NASHVILLE, Tenn. —The Titans' offseason offensive changes led to multiple questions from media and fans Wednesday for quarterback Jake Locker and guard Andy Levitre during the Academy Sports + Outdoors Titans Caravan.
Locker and Levitre will play for new head coach Ken Whisenhunt, new offensive coordinator Jason Michael and different position coaches (John McNulty, quarterbacks; Bob Bostad and assistant Mike Sullivan, offensive line) in 2014. They've been able to meet with the new staff for a little more than a month. Both players, who have experienced staff changes before, said the learning process is going smoothly.
"I think each team is a little different," Locker said during a media session. "I think each staff has preferences for what they like, but you'll see us trying to use the talent and players we have and put them in the best chance for success. There will be some similarities, some carryover, but you'll see some new things.
"I really like (the new coaches)," Locker added. "I enjoy working with them and think they're very intelligent football minds and they do a great job of conveying what they want to accomplish on the football field, and that's great as a player."
Whisenhunt is the featured attraction for Thursday's Caravan stops in Bowling Green, Ky., White House and Madison, and talented young receivers Kendall Wright and Justin Hunter are scheduled to visit Chattanooga, Knoxville and Cookeville Friday.
Michael is Locker's third coordinator, and McNulty is his third position coach since Tennessee selected him at the No. 8 overall spot in the 2011 NFL Draft. This will be the fourth staff in six pro seasons for Levitre, who joined the Titans during free agency in 2013 after four with Buffalo.
"You never want to get used to something like that," Levitre said. "It means things aren't going well, but it's good. I've adapted pretty well. There's always a lot of carryover, it's just a matter of terminology and how you apply it on the field and how quickly you can react on the field and make split-second decisions. It's just going to take repetitions and the more work we do this spring, the better off we'll be when training camp comes around."
The Titans were able to hold voluntary minicamp for veterans April 29-May 1 and have one more week remaining in Phase II of their offseason program, which allows players to work on the field within their position groups but no team sessions. Tennessee is scheduled to begin 10 organized team activity practices May 27 and will have a mandatory minicamp in June before a break until the opening of training camp in late July.
"We've had a good chance to get to know (the coaches)," Levitre said. "I like what I've seen so far and hope they like what they've seen from us. We still have a lot of learning to do, a lot of developing to do entering the season, but it's been fun."
Jake Locker, Andy Levitre and Akeem Ayers visited Paducah and Hopkinsville, Ky., and Clarksville on the third day of the 2014 Academy Sports + Outdoors Titans Caravan. (Photos: Bob Hyde & Craig Peters)
While most questions ask for contrasts between Whisenhunt and former Titans coach Mike Munchak, Locker drew a comparison.
"I think each coach has a different style and different personality with which they take the head coaching job. There's differences between 'Munch' and Coach 'Whiz.' One similar thing I really respect in the both of them is they're honest," Locker said. "They don't beat around the bush on where you stand with them, and I think anytime you get a guy like that in this profession, it's awesome to have."
Locker said his rehab from foot surgery to repair a Lisfranc injury at or ahead of the rate he had in mind and he wants to do as much as he can during OTAs.
"I like what we're doing, and I've really enjoyed the opportunity to meet these coaches and learn the game of football from them," Locker said. "They've been successful in the past and I don't think it's by chance. They've got a formula that works and they're putting it in place here, and I think guys feel that and understand that."