Mad about Monte

Tennessee's defensive players are so sure Monte Kiffin is going to be their new coordinator that they're already watching film of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the NFL defense he coordinates.

"Me and Eric Berry and Demetrice Morley was watching some of the Tampa defense – seeing how guys was flying around, making interceptions," defensive end Gerald Williams noted earlier this week. "We were like, 'Man, that's what we're going to be doing next year.'

"We're excited. He's similar to Chief, so it'll be good to get him in there."

Chief, of course, is John Chavis, who was let go Sunday after 14 years as Tennessee's defensive coordinator. Chavis' best defenses were built on speed and aggressiveness. Several Vols believe Kiffin's defense looks virtually identical.

"It's very much similar," Williams said. "Some of the things we run are from the Tampa defense. Having him (Monte Kiffin) in here is not missing a beat. We'll stay on the same beat, move on."

Monte Kiffin, of course, is the 68-year-old father of Lane Kiffin, the 33-year-old recently introduced as Tennessee's new head coach.

Asked whether he'll fit in at linebacker (the position he played in junior college) or end (the position he played at Tennessee this year), Williams replied without hesitation.

"Most likely I'll move back to linebacker," he said. "That's where I feel the most comfortable, and that's the move I want to make."

Lane Kiffin has not verified his father's hiring but he supposedly told the Vols during a Sunday night meeting that Monte will be joining the UT staff once Tampa Bay's season ends. Williams found the meeting quite encouraging.

"The meeting was very good," he said. "It was very smooth. Coach Kiffin told us what's going to be done, what he expects out of us.... He told us he had nothing to do with Coach Fulmer's resignation."

Kiffin also spoke kindly of his predecessor. That meant a lot to the Vols, some of whom publicly criticized the administration after Fulmer was forced to resign on Nov. 3.

Williams said Kiffin's complimentary comments about the man he is replacing were "very important. That shows he's got good character and that he knows what the previous coaches did in the time they was here."

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