Titans Add Former University of Tennessee Kicker to Coaching Staff

James Wilhoit will try to help sort out the placekicking situation prior to the star of the 2021 NFL season.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

NASHVILLE – Mike Vrabel could not say for sure what title James Wilhoit has.

The Tennessee Titans head coach is certain, however, about what he will say to the newest member of his coaching staff at some point in the coming weeks.

“He’s the guy that I bitch to when we miss them,” Vrabel said Friday.

Vrabel said that the Titans have hired Wilhoit, a former University of Tennessee kicker who in recent years has run the Wilhoit Kicking Academy, which tutors kickers and punters across Tennessee. Officially, the team has not released the news.

Wilhoit’s official title has not been confirmed. His role, however, is clear.

The 38-year-old will work closely with the kickers, which currently is a critical job. There are two on the roster, Tucker McCann and Blake Haubeil, and neither has kicked in an NFL regular season game. McCann was an undrafted rookie in 2020 who spent last season on Tennessee’s practice squad. Haubeil is an undrafted rookie this season.

In the last two seasons, six different kickers have attempted field goals for the Titans. Four combined to miss 10 of 18 in 2019, and Stephen Gostkowski missed a career-high eight in 2020.

“I think that anything we can do to help guys do their job better is what we’re going to try to do,” Vrabel said. “He’s worked with [punter] Brett [Kern] in the past. We felt that – and we looked at a few guys – that he could assist us moving toward the season.”

Wilhot is from Hendersonville, Tenn., a suburb north of town, and attended the University of Tennessee where he was a four-year starter at kicker (2003-06). He finished his career as the second-leading scorer in program history and made some notable field goals, including one from 50 yards with six seconds to play that gave the Volunteers a 30-28 victory over Florida in 2004.

He spent time with the Baltimore Ravens in 2007 but never kicked in an NFL regular season game. He also spent time in the All American Football League and the Arena Football League.