KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Charlton Warren was forged by nearly two decades in the Air Force, so even though Tennessee’s new defensive backs coach has jumped to a few flashier schools in recent years, the rising assistant maintains the same mantra he had during all his time with the Falcons.
Doing more with less.
“I always thought the academy was a great experience because to beat Notre Dame, BYU and Utah with the players we had, you had to be very efficient,” Warren said.
“You had to be able to do more with less. So everything I do now is still about trying to do more with less. That’s the mentality. For me, it’s great to now have maybe a little bit more toys to play with as you go, but still, you approach everything like, ‘I’m doing more with less.’ That’s how I approach everything.”
Following an extended stint (2005-13) at the Air Force, Warren had brief stops at Nebraska and North Carolina, developing into a strong position coach and a renowned recruiter. At Tennessee, he’ll have new toys to play with, but his approach won’t change.
“The relationship piece, the hard work, the discipline, the accountability, that doesn’t change,” he said.
“Now, maybe you can fish with a little different bait when you’re at Nebraska, and then North Carolina and now at Tennessee. You can get a bigger fish. But the basics of who you’re going after, and the tenacity you do it with, the relationships you’ve got to build … all those things are the same.”
Warren is tasked with turning Tennessee’s bigger fish into more productive players in 2017. The Vols’ secondary struggled mightily last season, finishing the year ranked No. 10 in the SEC in pass defense. They allowed 24 completions of over 30 yards — worst in the conference. Veterans Cam Sutton and Malik Foreman are gone, while guys like Justin Martin and Baylen Buchanan could use a fresh start.
“It’s a clean slate,” Warren said. “I’m coming in where with fresh eyes. I’m coming in where with no expectations but hard work. … Whether you were really, really good or really, really bad, it doesn’t matter to me because our job going forward is to win. That’s what I’m here to do.”
Warren was also brought to Tennessee because of his strong ties to Georgia. An Atlanta native, Warren has been recruiting the Peach State for more than a decade. Tennessee has struggled bringing aboard top prospects in Georgia in 2017, but the Vols hope that changes with Warren.
“Recruiting is all about relationships, and I’m a guy that’s recruited that state for 14 years,” he said.
“I was raised in that state. I know coaches. I know players. I know former coaches of mine that are now coaching there.
“Anytime you can go into an area that you know well, where you know the backroads, you know the youth programs, you know where guys are coming from, I think that’s huge.”
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