Randy Smith: The Next Nick Saban?

Friday, October 27, 2017 - by Randy Smith
Randy Smith
Randy Smith
While Tennessee football fans sit and wait until the other shoe falls in the Coach Butch Jones scenario, many different names continue to pop up as a potential replacement and these names continue to recycle over and over again. Come on Tennessee fans use your imagination. You have been calling for Jon Gruden to be the Vols' head coach since Phillip Fulmer was let go in 2008. And forget about Bob Stoops...he doesn't want to coach anymore. Lane Kiffin? You've got to be kidding. I saw a post the other day that stated the Vols were going to bring Kiffin back and hire Tee Martin as the offensive coordinator. How long did it take that guy to think that one up. Obviously some people have too much time on their hands.

There is a good reason college athletic programs hire directors like John Currie. They know how to look for new coaches and they know what to look for. In other words, let John Currie do his job and stop trying to help. Believe me, Currie is not paying a bit of attention to Facebook posts, Twitter accounts and sports talk shows. 

I have heard on more than one occasion this phrase, "We need to find the next Nick Saban." Sure every college in the world would love to have the "next Nick Saban" but the names being bandied around by Vols' fans are -not- the next Saban. They have already proven that they are not even close to Coach Saban.

Earlier this week I drew up my own list of five candidates for the job, if and when Butch Jones is fired.

5. Tee Martin - Southern Cal offensive coordinator.
Martin is a former Vol who knows the SEC very well. He has done a good job in directing the Trojans' offense and is a proven winner, also a good recruiter.

4. Jim Bob Cooter - Detroit Lions offensive coordinator.
Also a former Vol, Cooter has developed quite a reputation in the NFL as an OC and as a developer of quarterbacks.

3. P.J. Fleck - Head Coach University of Minnesota.
Fleck has established himself as one of the best young coaches around. Recruits well and is a public relations dream.

2. Mike Norvell - Head Coach University of Memphis.
Coach Norvell has done a great job since taking over when Justin Fuentes moved to Virginia Tech. He's 14-6 at Memphis so far and that includes a shoot out win over UCLA. Memphis is arguably the best team in Tennessee right now.

1. Dan Mullen - Head Coach Mississippi State. 
Mullen has already been suggested as the prime candidate for the job by SEC guru Paul Finebaum. He is an established winner at a school where winning has always been extremely tough. He has a reputation as a great developer of quarterbacks, such as Tim Tebow, Dak Prescott and Nick Fitzgerald. There is already a group of Tennessee boosters who are pushing Mullen for the job.

There you have my list. Is the "next Nick Saban" among those five? Probably not. After all, coaches like Saban only come around  every couple of generations. He's that good.

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