Vols LB coach Brian Niedermeyer media availability transcript

Vols LB coach Brian Niedermeyer / Credit: UT Athletics

Brian Niedermeyer, Linebackers Coach

On what coaching has been like during COVID-19…

“It’s been good. You get to spend a lot of time with your guys, a lot of meeting time, walking through things. You can really go into detail about specific techniques and ways to play certain schemes and certain plays the offense has, so it’s been good.”

On what type of leadership Henry To’o To’o has brought to the linebacker group…

“Henry is a really good leader. I think when he came out of high school he led by example and I think he’s really embraced the role of bringing other guys along, as well. In terms of our linebacker group, we’re a versatile group that can do a lot of different things, so it’s been nice. We’ve been able to put people in different positions, which is awesome.”

On how the new assistant coaches have done on the recruiting trail…

“They’re doing a great job. I think the new guys we brought on, along with Jimmy Brumbaugh and Jay Graham, those guys are able to connect with kids. They have personalities that people want to be around. I think that speaks volume, especially to a younger generation. They’ve been great additions to the staff.”

On how much more of a natural fit he is coaching linebackers and if it helps that he personally recruited linebackers Henry To’o To’o and Quavaris Crouch…

“I think it’s making a relationship with all of those guys: Aaron Beasley, Solon Page, Jeremy Banks. It’s key, no matter what position you’re in, to have a good relationship with all of those guys. For me, moving back to linebackers was a sense of comfort because I started out there when I first coached in college with Michael Barrow at the University of Miami and moving on through with Coach Pruitt, and then at Georgia and Alabama. It’s been a much easier transition for me than if I was going the other direction.”

On where Jeremy Banks was at from a football standpoint this offseason…

“Jeremy is an instinctive guy and he’s a smart guy, so I wouldn’t say we were behind the eight ball, in terms of anything schematically. He is just like the rest of the guys. We’re just trying to get better each day and maximize his potential and ability on the field at all times.”

On how the approach to recruiting was adjusted due to COVID-19…

“I don’t think you talk to people in a different way. I think you still have the same conversations with them. It’s about personal connections and how you relate to them. On the other part of it, you don’t get to see them face-to-face, so how are you going to do campus tours without them being here? How are you going to show them the innerworkings of the facility, the innerworkings of the program, how you coach? How do they feel you without being able to see you in person? Coach Pruitt put a big emphasis on building relationships and us being around at least the building when we’re here now and talking to kids at all times. I don’t think recruiting ever stops and I think he is the driving force of that car. He’s always pushing us and continuing to make us recruit at all times. It’s the lifeblood of the program and he understands that better than anybody.”

On what challenges may be presented with the arrival of South Carolina’s new offensive coordinator, Mike Bobo…

“Mike Bobo is new, but he’s been in the league. I think everybody has a little bit of a history with Mike Bobo around the SEC, because he’s been in it forever, but anytime you’re going in and there’s a new system on the other side and it’s your first game, it’s always a little different. We’re just working each day to do our best.”

On what advice has he given the younger players, especially about taking proper precautions amidst COVID-19…

“Coach Pruitt has a great plan and he has a leadership council. They talk all the time. When I talk to the older guys in our room, it’s about doing the right things: being safe, wearing your mask and being accountable for those things. They’ve done a great job.”

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