published Monday, February 7th, 2011

UT making moves on its defensive staff

KNOXVILLE -- The University of Tennessee is switching up its defensive coaching staff.

Defensive line coach Chuck Smith, who played at UT in the early 90s and played in the NFL, will not return by a mutual agreement.

"I am grateful for the personal investment, hard work, and passion that Chuck contributed to our program this past year," UT coach Derek Dooley said in a release. "He is a dear friend to me, and more importantly, will always be a part of the Tennessee family."

Lance Thompson, who has coached linebackers for the Vols the past two seasons, will coach the defensive line. Peter Sirmon, a graduate assistant who assisted defensive backs coach Terry Joseph with UT's safeties last season, will now coach linebackers.

Thompson has seven years of experience coaching defensive lineman in stops at Georgia Tech, Alabama and LSU, his most recent stint as a line coach (2002). He was Central Florida's defensive coordinator from 2004-06. Sirmon, who played at Oregon, played seven seasons in the NFL with the Tennessee Titans.

"Lance's extensive experience coaching defensive linemen combined with Peter's work product over the past year makes these decisions seamless," Dooley said. "Lance has experienced tremendous success as both a defensive coordinator and line coach, while Peter's work ethic, professionalism, coaching ability, and success as a linebacker at both the collegiate and professional ranks precluded me from pursuing any other candidates."

Contact Patrick Brown at or 901-581-7288.

Follow our Vols beat writer Patrick Brown on Twitter by following this link.

about Patrick Brown...

Patrick Brown has been the University of Tennessee beat writer since January 2011. A native of Memphis, Brown graduated from UT in May of 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism/Electronic Media and worked at the Knoxville News Sentinel for two years on the sports editorial staff and as a freelance contributor. If it’s the NBA, the NFL or SEC football and basketball, he’s probably reading about it or watching it on TV. Contact him ...

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