KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee’s offensive staff is coming together.
After weeks of reports, Vols tight ends coach Larry Scott was officially promoted to offensive coordinator Friday, and the Vols also hired Mike Canales as their quarterbacks coach, the school announced.
Scott came to Tennessee last season, coaching tight ends and special teams. He’s never been an offensive coordinator or a play-caller at the collegiate level, but the veteran offensive assistant had a direct hand in Tennessee’s game planning in 2016.
Canales comes to the Vols from Utah State, his alma mater. The 55-year-old assistant was formally the associate head coach and running backs coach after spending five seasons as the OC/QBs coach at North Texas.
Tennessee hasn’t had a full-time quarterbacks coach since 2014, when Mike Bajakian left for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. While former offensive coordinator Mike DeBord, who left for Indiana earlier this month, engineered prolific offenses the last two seasons, the Vols’ quarterbacks were mostly overseen by graduate assistant Nick Sheridan. The former Michigan signal-caller recently accepted the running backs coach job at Central Michigan.
Scott and Canales have a longstanding relationship, coaching together at South Florida from 2007-2009. Scott was the tight ends/offensive line coach with the Bulls, while Canales served as the offensive coordinator and play-caller.
Tennessee also interviewed former Heisman Trophy winner Chris Weinke, Kevin O’Connell, formerly with the Cleveland Browns, and one unknown candidate for the position, per SEC Country sources.
Canales has coached in college for nearly 30 years, spending a single season with the New York Jets in 2003. He was the passing coordinator and quarterbacks coach at NC State in the early 2000s, coaching Pro Bowl quarterback Philip Rivers for two years.
Scott is charged with continuing Tennessee’s late-season offensive surge, as the Vols scored at least 34 points the final five games of the year. Meanwhile, Canales will be tasked with mentoring and developing young quaterbacks Jarrett Guarantano, Quinten Dormady and Will McBride, as Tennessee will break in a new starter for the first time since 2014.
More to come.
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