Former Tennessee Vols defensive coordinator John Jancek will be returning to the SEC East this season as a defensive consultant for the Kentucky Wildcats, according to a report from Jimmy Hyams.
Hyams also reports that Jancek will not serve in an on-field capacity.
Jancek served as South Florida’s safeties coach during the 2016 season and despite being one of the top defenses in the FBS for interceptions with 15, the Bulls’ passing defense was ranked 122nd in the country. Jancek was not retained on the staff when Charlie Strong took over after former head coach Willie Taggart left USF to the same position at Oregon.
Jancek was Tennessee’s defensive coordinator under Butch Jones for three seasons from 2013-15. He was relieved of his duties in January 2016 by Jones before being succeeded at the same position by Bob Shoop.
As the Vols’ defensive coordinator, Jancek steadily improved the UT defense throughout his tenure:
- 84th in total defense in 2013
- 37th in 2014
- 36th in 2015
During Jancek’s time at Tennessee, the Vols also became known for their stellar defense on 3rd downs, leading the SEC in opponent 3rd down conversion percentage in 2014 and again in 2015 (2nd in the nation).
Now, I know that there is always bound to be some discussion and drama when a former coach on Tennessee’s staff takes a job for another team that’s not only in the same conference, but the same division as the Vols.
However, the fact that Jancek will only be taking a job as a consultant is not too big of a deal. I’m sure that he’ll offer up some extra tips to Mark Stoops & Co. on how to prepare for the Vols since they’ve lit up the Wildcats’ defense for the past three seasons, averaging 50.3 PPG versus the Cats in that span.
This would be a little different if Jancek was joining the Wildcats as defensive backs coach like he was at USF or any other full-time coaching staff position, but every team is hiring a LOT of consultants and analysts these days. This is something that Nick Saban has used to its full advantage at Alabama and everyone else is now trying to catch up with this strategy. Jancek has been around the block and having someone who was a pretty good SEC defensive coordinator for multiple years giving your team advice certainly won’t hurt Stoops and UK.
But to say that Jancek’s career has been trending downward would be an understatement. From SEC DC, to American Conference DBs coach, now to SEC defensive consultant probably isn’t what “The Janitor” had in mind, but he can put himself in position to move back up if his stay in Lexington is a success.