Last week, Scott Roussel of Football Scoop gave an update of where he believed Tennessee’s athletic director John Currie was looking for potential candidates to fill the Vols’ vacant head coaching position. Now he’s back with some more updates, and Vol fans may not like what he has to say.
To begin, Roussel states he hears these “whispers” from within coaching circles with coaches and scouts he talks to. And the information they’ve given him about Tennessee’s coaching search are interesting.
Roussel states that fan favorite Jon Gruden not only isn’t a candidate from Tennessee’s perspective, but that Gruden himself doesn’t believe he is.
“Several coaches tell us Jon Gruden has shared with folks at Tennessee and closely connected to Tennessee that he does not consider himself a candidate for the position,” Roussel writes. He adds that he continues to hear that Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher would listen if called, however.
But both of those candidates seem like long shots to Roussel. Two other names, though, seem more likely to him.
“David Cutcliffe is a viable candidate,” Roussel states. “We heard it early on and we keep hearing it.”
Cutcliffe, of course, is widely known to Vol fans already. He’s twice served as an offensive coordinator for the Vols and had major success both times. He’s been a head coach at Ole Miss and is currently the head coach at Duke.
Roussel also adds that he “continues to hear Mike Leach could be in play” for Tennessee. Leach has been a head coach at Texas Tech and is currently the head coach at Washington State where he’s turned around that program and found a great deal of success there over the last few years.
Interestingly, Roussel says that Scott Frost of Central Florida might not be as much of a long shot as some imagined. “Most coaches we’ve spoken with believe Frost is a better candidate at both Florida & Nebraska,” Roussel writes, “but we heard from a coach yesterday ‘Frosty could wind up in on Tennessee.'”
He goes on to say that UCF’s AD, Danny White, has said privately that he believes Frost stays at UCF despite all the chatter around him leaving for a bigger job.
Roussel also states that while writers have linked Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen and Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano to Tennessee, he’s not heard much about them in coaching circles.
“We’ve seen the chatter from many a writer that Dan Mullen is the best fit; but we aren’t hearing his name connected to this search that often from coaches we’ve spoken with,” Roussel adds. “Several national writers have floated Greg Schiano’s name. Might happen but we haven’t heard that much in the wind.”
And if Tennessee fails to land any of those candidates? Roussel believes Currie could look to his old stomping grounds and try to hire another former Vol offensive coordinator. But Vol fans don’t like this former OC nearly as much as they do Cutcliffe.
Dave Clawson has had a fair amount of success as a head coach at Richmond, Bowling Green, and now Wake Forest. Currie is a Wake Forest alum, and Roussel thinks that if Tennessee misses on their top names, Currie may come looking for Clawson.
“The man is a good football coach,” Roussel says of Clawson. “He had a tough 2008 season at Tennessee as OC; but you live and learn. Could Currie make this hire after exploring all options? Some coaches we’ve spoken with believe the answer is yes.”