Yup. That is indeed the case.
For the first time in 17 years, the Tennessee Volunteers will hire a new coach. Coach Phillip Fulmer has "forcefully resigned." So basically, he was fired.
All UT fans were asking for it. 2005 and 2008 have been unacceptable seasons. Many forget Tennessee had an SEC East championship last year, but that doesn't matter. No one cares.
Unless you win at least nine games every season, it's a failure. And I can't blame them for thinking that, because with as much talent as they have, nine wins would almost be underachieving.
Some people blame this failure on David Cutcliffe leaving for Duke, and forcing UT to hire a new offensive coordinator. Some blame it on Defensive Coordinator John Chavis for playing the DBs 15 yards off of the line of scrimmage on 75 percent of the plays.
Then, you have the people who blame Phillip Fulmer because they think he is the one actually calling the plays. They think he is actually the one telling the DBs to stay 15 yards off.
Maybe Phillip Fulmer is calling the offensive plays, but when looking at it, it doesn't make that much sense. Under David Cutcliffe, this offense was extremely successful. Under Randy Sanders, and now Dave Clawson, it's been just awful.
This means either 1) Cutcliffe is just a spectacular offensive coordinator, and the previous mentioned ones aren't, or 2) Fulmer only allowed Cutcliffe to call his plays.
When you look at the transition that Erik Ainge made from 2005 to 2006, it looks like Cutcliffe was just a great offensive minded person. Many UT fans doubted Erik Ainge after his poor performance in 2005, even after such a great start to a career in 2004.
But, as mentioned before, Cutcliffe turned it around. Every QB he has coached at UT has been successful. Peyton Manning, Tee Martin, and Erik Ainge, and every offense he's coached there has been very good, as well.
So, either Fulmer has chose the wrong offensive coordinators, or he just lets Cutcliffe call the plays. Regardless, Fulmer is gone, and it's time for a new era.
Who will be the coach in this new era? Names going around are: Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden, Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp, Duke Head Coach David Cutcliffe and retired Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Bill Cowher.
Right now, it looks like Jon Gruden is the main guy in the Vols' sights. He has connections to UT, and a lot of analysts and others who have connections to UT have stated Jon Gruden will definitely be the next head coach of the Volunteers.
One of those analysts is ESPN's Woody Paige, who graduated from UT. He made the statement saying "Jon Gruden will be the head coach of the Tennessee Volunteers in 2009. Guaranteed."
I think that Jon Gruden definitely is the best candidate for this job, and think he would do a great job for UT. Money certainly isn't an issue, UT has plenty to throw at him, even though they have to buy out Phillip Fulmer, but the main problem is, will Tampa Bay let him go?
He was on the hot seat for a couple of years until last year, when the reached the playoffs, and they're looking like they're on there way to another playoff berth so far. It's really looking like who will pay him more. Tampa Bay or Tennessee?
Now, whom I would chose if he wasn't available, and this is just going as a best fit for the program, is David Cutcliffe. I think he could definitely bring this program back on the map, but the problem are: 1. His age. 2. His health problems. 3. He has it made at Duke.
He's really turned it around at Duke, they already have four wins and are looking for a bowl game for the first time since 1994, if I remember correctly.
As far as Bill Cowher goes, I doubt him leaving for a college head coaching job, much less leaving for a NFL head coaching job, as he seems to enjoy his role as an analyst for the NFL on CBS.
Will Muschamp would be an okay fit for the program, but I think his stock has really dropped. He left the Auburn defensive coordinator job for the Texas defensive coordinator job, and he's not done too great there. I see him being a definite no, as far as him becoming the next head coach for UT.
I predict Jon Gruden to be the next head coach of UT, and to be very successful, as well. It'll be fun to watch over the off-season, that's for sure.