As with any first-year playcaller, defensive coordinator Tim Banks is eager to find out how much talent he’s inherited at his new school.

While he has studied tape of the players returning to Tennessee, the process of getting to know his new players is ongoing on Rocky Top. And until he actually gets to see what his players can do on the practice field, it’s impossible for Banks to even know what he’s got to work with in Knoxville.

So much so that Banks isn’t even ready to commit to the scheme he plans to run during his first year at Tennessee.

Here is what Tennessee’s new defensive coordinator had to say when asked if he plans on running a 4-3 or a 3-4 base defense in 2021.

“As far as the 4-3 or 3-4, and all those types of things, once again what do we have to work with? Again as we continue to go through spring, we’ll evaluate it,” Banks said on Monday. “We’ll make some decisions moving forward that obviously puts the players in the best light, which in turn puts our defense in the best light. But right now, we’re trying to continue to evaluate the talent level and see what these guys can do and can obviously do well.”

Later during his media availability, Banks was asked how much of the offense can be installed this spring?

“Yeah, that’s a good question. I think just the base,” Banks answered. “We’re always gonna put the base in first and start from the ground up working this thing. As we start to get more exotic, based on the appetite that the kids have to be able to digest, some of the more strenuous, mentally, things that may be within the package.

“We’ll be able to look at that toward the end of spring, would be my guess. But naturally, you want to start from A to B first and work your way to Z. So, we want to get the base foundation in, see what these kids can do, see what kind of appetite they have, and then we’ll move forward in terms of putting them in some more, what we deem as exotics.”

If you were wondering, Banks was asked about the status of Quavaris Crouch and Henry To’oto’o on Monday. While he confirmed he has reached out to both of them since his hire at Tennessee, he noted his focus is on the players currently on campus.

“We don’t have a timeline for those guys. They’re not here, obviously, at this point,” Banks said. “We’re super excited about the guys that are here in this program that are working. We will figure that out as we go.”

Read into that how you will but it doesn’t sound like he is expecting them back any time soon based on that response.

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Sports betting in Tennessee officially launched on November 1, 2020, and many of the largest sportsbooks are live and operating in the volunteer state. Tennessee is only one of a handful of SEC football states with legalized sports betting.