Whisenhunt optimistic in Year 1 with Titans

INDIANAPOLIS -- The AFC South will have two new head coaches next season: Ken Whisenhunt in Tennessee and Bill O’Brien in Houston.

O’Brien is returning to the NFL after spending the past two seasons as the coach at Penn State. Whisenhunt, on the other hand, has fresh memory of teams in the AFC South.

The San Diego Chargers, where Whisenhunt was the team’s offensive coordinator, played teams from the AFC South last season.

The Chargers ran for 147 yards and were 7-of-14 on third down in their 19-9 victory over the Colts last October.

Whisenhunt is taking over a Tennessee team that finished 7-9 last season, including going 0-2 against Indianapolis. The Colts, who have the longest-tenured coach in the division in Chuck Pagano, won the division with an 11-5 record.

“If you look at what happened in Kansas City last year, you never know how things are going to change from year to year,” Whisenhunt said Thursday at the scouting combine. “I have a lot of respect for this division. I’ve played teams a number of times here. I’m excited about being in this division and competing.”

The Chiefs went from 2-14 in 2012 to having a complete turnaround by going 11-5 last season.