Now, What Do the Vols Cling To, the Fulmer Era, Part II?

Jim FolsomContributorJanuary 14, 2010

DURHAM, NC - NOVEMBER 14:  Head coach David Cutcliffe of the Duke Blue Devils looks on against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Wallace Wade Stadium on November 14, 2009 in Durham, North Carolina. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Let me see if I got this right. You had a coach who was 152-52. So you fired him. You hired a coach to take his place who was 5-15. He runs off with another with you grabbing at his leg, while he drags you out into the driveway before breaking free. So you hire the top assistant coach from the guy you fired just last year, a guy with a record of 53-44 as a head coach. Hey it aint 152-52 but it's a whole hell of a lot better than 12-21.

Tennessee, you are screwed. You have a guy for your head coach who has never won unless his QB's last name is Manning. I don't think Archie is making anymore babies. And even if he got started now, it's going to be 18 years before he's ready to enroll at college. Does Peyton have a son?

Just two years ago when you fired this guy, or at least made him the scapegoat so Phil could have one last shot, the best job this guy could find was Duke? The basketball school? The school famous for the lacrosse team (or maybe infamous), Duke? You say Spurrier got his start there? Yes he did. START being the key word. When you've been a head coach at Ole Miss and a top assistant at Tennessee, if you wind up at Duke, it's because your career is winding down.

Here are some names of coaches that MAYBE you should have at least picked up the phone and called before hiring David Cutcliffe. Tony Dungy, Jon Gruden, Brian Billick, all with Super Bowl rings. None has a job right now in coaching. How about going the hot young assistant route? Brian Schottenheimer. He learned under Spurrier. His team right now is two wins from the Super Bowl with a QB that could've been playing college ball this year. I know Will Muschamp turned you down. So does that mean you give up? How about Kyle Whittingham. Going the Utah route worked out for Florida.

Here's another guy I would've hired before Cutcliffe. Kippy Brown. Here's a guy that is loyal to Tennessee. He's been a coach at UT three times. He turned down Kiffin's offer to go to LA. He also kept the angry players from taking a swing at Lanie when he told them he was bailing on them.That tells me that the players listen to him. He can recruit. He brought Peerless Price in to UT among others. He has been a coach in the NFL, which is a great selling point to the top notch high school players.

Most of all though, he is hard to tie to Phil Fulmer. Imagine a kid is being recruited by Coach Cut. That same kid is being recruited by Urban Meyer, Steve Spurrier, and Nick Saban. ALL of those guys will tell this kid, "son, this coaching staff at UT is the same as the one they had that got Fulmer fired. We beat this guy like a rented mule." How is he supposed to recruit against that? If they tried that with Brown, at least he could say he was in the NFL went things went south. Heck, he could even claim his leaving was WHY things went badly.

Plus, how could you NOT be impressed with this man watching his press conference. This guy was the anti-Lane. He was polite, but confident. He was straight-forward. He was knowledgeable. He was bleeding pumpkin/kumquat/creamsicle or whatever shade of Orange that is. He repeatedly stated that Tennessee was there when he got there and will be there after he's gone and that nobody is bigger than Tennessee. He had ME wanting to bust out a chorus of Rocky Top. Hopefully Cut will have the good sense to make him a coordinator/coach in waiting. Until he takes over, don't expect miracles.