KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee football fans believe they have a top 10 program, and athletic director John Currie promised them a championship caliber coach after firing Butch Jones on Nov. 12.
To date, the Vols’ coaching search has been a fiasco, accentuated with the biggest coaching hire and immediate fire turnaround blunder since Alabama’s 2003 hiring and firing of Mike Price.
Speaking of which, Tennessee’s program is in about the same kind of shape that the Tide’s was pre-Nick Saban, after Mike Shula settled things in Tuscaloosa after getting eased in on the heels of infamous Price flub.
Jones, fired after five seasons, cleaned up a lot spilled leftovers from Lane Kiffin and Derek Dooley, arguably the worst two back-to-back hires in the SEC in modern-day history.
But delivering Top 25 seasons wasn’t and won’t be enough on Rocky Top, so Tennessee entrusted Currie to find a coach that can put the Vols back into the SEC Championship Game for what would be the first time since 2007.
SEC Country spoke to an FBS head coaching candidate about how the Vols’ job appears — the positives and the negatives of the Tennessee job.
Here’s what he said:
3 reasons to take the Tennessee job
1. SEC East appears open, though Georgia has momentum
The challenge here is that both Florida and Georgia have more fertile in-state recruiting, producing much bigger numbers.
2. Facilities appeal to recruits
While no longer the biggest or the best, the Vols still have Top 10 facilities and plenty of money to enhance or add more. Putting $340 million into Neyland Stadium has been questioned, however, as the improvements being talked about would not attract recruits.
3. Passionate fan base, high attendance
Tennessee has been one of only seven schools to average more than 100,000 in the SEC — but last season they were fourth in the league behind Texas A&M, Alabama and LSU.
3 reasons not to take the Tennessee job
1. Team is not as close to competing for championship as fans believe
The Vols quarterback situation was not as strong as many hoped after Josh Dobbs’ departure. Many games that could have been won with stellar play at the position were instead lost, quarterbacks unable to make plays in the red zone.
2. Team appears to lack leadership within player ranks
Player fights at practice are one thing, but when team leaders get suspended and starters miss games on account of injuries from the fight, things have gone too far. When the most productive offensive player is suspended for a marijuana citation midweek, midseason, it makes a statement about team priorities.
3. Flip side of fans, unrealistic expectations
Tennessee is No. 9 all-time win wins among FBS programs, but the Vols have lost four of their last six games to Vanderbilt, and the team has not finished in the Top 10 since 2001, nor has it even played in the SEC Championship Game since 2007. Current recruits have not see Tennessee play in a BCS level or New Year’s Six level bowl (last appearance was after 1999 season, Fiesta Bowl).
The post Head coaching candidate shares pros and cons of Tennessee football job appeared first on SEC Country.
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