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Tennessee Coordinator Emerges as Duke Head Coach Candidate

Tennessee’s Broyles Award-nominated defensive coordinator, Tim Banks, has been a critical factor in Tennessee’s success this season. While Josh Heupel and Alex Golesh’s offense gets much of the publicity from the press, Banks’ defense hasn’t been too far behind in terms of importance.

Now it looks like Banks’ success could be earning him some recognition in the head coaching world.

On Sunday, in the midst of the Lincoln Riley and Oklahoma news, Duke and longtime coach David Cutcliffe agreed to part ways. According to Football Scoop’s John Brice, while doing an interview with 104.5 The Zone in Nashville, Banks could be a potential candidate for the Duke head coach position.

“I think Duke has a lot of potential and a lot of upside,” Brice said while on the “Blaine and Mickey” show Monday. “We saw David Cutcliffe win ten games there in the regular season. That’s been several years ago, but we saw David Cutcliffe win ten games there. I really like Marcus Freeman, the Notre Dame defensive coordinator, to be in the mix there. I would watch Tony Elliot, the Clemson offensive coordinator, to be in the mix there. And I’ve had a couple of different people tell me today that Tennessee defensive coordinator Tim Banks could become a viable candidate for Duke – especially in a year in which Banks has really elevated his stock and been named a semi-finalist for the Broyles Award, given annually to college football’s top assistant coach.”

In their first season under Banks, the Vols’ defense is allowing 27.5 points per game, which is down about three points from 2020’s mark. Additionally, the Vols gave up an average of 330 yards per game in the 2021 regular season.

Banks has been a class act for Tennessee during his first season. Throughout the year, players and coaches alike have raved about the impact that Banks has had on the program. Not only from an X’s and O’s perspective but also in leading the group of young men off the field in their day-to-day lives. On the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, Banks took a moment out of his press conference to talk about what he is thankful for, and why the Tennessee program has meant so much to him.

“I’m thankful for my family first and foremost,” Tennessee defensive coordinator Tim Banks said last Tuesday. “I get an opportunity to see them this weekend. And then, my football family. My players, these players have been awesome. Our football staff. We spend more time with our players and with the staff than we do with our actual families. I tell young coaches this all the time, I’m in a point in my career where I just want to be with good people. Life is short, your football career is even shorter, so I want to spend it with people I genuinely enjoy coming to work with. I can honestly say, from Coach Heupel to the defensive staff to our players, it’s been tremendous, even with the highs and then obviously the lows. It’s just been a great opportunity to be here, and I’m very thankful for it.”

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