No team was decimated more by the transfer portal and has fewer scholarships this season than Tennessee, and Coach Banks has played a huge role in changing the culture of Tennessee football in just a few short months in his first season. Going into the season, no one gave the Vols a chance, especially defensively after losing its top three defenders – two of which are starting LBs at other schools. Banks’ leadership has the players at Tennessee believing after everything they went through with the coaching change in January. His unit has overperformed and rank among the top 25 in several categories despite being limited on scholarship numbers. Player development has been huge and the amount of players who are playing the best of their careers defensively has been in large part due to Coach Banks. The team is significantly improved from a season ago defensively.
“In his first season at Tennessee after serving as the co-defensive coordinator/safeties coach at Penn State for five seasons. Now owns 15 seasons of FBS defensive coordinator experience. At Penn State, his teams ranked in the top 25 nationally in fewest yards per play allowed all five years and in the top 25 in scoring defense three times. Also served as defensive coordinator/secondary coach at Illinois from 2012-15 and the co-defensive coordinator at Cincinnati from 2010-11. Been a part of four conference championships as a coach.”
Entering Week 10: 5-4 overall, 3-3 in SEC, third place in the SEC East after being picked fifth in the SEC East in the SEC preseason media poll.
Banks’ unit leads the nation in tackles for loss (73) and tackles for loss per game (8.11). By comparison, UT had 55 TFLs last season. Four of Tennessee’s nine games have double-digit tackles for loss. Vols have forced 12 turnovers and nine interceptions.
DB Theo Jackson (Banks’ specialty is coaching safeties) is having a career year, leading the SEC pass breakups with 10, which is also tied for sixth in the FBS. Jr. LB Jeremy Banks is fourth in the SEC in tackles with 74. S Jaylen McCollough is tied for third in the SEC in interceptions with three.