Thursday, March 12, 2020

Why Jimmy Brumbaugh is Jeremy Pruitt's kind of D-line coach

By PATRICK BROWN Mar 11, 9:00 AM
Tennessee wasn't in the market for a defensive line coach very long last month. Head coach Jeremy Pruitt and the Vols didn't even need an interview to hire Jimmy Brumbaugh from Colorado. Brumbaugh is exactly the kind of defensive line coach Pruitt wants, even though the two have never worked together.

Brumbaugh was tabbed as the replacement for SEC veteran defensive line coach Tracy Rocker, who went to South Carolina after his contract at Tennessee expired, and Pruitt after Tennessee's first spring practice on Tuesday afternoon explained why the Vols simply offered him the job.

That's because Pruitt knew Brumbaugh was precisely what he wants in a defensive line coach.

“Jimmy’s a guy that I’ve known for a long time,” Pruitt said. “When he was playing at Auburn, we played against each other (when Pruitt played at Alabama). (He’s) a guy that has really grown in the profession, I mean the work that he’s done at every stop along the way, he’s a great teacher, motivator. You kind of know what you’re getting in him every single day.
“You can see it out here (at practice). When I’ve sat in the meetings with him and just how he teaches, I think he’s really hands-on. He brings a lot of knowledge at that position, playing that position, and really is kind of the style of defensive line coach that we’re looking for.”
Brumbaugh, also Tennessee's co-defensive coordinator, was a two-time All-SEC defensive lineman at Auburn and started 44 of his 48 career games with the Tigers (1995-99). After competing his degree following a brief professional career, he started out his coaching career at Jacksonville State as a student assistant in 2005, then got his first defensive line coaching job at Chattanooga in 2005. Brumbaugh then spent two years at LSU as an assistant strength and conditioning coach and was part of a national title season in Baton Rouge.

Jimmy Brumbaugh (Photo: Wes Rucker, 247Sports)

Since then, Brumbaugh has been the defensive line coach at Louisiana Tech (2008-09), Syracuse (2010-11), East Mississippi Community College (2012), Kentucky (2013-16), Maryland (2017-18) and Colorado (2018). At Kentucky, Brumbaugh worked alongside current Tennessee defensive coordinator Derrick Ansley and coached a pair of future NFL players in Za'Darius Smith and Bud Dupree. At Colorado, the Buffaloes' run defense jumped 64 spots in the national statistical rankings after surrendering 62.4 fewer yards per game in 2019.

Pruitt is the latest SEC-defensive-coordinator-turned-head-coach to hire Brumbaugh to his staff, joining Mark Stoops at Kentucky, D.J. Durkin at Maryland and Mel Tucker at Colorado.

“When we had the job come open, we didn’t interview anybody else,” Pruitt said. “We didn’t interview him. We just offered him the job and he came.”

Brumbaugh is one of the three new defensive assistant coaches for the Vols in 2020 with Brian Niedermeyer shifting over to coach the inside linebackers after two seasons as Tennessee's tight ends coach and Shelton Felton, a former quality control analyst at Tennessee in 2018, coming in from Akron to coach the outside linebackers.

Tennessee resumes the spring with its second practice on Thursday afternoon.

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