What's next for Chavis?

There's a good chance John Chavis will be coaching a bunch of Tigers in 2009. Which bunch remains to be seen.

After 14 years as Tennessee's defensive coordinator, Chavis was cut loose as part of the coaching staff purge that followed the Vols' 5-7 season in 2008. Only 52, "The Chief" is still in his prime as a coach – an opinion underscored by the fact his '08 stop unit ranked No. 4 nationally in total defense and pass defense, No. 11 in scoring defense. When you consider how little help he got from an utterly inept UT offense last fall, Chavis may have done the best coaching job of his career in 2008.

Given that Chavis still has some good years left, you have to assume he'll be coaching somewhere in 2009. The question is where: The two likeliest destinations appear to be Clemson and LSU.

Clemson defensive coordinator Vic Koenning resigned earlier this month, leaving Tiger aides David Blackwell and Ron West to prepare the stop unit for Clemson's upcoming Gator Bowl date with Nebraska. As a native of Dillon, S.C., who has many coaching and recruiting contacts in the Clemson area, Chavis seems to be a good fit if the Tigers elect to hire an outsider to oversee the defense in 2009.

The long-time Vol aide also might figure in the picture at LSU. Doug Mallory and Bradley Dale Peveto served as co-defensive coordinators for the 2008 Tigers, an experiment which failed miserably. Even with most of the key players back from a 2007 defense that ranked among the NCAA's finest, LSU struggled mightily in '08. The defending national champion Tigers ranked No. 81 nationally in pass defense and No. 65 in scoring defense.

Chavis' in-depth knowledge of the personnel, schemes and tendencies of SEC offenses should work in his favor if LSU elects to bring in a new defensive coordinator for 2009, something that appears to be a distinct possibility.


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