KNOXVILLE – Tennessee’s coaching search to replace offensive coordinator Tyson Helton continues into day No. 26.
One coach that has came up during the search is first-year Green Bay quarterbacks coach Frank Cignetti Jr.
Cignetti Jr. is currently part of a staff that is already in transition at Green Bay following Mike McCarthy’s firing as the Packers’ head coach.
Vols Wire was told Tuesday by a Green Bay insider that they “doubt very much that Cignetti Jr. will be back next season because the offense is going to change with a new head coach coming in.”
“He has just been here one year and mostly worked with the younger quarterbacks, and not as much with Aaron Rodgers, except on game day,” the insider continued.
Cignetti Jr. served as offensive coordinator at Pittsburgh when Phil Bennett was defensive coordinator for the Panthers.
Bennett discussed Cignetti Jr. with Vols Wire and the possibility of him joining UT’s staff.
“He is a heck of a coach,” Bennett said. “He is what you call a pro-style coach. When I was with him at Pittsburgh, I just felt he had a good feel for the run-pass, using the tight ends and he understands three and four wide receiver sets.
“He believed in the running game, the underneath passing game, so I was a fan of Frank. He is a guy that knows what he is doing. Frank is a guy that is very organized and I always felt like he had command over what he was doing.”
Cignetti Jr. has coached at numerous places in the NFL and in college football, including stops with UT running backs coach Chris Weinke and coaching UT quality control analyst Tino Sunseri. Curt Cignetti, Frank’s brother, also crossed paths with Jeremy Pruitt as wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator at Alabama from 2007-10 during the time Pruitt launched his college coaching career at Alabama.
“He can coach at any level and is a good recruiter,” Bennett said Cignetti Jr. “He is good with kids. Frank needs something he can put his name on and with Jeremy (Pruitt) being a defensive guy, he would let him if he were to hire him.
“A guy like Jeremy that plays great defense and likes to compliment, Frank is someone to look at. If he took him, he would be smart.”
Former Pittsburgh offensive linemen John Malecki played for Cignetti Jr. and also discussed his former coach with Vols Wire.
“Frank just loves football,” Malecki said. “He had a great relationship with the players, so I would say he is suited for the college life.”
Malecki also discussed what Cignetti Jr. would bring as a play-caller to Tennessee.
“From when I played for Frank, he was someone whom I believed developed his play-calling around the players he had,” Malecki said. “We ran a traditional pro-style offense, where we would pound the ball in the run game and take it deep with play-action.
“Frank was always coming up with some wrinkles to keep the defenses on their toes when it came to matchups, which in college and the NFL is the name of the game.”