Dear Tennessee, PLEASE Hire Lane Kiffin (And Not The Five Realistic Candidates)
Tennessee fired Butch Jones after a lackluster run. Please, Tennessee, hire Lane Kiffin – but here are five other more realistic candidates.
You’re tired of not winning football games, and we get it.
You were hoping for Butch Jones to be the type of rising superstar who could take the program back to the days when it was among the superpower of superpowers, but it not only didn’t work, it turned into a total disaster.
2016 was supposed to be the year when you were supposed to be the 2017 Georgia. You had all the pieces in place in a painfully weak division, and while going 9-4 was okay, the moment had passed.
It became obvious that Georgia under Kirby Smart was going to soon take over as the East’s star, and it was also a given that, eventually, Florida would implode under Jim McElwain, it wouldn’t work, and then it would hire a coach who would make Florida, Florida – Dan Mullen is probably that guy.
And why didn’t the Jones era work? He couldn’t beat Alabama and was bad against Florida and Georgia in his five years. That’s it. You can’t be the Tennessee head coach and not regularly beat the big three on the slate.
More than that, Jones was a bit – abrasive.
It’s hard to move on when your favorite head man is still hanging around the program to remind everyone of better times, and it’s harder when he’s a wonderfully charming human being like Phil Fulmer.
So it’s more than likely that Tennessee will go the younger, more personable route than Jones, just to get a breath of fresh air.
No, it’s not going to be Chip Kelly, and no, Jon Gruden – who likes to talk about being a head coach more than he actually seems to want to be one – isn’t going to take a college gig over a pro one.
The top realistic Tennessee head coach candidates? Matt Campbell from Iowa State and UCF’s Scott Frost are fantastic fits. They’re young, smart coaches who are the rising superstars in the business. Detroit offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter is the underground choice who might be an instant rock star, and Purdue’s Jeff Brohm is on the table as one of those Next Coach Up Guys.
I’d also throw in the idea of Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano, who won’t go this round of coaching changes without a gig.
But you know who you really want.
You know who we all really want.
Yeah, you don’t want drama, and yeah, you don’t want that personality clash, but in any other situation for any other program, the right guy at the right time is …
Lane Monte Kiffin.
Strip away all the other issues for a moment. You actually want the guy who’s going to poke the bear. You want the guy who you – in your heart of hearts – know can beat Nick Saban, and will make his life miserable, just like he did to Urban Meyer during that one season in 2009 when they were both fighting for the same SEC East recruits.
Yes, you know there will be drama, and yes, you know you’re probably going to fire him seven years from now and it’ll end very, very badly with a massive buyout to boot – but that goes for every candidate you’re looking at.
Get the guy who can win football games.
Lost in all the craziness was that Kiffin was good in his one year, going 7-6 in 2009 with a rebuilding Tennessee.
He never, ever, ever received enough credit at USC for trying to keep the thing going during the start of the Reggie Bush sanction era, going 10-2 in 2011 and with three winning seasons before getting kicked off the bus after a 3-2 start.
Kiffin is going to get a big-time head coaching gig again very, very soon.
You don’t walk into a place like Florida Atlantic and turn it into a likely Conference USA champion in just ten games – and, by the way, through all the hurricane issues – without knowing how to coach.
But again, it’s about who wants to deal with the drama and the inevitable headaches.
He’s also the exact right fit for UCLA, and he’d be great at either Arkansas or Texas A&M, but Tennessee is it.
He’ll suddenly make the offense great again, he’ll make sure Tennessee is consistently top ten in recruiting, and again, he’ll beat Alabama, and Georgia, and Florida every once in a while.
But more than that, please, do it for me.
Do it for all the college football media types out there who’d love nothing more than to make Tennessee into what Michigan is with Jim Harbaugh – click-candy and a non-stop source of material.
You want him, he wants you – if Louisville could hire back Bobby Petrino, you can get the right guy at the right time.