Jim Chaney makes SEC return at Georgia

In this file photo, UT offensive coordinator Jim Chaney, right, talks with head coach Derek Dooley during practice before a game against UT Martin at Neyland Stadium.

HOOVER, Ala. -- Tennessee will run into a couple of its former assistant coaches when the Volunteers visit Georgia in early October.

As part of his first staff with the Bulldogs, head coach Kirby Smart tabbed Jim Chaney as his offensive coordinator and Sam Pittman as his offensive line coach.

Chaney spent four seasons at Tennessee as the offensive coordinator for Lane Kiffin (2009) and Derek Dooley (2010-12), while Pittman was on Dooley's final staff in 2012.

"They are definitely a combo," Smart said at SEC media days on Tuesday morning. "These two guys are very witty, very funny and they are very good football coaches and they brought a lot of experience and value. Like I said in my opening statements, every guy on our staff has SEC experience of some kind.

"Those two guys got quite a bit."

Pittman is regarded as one of the best offensive line coaches and recruiters in the nation, and Chaney's offenses at Purdue, Tennessee and Arkansas typically were productive.

After leaving Tennessee, Chaney and Pittman spent two seasons together on the staff at Arkansas, but in 2015 Chaney was the offensive coordinator at Pittsburgh.

The Vols had one of the best offenses in school history in 2012, though that group, which included a handful of future NFL players, was spoiled by a historically inept defense.

Behind quarterback Tyler Bray, wide receivers Justin Hunter and Cordarrelle Patterson, tight end Mychal Rivera and one of the best pass-protecting offensive lines in the country, Tennessee finished second in the SEC in passing offense in 2012.

photo University of Tennessee assistant football coach Sam Pittman talks to reporters at the indoor practice facility on the school campus in Knoxville, Tenn., in this file photo.

With Bret Bielema at Arkansas the following two seasons, however, Chaney's offenses were third and fifth in the league in rushing behind running back Alex Collins and a top-notch offensive line.

"He is something else, he is awesome and he is really funny," tight end Jeb Blazevich said. "He will get you on the field and coach you up and then when you get off the field he will make jokes on how you screwed up but it is not in a mean way but you can laugh. So he is really awesome and a personable guy.

"I think all of the players relate to him well."

The recent trend for Georgia has been to rely on talented running backs and a physical offensive line.

"They've been successful in a two-back-run-oriented offense," Smart said. "They've been power ball and run the ball really well in a tough conference to run the ball -- and it's hard to run the ball in the SEC because you've got really good defensive lineman.

"They've run the ball. They've thrown the ball in the SEC at a high efficiency at the University of Tennessee. Both those things attracted me to them. They've got good proven credentials with what they've done. That was important not only in recruiting but to our current roster, and they've been a great pair."

Contact Patrick Brown at pbrown@timesfreepress.com.

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