Another vacancy filled

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Tennessee coach Derek Dooley tapped into the former staff at North Carolina to fill one of the final vacancies on his staff by hiring Charlie Coiner as the new Volunteer special teams coordinator.

Eric Russell was previously in charge of Tennessee's special teams and tight ends before departing mid-December to rejoin Mike Leach and work at Washington State as the assistant head coach/special teams coordinator.

While it remains to be seen how much to be seen how much Coiner can help with recruiting this particular class with National Signing Day just six days away, adding a staff member that has experience both in the NFL and Atlantic Coast Conference certainly can't hurt.

Last season, the Vols averaged 22.7 yards per kickoff return and allowed opponents to an average of 18.1. They didn't score or allow a touchdown on kickoffs all season.

Tennessee picked up 8.1 yards per punt return, while foes advanced the football an average of 10.2 yards, including a touchdown at Arkansas.

Field goal kickers for the Big Orange were 10 of 15, including 3 of 7 from beyond 40 yards. They punted 54 times at 37.8 yards per clip.

One of the most recognized special teams woes of the season came when Michael Palardy's 46-yard field goal attempt was blocked at Kentucky. The Vols went on to lose that game 10-7, assuring themselves of a 5-7 record, no bowl game and an offseason of scrutiny that's led to six assistant coaching changes.

Rising junior Palardy came to The Hill ranked as's No. 1 kicker in the country out of St. Thomas Aquinas (Fla.) High School. In two seasons, he has made 14 of 21 field goals and averaged 62 yards per kickoff with six touchbacks.

Matt Darr enters his redshirt sophomore season as UT's punter. He was punting expert Chris Sailer's No. 1 leg in the land his senior season at Frontier (Calif.) High School. In 2011, Darr punted 40 times to an average of 38.1 yards with 10 landing inside the opposing 20.

Long hours game planning, adjusting depth charts, recruiting meetings, etc., leaves coaching staffs needing chemistry. Coiner brings some of that having worked with new UT offensive line coach Sam Pittman in Chapel Hill.

Upon his return to college football from the pro ranks, Coiner reflected on the differences.

"It's a little bit of transition," Coiner told InsideCarolina in 2010. "The schedule is the biggest thing, but it's coaching. There's not a lot of difference. You're getting ready for practice and you're getting ready for a game and there are a lot of similarities in how you schedule the week, but it's just one day earlier. Other than that, there's not a whole lot of difference."

The Waynesboro, Va., native was the Buffalo Bills tight ends coach prior to joining Butch Davis at North Carolina. He was hired by the Chicago Bears as the offensive quality control coach in Feb. 2001. He held down the Bears special teams assistant job 2004-05.

Coiner earned his bachelor's degree from Catawba College prior to picking up a master's at Appalachian State, which is where he worked as a graduate assistant 1983-86.

He assisted with the kicking game and defensive line at Minnesota in 1987. He then made his way to the Volunteer State to work at Austin Peay in Clarksville 1988-90 and at Vanderbilt 1991-93. He made stops at Texas Southern (1994, 2000), Louisville (1995-97), Chattanooga (1998) and LSU (1999).

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