KNOXVILLE, Tenn.(Vol Report) - When Tennessee was searching to fill its safeties coach position in early March - just weeks before spring practice - it needed someone that would be able to adjust quickly and remain focused.
Fitting that bill to a power `T' was Josh Conklin, who the Vols hired on March 9.
"I think for my personality, I'm always ready," Conklin said. "I always look forward to a challenge. I look at this as a challenge. It's an environment I've never been in before, obviously. I'm learning every day as I go through this process. Was I ready? Absolutely.
"Football is football. You can package it, you can do the concepts any way you want to, but when it comes down to it, you're coaching football. It doesn't matter if it's a junior high level, high school level, college level, or the NFL. Now, the schemes and some of those things may change, but if you understand the basic fundamentals and the basic concepts of it, I think you're in good shape."
Tennessee is a unique place where media attention, facilities and the bells and whistles are unmatched, but the magnitude of Rocky Top hasn't fazed the Vols' newest coach.
"Right now, I've actually tried to block a little bit of it out," Conklin said. "Just stay focused on what you have to do, and it's no different for our guys out here. When they step out between those lines and they're playing on Saturday, they understand that what matters is in front of them.
"Obviously it's different; the media coverage is different. The exposure is different. It's a positive. It's kind of neat to see, but, for me, when you get out there. I have a job to do and that's to coach those safeties and try to make them as good as I can every single day and invest in them as people as well."
Although it's still too early to get a read on what Conklin has within his unit, he likes the potential of what it could develop into. "I love the way they come to work," Conklin said. " I love the way they practice on the practice field. They want to become better football players, and guys that want to become better football players, you want to invest in them more as a football coach. In turn, they're going to invest more in you and get to where you want to go."
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