Mike Canales: 'It was an honor to be a coach at Tennessee'

Mike Canales: 'It was an honor to be a coach at Tennessee'

Football

Mike Canales: 'It was an honor to be a coach at Tennessee'

Mike Canales is set to return to Tennessee this week as UTEP takes on the Vols.

Canales served as UT’s quarterbacks coach in 2017. With the UT head coaching change from Butch Jones to Jeremy Pruitt, Canales was hired on as offensive coordinator at UTEP under new Miners’ head coach Dana Dimel.

Dimel came from Kansas State after serving as the Wildcats’ offensive coordinator. In 2006, Dimel, tight ends coach, and Canales, co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, coached together at Arizona.

“We have been together before and it’s the right situation,” Canales told Vols Wire.

UTEP went 0-12 last season and are 0-2 in 2018.

“It’s a process and is going to take some time,” Canales said. “A 2-3 year deal to get this thing right, but our kids are hungry and have been great.”

Canales is running a mixture of formations at UTEP, from pro-style sets, running the spread and ideas that he and Dimel had at Arizona.

“We are a little more spread and with a Kansas State influence, and some of the things that we did together,” he said. “So it’s kind of multiple getting into a pro-style, spread and different sets to try and find mismatches.”

Tennessee’s head coaching change from Jones to Pruitt was a change from an offensive-minded head coach to a defensive-minded one.

Canales says that “we know what Coach Pruitt is known for and you see the difference already in the two games that I have watched.”

As UT’s quarterbacks coach last season and working with Jarrett Guarantano, Canales can already see that the Tennessee quarterback has bulked up during the offseason.

“I have seen some clips and I have been praying for him and want him to be successful, he’s such a great kid,” Canales said of Guarantano. “I know his desire and determination to be successful. He sent me a picture of a scale with his weight on it this summer, so he looks thick and I’m proud of him.”

The 2017 season was UT’s worst record-wise in school history, going 4-8, but Canales still cherishes his time coaching in Knoxville.

“Our stint was short, but it’s a special place for me,” he said. “The tradition and the history of that place, it was an honor to be a coach at Tennessee. It meant a lot to me and I’ll never forget that. I can always say I ran through the T and sat in with Peyton Manning.

“Even though it was tough times, I get that part, I understand the fan base and how upset they were and how disappointed they were. I understand their love for that place, but I went to work every day and gave it all I had. I gave my all for Tennessee and tried to be an ambassador for that great university.”

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