KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — It’s Larry Scott’s time.
It’s his time to coordinate a Power 5 offense – and his first time as an offensive coordinator will be in college football’s most grueling conference.
Scott played as an offensive lineman at South Florida, and he also coached tight ends, the offensive line and running backs at his alma mater. He later coached tight ends for the Miami Hurricanes and became interim head coach following Al Golden’s dismissal.
Butch Jones brought the well-rounded coach and recruiter to Rocky Top last season to coach tight ends. Now, Jones has promoted Scott to be his offensive coordinator, replacing Mike DeBord, who held the position for the past two seasons. Jones now has his third offensive coordinator in his five-year Tennessee tenure as Mike Bajakian held the position in 2013-2014.
Scott insists he is ready.
“When you get out there, it’s kind of like natural instincts take over,” Scott said after a recent practice. “Just getting back on the grass and being a football coach.”
Coaching comes natural and the promotion to oversee the Vols’ offense does not phase the recently turned 40-year-old coach on the rise.
“You’re doing what you were kind of bred to do,” he said. “You get back out on the field and it’s kind of the natural atmosphere of coaching and that’s where you want to be. It’s working hand-in-hand with the other coaches and the players to reach the common goal.”
That common goal is spread around new faces on the coaching staff and roster. Mike Canales joins Tennessee’s staff as quarterbacks coach, Walt Wells has been promoted to offensive line coach and Kevin Beard has been hired to coach wide receivers. Robert Gillespie stayed on staff as the running backs coach and Scott will continue to coach tight ends on top of being offensive coordinator.
With a coach on the rise, like Scott is, comes questions of what to expect from the first time play-caller.
“I think what they’re going to get is the same guy every day,” he said. “They’re not going to get a guy that is coming in with distractions and those things. We’re going to be consistent, steady fast and do things the right way.
“We’re going to be detailed and I’m going to be accountable. We’re going to be tough and we’re going to do it everyday with a high level of consistency.”
His experience of playing as an offensive lineman, along with coaching numerous positions in his career, will benefit Scott this spring as he places his first touches and influences on the Volunteer offense, which, of course, must replace Josh Dobbs.
“I’m involved with it all,” he said. “I’ve coached receivers, tight ends, running backs and I have evolved with it all. It’s fun to get in there and mix it up. Football is football – it’s technique, toughness and just being physical and developing consistency.”
The Vols aren’t close to naming Dobbs’ replacement and have numerous other holes to fill, but Scott is pleased with what he is seeing from his players.
“The kids are learning,” Scott said. “They’re grinding it out and they’re working hard in meetings and trying to stay focused.
“They’re getting out there on the field and competing and that’s all we’re asking them to do right now on a daily basis, to bring a high level of competitiveness and consistency. That’s what we’re working hard towards developing. We just want to see daily improvement and I think that’s one thing the guys have really bought into.”