2019.
As for the matchup with Tennessee next week, Chavis said, Tennessee is more talented than Arkansas and added, per Jimmy Hyams, “Those kids at Arkansas believe in what they’re doing now and that goes a long way.”
Chavis said the best defensive player he coached at UT was Al Wilson. Chavis is in his 42nd year of coaching, and would like to keep coaching for four or five more years. But if not, he’s had a great career.
About last season at Arkansas, Chavis said the staff “made the talent better” but he added “we underachieved as a defensive unit … and I don’t like saying that.”
Recalling some key seasons in his career, Chavis said if Charles Woodson could win the 1997 Heisman Trophy, UT’s Carl Pickens should have won it in 1989 because he scored as a receiver, returner and picked off 5 passes.
“Carl Pickens was the best football player in the America,” he said.
Chavis said LSU’s Tyrann Mathieu could have won it in 2011 if not for some off-field issues.
To defend the run-pass option offense, Chavis said is difficult, but you have to be able to play man coverage in the secondary to do so.
Chavis is not in favor of the one-time transfer rule proposed by the NCAA and he is not sure how the name, image and likeness proposal will be managed.
“I’m not saying (athletes) don’t deserve something but they’ve got a pretty good gig right now,” he said.
As for the SEC as a whole, Chavis noted that Alabama has gone 10 years without losing to an East Division team. He said Alabama and Texas A&M are the two best teams in the West, while Georgia and Florida are the two best in the East. He said Auburn isn’t as good as he thought Tigers would be.