So with all the buzz about the Phillip Fulmer hot seat you have to think who does Tennessee need to go out and get to bring Big Orange football back to greatness. There is no question in my mind it is time for Tennessee to clean house, I say empty the offices and leave nothing in the locker room but the players. There have already been names thrown around to take the throne in Knoxville, its time that I review my own top choices to raise the proverbial ship from the depths. Personally I want to get someone who has never seen the likes of Southeastern Conference football, a rising star or a NFL great. Those are my two options and here are my top 5 prospects in no particular order. Volball hires.
Why: Whittingham has done an excellent job at Utah. He has been the head coach for three season in Ute country and has lead them to three bowl games, and won all three. They have broken into the top 25 this college football year and are sitting at #14 right now with BCS buster potential. Prior to serving as head coach at Utah Whittingham was the school’s defensive coordinator for 10 years. Kyle Whittingham was offered the head coaching position after you guessed it Urban Myer took over at Florida. People haven’t mentioned this name a whole bunch and it probably won’t happen but, I am praying Mike Hamilton looks out West for this sleeping giant.
Why: Davis is a fiery coach currently located at the University of North Carolina, a great job no doubt but, Tennessee would be an excellent step up for this Tarheel. Davis has proven himself in the college ranks and knows how to create winning college football teams. He has the Carolina flying high this season as a top 25 team. He has won Super Bowls with the Cowboys and a National Championship with the Miami Hurricanes as an assistant coach both places. The man knows how to win, this is a quality we need at the University of Tennessee right now. Davis’ name has already been thrown around some posting on the internet and it has this Vol fan smiling.
Why: Intensity. Gruden has it and I want it. Its no secret Tennessee lacks intensity on the sidelines with head coach Phillip Fulmer. The simple fact is players want to play for a coach that is as emotional, passionate, and heavy hearted, for example Nick Saban, Les Miles, and Urban Meyer. Gruden has that spark and not only that spark but ties to Rocky Top as well. Gruden received his masters from Tennessee and his wife is an Alum as well. He has already said this is a college coaching interest of his and would welcome the opportunity. He won a Super Bowl in his very first season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, not saying he could take us to the top right out of the gate but you never know.
Why: Muschamp is fiery one. You may see a trend in my picks by now. He has experience in the SEC from a defensive stand point and is looking for a big time head coaching position. Currently he is sitting pretty as the defensive coordinator for the #1 ranked Texas Longhorns. Most of all, he is YOUNG! Muschamp is a ripe 37 years of age. He played at Georgia and understands what it takes to win football games. He knows how to recruit like a beast as well, something we need right now with Big Orange recruiting on a downhill slide. I say its unlikely we will see Mr. Muschamp on the sidelines but, this Vol fan would be beemin’ if we did.
Why: Sure not a lot of success in the NFL with the Raiders but, talk about success with the University of Southern California Trojans. What can you say, in 2005 Kiffin took over the duties as offensive coordinator, recruiting coordinator, and receivers coach for the Trojans. The man is a beast. And another youngster, only 31 years of age. Definitely a fresh face who knows the ranks of college football. And after developing names like Matt Leinhart, Reggie Bush, Dwayne Jarret, and Steve Smith can you really argue this guy knows talent. He didn’t get them there but he did use them to the best of their ability, something Tennessee is struggling with right now. And although he didn’t get those players to USC, in Kiffin’s 3 year stent as recruiting coordinator the Trojans had the nations #1 recruiting class all three years!
Now that I have told you my top 5 prospects I have to give you my do nots for Tennessee football. The coaches I am begging Mike Hamilton not to call in the coming weeks. As I said I want someone on the rise, someone looking for their start, or someone who has been to the top. Nothing mediocre, if you haven’t noticed ever since 1998 we have been mediocre. If you want mediocre we don’t need to spend any money, its on our sidelines every Saturday. Now the do nots. Volball says no!
Why: Are you kidding me? You call yourself a Tennessee fan? Obviously you are not if you are considering the Old Ball Coach as an option for the Big Orange. Spurrier was a cold blooded reptile for a full decade, a Gator thru and thru. There should be no coach Tennessee fans hate more, although Urban Meyer is climbing higher and higher with every win. Sure he is a great football coach, there is no doubt about that. But, based off principle alone you should not turn to this man to cure the cold in Knoxville.
Why: Thats right folks I said it. No way, I can’t turn to Mr. Cutcliffe. There is no other man I want in Knoxville more than Coach Cut. But, not at the helm. He is a great Offensive Coordinator and he turns decent Quarterbacks into stars. Despite being a great offensive mind I don’t see him being a GREAT head coach. He had a decent run a Ole’ Miss and some argue he didn’t have the time to take the program as far as he could have. He may not have had ample time, those folks may be right. I just don’t see Coach Cut taking us to a National Title as a head coach. Sorry everyone, I realize he is a front runner but, he definitely is not for this Big Orange fan.
Why: Discpline. The Vols already have a problem with keeping their youngsters out of trouble. Smith has made excuses for players like Lance Briggs and Tank Johnson. I really don’t want a guy coming into Knoxville who has placed his players above the law, EVER. For me how a coach disciplines a football team and/or handles his team is the biggest thing for me as a fan. I have before and continue to make the argument that discipline is the single best thing a head coach can bring to an organization. It keeps players focused, grounded, and real. In today’s college football world you see players, teams, and even coaches thinking they are larger than life and that is unacceptable. That is what Lovie brings to the table in my book, his Bears thought they were larger than life while Tony Dungy’s Colts went about their business. Result was not a Super Bowl title for Lovie’s Bears.
I as much as anyone am ready for a change in the Tennessee coaching staff. That is not to say I don’t appreciate and acknowledge what Phillip Fulmer has done for Tennessee football. Phil has bleed Orange for three decades, he has played, coached, and loved everything about Knoxville ever since he stepped into the city. I am just ready for a new age in Tennessee football, I think a new coaching staff is the best move at this point. And although I have continued to write about the needed change on Rocky Top my thoughts are with Phil and his family during this extremely tough time.
Until next time. Go Vols. Keep reading. Volball out.