Every year in college football one of the most interesting story lines to follow around bowl season is coaching staff turnover.
A move that seems simple, like Florida hiring Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp as their next head coach, causes a chain reaction of coaching changes that sends shockwaves through the entire sport.
Texas, in turn, hires a proven defensive coordinator from another school. That school may choose to attempt to poach a talented position coach from another staff, leaving a void on yet another staff, and so on and so forth.
The premium job for assistant coaches around the country this season is the aforementioned Texas defensive coordinator job and one name that continues to pop up for the Texas job is Tennessee defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox.
Many in Austin and some in Knoxville seem to think that these claims have some legitimacy and that Wilcox is likely the favorite to be named the next Texas DC. Which beckons the question, if Wilcox does decide to leave Knoxville for Austin, where do the Volunteers go from here?
One potential option would be to promote someone already in house, the most logical of the choices being Tennessee linebackers coach Lance Thompson or defensive backs coach/recruiting coordinator Terry Joseph.
Thompson has experience as a coordinator from 2004 to 2006 at UCF under George O'Leary and would likely be the favorite if Derek Dooley decided to promote a current staff member, but many deemed his term as coordinator there largely unsuccessful.
Thompson is an ace recruiter and was named Rivals.com recruiter of the year in 2008 when he was still at Alabama. He has been extremely popular in his two seasons with the Vols, but the obstacle here seems to be whether or not he is ready for a lead job again.
Joseph, on the other hand, does not have coordinating experience but that hasn't stopped him from emerging as one of the better young coaches in college football. The general feedback from his time here at Tennessee is that the kids like him and he has a good rapport with many incoming recruits, but is the 37-year-old New Orleans native ready for the responsibilities of an SEC coordinator?
Promoting somebody inside the football family certainly makes the transition easier for the remainder of this season, in terms of keeping the Vols' top-25 recruiting class intact and keeping the current team collected and focused. However, that doesn't necessarily mean that it is the best option for this program in the long haul.
If Wilcox leaves, Tennessee will likely be forced to look at candidates outside the program.
One name to watch out for is Clemson defensive coordinator and Tennessee graduate, Kevin Steele. Steele's name popped up last year when Coach Dooley was putting together his staff and it is likely that he would be a target in the event of a move.
All that being said, if you're a Tennessee fan you should be hoping that Wilcox's pending move to Texas is indeed just a rumor. It's been a fragile time for Tennessee football over the past several years and stability going forward is going to be key in the rebuilding process.
Having Wilcox on board, even if it is only for another season or two, would make things a lot simpler on Rocky Top as the Vols surge ahead towards relevance again.
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