No doubt Chavis will throw everything in his bag of tricks at a Vol offense that has first-time starter Matt Simms at quarterback and the NCAA's youngest cast of blockers. Making this weekend even more meaningful for Chavis is the fact he is a former Vol who spent 14 years coordinating Tennessee's defense before being unceremoniously dumped following the 2008 season.
"There definitely will be emotions in it," Vol linebacker Nick Reveiz said. "This is the school where he lost his job.... It's tough when you're at a place for so long. And (given) all the success Coach Chavis had, I'm sure that was hard to come to grips with."
Even without the revenge angle, Chavis should be eager to face the Vols. They have struggled mightily to handle pressure this fall, surrendering 11 sacks the past two games. Some of those could be blamed on indecisiveness by Simms. Some could be blamed on mistakes by the linemen. And some could be blamed on poor blitz pick-ups by Vol running backs.
"I think the backs need to do a better job from a technique and toughness standpoint," Dooley said. "That's No. 1. Then No. 2, a lot of times the blitzes create some one-on-ones up front. When you're a little bit hesitant of who to pick up, you don't really set at the right position. You're not in good relative position and you get a little off balance."
Naturally, Tennessee coaches would love to relieve the pressure on Vol pass protectors by relying heavily on the ground attack this Saturday in Baton Rouge. That may not be a viable option, however, since LSU limited a very good West Virginia team to 58 net rushing yards last Saturday. Dooley wasn't surprised, given the talent level of LSU's stop unit.
"Their defensive line looks like watching an NFL team," the Vol coach said. "When I say phenomenal talent at every position, they probably have one of the best secondary guys in the country (Patrick Peterson) and they have great coaching. So when you combine great coaching and phenomenal talent - and you can tell that they believe in their system - you've got a great defense."
Meanwhile, Tennessee has a great concern. The glut of sacks could make offensive coordinator Jim Chaney a little gun-shy about calling pass plays.
"It's hard on a play-caller because you feel a responsibility to try to protect some areas - whether it's what the quarterback can do, what the offensive line can do or the young receivers," Dooley said. "Then you end up, you're protecting so much, you lose a little bit of your aggressiveness and tempo."
Chaney must be aggressive in his offensive play-calling this weekend. That's because Chavis is sure to be ultra-aggressive in his defensive play-calling for LSU.
"He's intense," Reveiz said. "Chief will get after you.... I know Coach Chavis brings intensity to the field and a get-after-it effect. They will get after you. Their defense is going to come for us."