FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arkansas hired John Chavis as its new defensive coordinator Tuesday.
Chavis arrives after hold the same position for three seasons at Texas A&M. He previously served as defensive coordinator at Tennessee (1995-2008) and LSU (2009-14).
The media spoke to Chavis for the first time since his hiring Wednesday morning. Here’s are some of the highlights from what he had to say:
- Chavis says his philosophy at Arkansas won’t change much from what it’s been the past 25 years. He says they’ll be aggressive and get after the quarterback. “We will be a pressure defense.”
- From playing against Arkansas the past several years, Chavis says there are some strong pieces in places but adds there are definitely some holes to fill. “There’s some really good talent here. Is there talent to win 14 games? Well, there wasn’t last year. But eventually, there will be.”
- Chavis says there are still some definite needs they need to address in the 2018 recruiting class. He declines to talk about what those are specifically, but says they are already working to fill the needs. Based on what coach Chad Morris previously said, those needs are likely safety and defensive line.
- Strong words from Chavis on what he believes they can accomplish at Arkansas: “I’ve seen the caliber of teams that Arkansas can field and that’s certainly one of the things that has me excited. Can we win a national championship here? Well, we aren’t going to win it tomorrow, but I’ve seen what Arkansas can be.”
- Chavis says he got asked if he can solve all the problems at Arkansas. His response: “I don’t think I can solve all the problems anywhere. But I think I can be a part of solving the problems. And I think we have the model to solve those problems.”
- Chavis reiterates his thoughts on building an aggressive defense at Arkansas. “We’re going to make sure for every problem an offense gives us, we’re going to give them one, too. We’re going to try to create problems [by blitzing].”
- Morris sold Chavis on the future at Arkansas from the first time they discussed the program. “I think coach has a great vision and the people he has around him will support that decision. There’s no doubt, and it’s been clear from the first day I talked to Coach Morris, that he has a vision and I think I understand it pretty well.”
- Chavis says the fire is still burning to coach. “I know I can recruit and I can develop players. When I feel like I can’t do that or someone else feels like I can’t, send me off into the sunset. But it’s not that time yet.”
- It was important to Chavis that he continue coaching in the SEC. “I love the SEC.”