Multi-tasker

The offensive coordinator also calls plays for the vast majority of college football teams. Last year's Tennessee squad was an exception.

But, after being denied that opportunity last season by head coach Lane Kiffin, who called the plays himself, second-year Vol offensive coordinator Jim Chaney will call the plays this fall for new Tennessee head man Derek Dooley.

That seems like a big deal to most observers but Chaney insists it isn't to him. He says he didn't feel slighted when Kiffin handled the play-calling chores last year and says he doesn't feel empowered now that he'll be calling them this year.

"It's kind of been putting myself back in a mode I had for a lot of years," Chaney said. "I find myself stumbling a little bit as I go through it."

The Vol aide hasn't doubled as play-caller since his days as co-offensive coordinator at Purdue in the early 2000s. Naturally, he's feeling a little rusty, sheepishly noting after one recent practice that "If I could have a couple of those calls back, I would have."

Like riding a bicycle, however, calling plays is a skill that returns with practice and patience.

"It's just getting back into that play-calling status," Chaney said. "I hadn't done it for a while. But I did it for a lot of years - I don't know how many - but then I didn't do it for three or four."

Although he suggests he didn't miss play-calling, Chaney seems glad to be handling that duty again.

"Moving back into that is what's the fun part for me right now as a play-caller," he said. "And it's been neat organizing things. But my relationship with Coach Kiffin was good. We had a good working environment. I'm not shot in the butt with having the ego of having to calling the plays."

Grinning smugly, he added: "Sometimes in my position (after a play fails miserably) you like to hide a little bit."

Although he has one more task in his job description this season, Chaney feels no added pressure. He'll simply face a little extra preparation time each week.

"The only difference is, I've got to mentally prepare to call the game," he said. "That's it. That's the only thing, but hell, that's what I do. That's not a big deal to me.

"As long as the guys are executing and playing good I'm a pretty good play-caller."


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