Over the next few weeks we'll try to keep you posted on what is being whispered in the coaching circles.
Tennessee has the history, the commitment, the facilities and really the players; what they need now is someone who can rally the Vol Nation back into the force it should be.
With the disclosure that we do not know who John Currie ultimately will hire, we share the following whispers that we have been hearing within the coaching profession....
Jon Gruden has no interest in being the next head coach at Tennessee. This is not happening. No one is being contacted about potentially joining his staff. Move on Vol fans...
More than one coach has mentioned to us that he has heard "Jimbo Fisher is willing to listen." - This one makes no sense to us here at FootballScoop, but it is a datapoint in so far as how odd it is that it is even being whispered. Why Jimbo would want to leave the FSU lifestyle to recruit on a plane more often than not is a head scratcher, but we're sharing what we're hearing.
"David Cutcliffe is on Currie's list." - Several coaches have shared with us that Currie plans to vet Cut. There are a lot of reasons why this is the hire UT should make. There also are those within the base that would be mildly disappointed with the hire should it happen. Cut is a heck of a football coach and knows how to win at UT.
"P.J. Fleck is on Currie's list too." - We've heard it from more than one source. Fleck, last year's hottest name after going 13-0 in the regular season at Western Michigan, has a reasonable buyout at Minnesota. Fleck would rally the players and the fans, getting them to row in the same direction. Imagine the visual of Fleck rowing on the Tennessee River right up to Neyland... The question the fans will have is can Fleck out-coach Nick Saban in their annual matchup. Fleck's response, "I went 13-0 at Western, give me a shot. Row the boat. Go Vols."
"Is Leach in play for Tennessee?" - Several coaches have asked us that question. The sense is Leach is about to get a big contract, either at Wazzu or elsewhere. Leach has proven he can recruit, has won more than most thought possible at TTU & WSU, is a character and a football coach (somehow feels perfect for Tennessee) and is the type who could out-scheme /out-adjust many of the coaches in the SEC. So, is he on the list? We'll all find out soon enough.
Scott Frost - Most coaches we've heard from believe is a better candidate at Florida & Nebraska.
Dan Mullen - Has all the job security in the world in Starkville. Why risk it here? Upside is a couple of million dollars & potentially an easier shot to play for a National Championship? Downside is significant. Know what $4.5 million buys in Starkville? - Answer: Anything you want & more.
Jeff Brohm - There is no question Jeff Brohm's offense is one of the most exciting & effective in college football. His buyout is definitely manageable for Tennessee. The pause from coaches is, "I don't know that he's ready to lead that program. Have to recruit nationally. His staff would likely need some changes. Do you trust him to out coach Nick, Kirby, Muschamp and whoever Florida hires each year?"
Certainly there are other candidates; but the chatter within the profession thus far seems to have focused on these men.
As always, will update The Scoop as more is clear.