Vols Assistant Linked to Open UTEP Head Coach Position

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    Mid-season coaching changes are already happening around college football, and one Vol assistant coach has been named as a potential replacement for one of those open positions.

    UTEP head coach Sean Kugler resigned this weekend after his team started this season 0-5. Kugler was just 18-36 with UTEP and had just one winning season (2014) in his four-plus seasons as head coach of the Miners.

    Now that the job is open, coaches around the country are starting to be linked to the job. And Chris Vannini of The Athletic has tied Tennessee assistant coach Mike Canales to the open position.

    Canales joined the Vols this offseason to be Tennessee’s quarterbacks coach. He left Utah State where he was an associate head coach, running backs coach, and tight ends coach to join the Vols.

    But Canales doesn’t just have experience as an assistant coach. He’s one of four coaches on Tennessee’s staff with head coaching experience.

    Canales served as an interim head coach twice for North Texas, going 3-9 overall in his two stints as interim head coach there. He also has experience as an associate head coach, offensive coordinator, and quarterbacks coach elsewhere besides Tennessee.

    Tennessee’s quarterbacks haven’t looked stellar under Canales’ direction this season thus far. The Vols as a whole are completing just 54.7 percent of their passes for 979 yards, seven touchdowns, and six interceptions.

    Nathanael Rutherford is the managing editor and social media manager for Rocky Top Insider. Nathanael graduated from the University of Tennessee and cultivated a passion for the Vols while growing up in Knoxville a mere 10 minutes from Neyland Stadium. He's been a part of the RTI team since November of 2015 and has been the editor of RTI since June of 2017. If he's not talking or writing about Tennessee athletics, he's probably talking about Star Wars.