NASHVILLE, Tenn. --The Tennessee Titans hired Giff Smith as defensive line coach.
Smith has 22 years of coaching experience, including three in the NFL. He spent three seasons (2010-12) as the defensive line coach for the Buffalo Bills. Prior to moving to the pro ranks, he spent seven seasons (2004-09) as the defensive line coach at Georgia Tech.
"What I really liked about Giff was his versatility with the defensive line – he has done both 3-4 and 4-3, which means he is flexible enough to adapt and yet still get good production out of his players," said Titans head coach Ken Whisenhunt. "I know from having to play against him two years ago what a difficult challenge it was facing that group and how well he handled them. So we are excited to get Giff here to work with our defensive line."
In his three years in Buffalo, Smith worked in both 4-3 (2012) and 3-4 (2010-11) defensive fronts. In 2012, defensive end Mario Williams led the team with 10.5 sacks in his first season with the Bills. He guided rookie NT Marcell Dareus to 5.5 sacks and 10 tackles for loss in 2011, and helped DT Kyle Williams earn his first Pro Bowl selection in 2010 as he posted a then-career best 5.5 sacks and again in 2012.
"I think it is an exciting time, working with someone like coach Whisenhunt and his track record, being able to win and get to a Super Bowl," said Smith. "To be a part of that and also to be a part of what Ray Horton has been able to do defensively is an exciting time and I am looking forward to being a part of it. As a coach, I believe in execution of the defensive plan and being technique-oriented. I am aggressive in style, I believe in pressuring the quarterback and being physical against the run. I believe you can continue to develop players – whether it is college or the pros. Kyle Williams hadn't been to a Pro Bowl and we were able to get him to his first two. I am looking forward to working with Derrick Morgan again and keep improving his game. I have known him since his high school days in Pennsylvania and he is an excellent football player and an excellent person."
Prior to moving to the pro ranks, Smith spent 19 years in the college ranks, including six seasons (2004-09) at Georgia Tech as the defensive line coach. Highlights from his time with the Yellow Jackets included the Georgia Tech defense leading the nation in sacks (47) in 2007, and coaching current Titans defensive end Derrick Morgan to ACC Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2009. Morgan totaled 12.5 sacks in his final college season and 19.5 over his three-year career. In five of the six seasons, the defense ranked in the top 20 in rushing defense.
Smith spent five seasons (1999-03) as the defensive line coach at Tulane. The final three years he added the title of associate head coach as well. Before his time at Tulane, Smith spent three seasons (1996-98) at his alma mater, Georgia Southern, coaching the secondary and then the wide receivers. He started his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Arkansas (1991-93) and Georgia (1994-95).
Smith was a three-time All-America defensive end at Georgia Southern. He served as a team-captain as a senior and was a part of three NCAA I-AA national title teams (1986, 1989, 1990). Smith was inducted into the Eagles Athletic Hall of Fame in 2000.
A native of Georgia, Smith and his wife Jennifer have two children: Ava and Sam.