Sound Off: Tennessee embarrasses itself on national stage

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee football’s coaching search has become a national story — and one that won’t soon be forgotten.

In this season’s final episode of the “Sound Off” video series, SEC country reporters Mike Griffith and Blake Morgan discuss key events of the past week and look ahead to what could be next for former Vols coach Butch Jones.

Tennessee’s vacancy means that nine of the 14 SEC schools have changed coaches in the past two seasons, making it very clear how competitive the league is, and how determined other schools are to catch up to Alabama.

Interestingly enough, the Crimson Tide have only won one of the past four national titles and enter this weekend uncertain if they will make the College Football Playoff.

Tennessee, meanwhile, will miss out on playing in a bowl game for the first time  in four years  after winning bowl games in each of the past three seasons.

Here are three keys from the Vols’ crazy week on the coaching carousel:

1. The Greg Schiano misfire

If athletic director John Currie and booster Jimmy Haslam thought Tennessee fans would be accepting of Schiano, they severely misjudged the fan base. It has been alleged that Schiano, when he was a Penn State assistant in the 1990s, was aware of child molestation committed by disgraced Nittany Lions defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky. While the veracity of the claim hasn’t been substantiated, any connection to the Penn State scandal was a nonstarter for a number of fans. On the field, the Ohio State defensive coordinator did an admirable job building woeful Rutgers into a respectable program in the 2000s, but his lack of success in two seasons as Tampa Bay’s coach in the NFL left a sour taste with many.

2. The public rejections

Currie made offers to Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy and Purdue coach Jeff Brohm, two proven offensive minds that would have been able to bring life to Tennessee’s offense. Gundy and Brohm, however, did not accept offers  on Tuesday  and Wedne sday , forcing the Vols to move on.

3. Butch Jones’ future

Jones guided Tennessee through the Lane Kiffin-induced probation (through 2014), recruited through a Title IX lawsuit, improved academics and put the Vols back in the Top 25 in back to back seasons. It would seem he could be an attractive option for another program down the line — if not this offseason, then next.

Check back with  SEC Country daily for everything you need to know about  Tennessee football.

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