Face it. Tennessee football can’t lure top-notch coaches to its program right now. Danny White’s decision to hire Josh Heupel lent itself to a lot of suspicion that he was rejected by more high-profile coaches given the situation of the program.
Well, now Heupel is reportedly having trouble putting together his staff due to rejections. Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports revealed that UT was showing interest in Louisville Cardinals defensive coordinator Bryan Brown.
It’s hard to know how far that went. However, it’s clear that Brown was going to reject Tennessee football. Feldman tweeted out that Brown has decided to stay with Louisville and is excited about the direction of the program under Scott Satterfield.
SOURCES: After getting interest from #Tennessee about the Vols defensive coordinator vacancy, Bryan Brown is staying at #Louisville. Have heard he’s excited about the direction of U of L’s program; about the defense there and also he has strong ties to Scott Satterfield.
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) February 4, 2021
In previous years, that would seem like a major gut-punch to Vol fans. Why would Brown stay at Louisville? This team just went 4-7 and is in the ACC Atlantic Division, having to face the Florida State Seminoles and Clemson Tigers every year.
The answer is pretty simple. Rocky Top is an impossible sell for a defensive coordinator with options. Issues permeating throughout the program make it a hard sell for coaches in general. UT may go on probation soon due to a serious NCAA investigation, it’s talent pool is depleted, and it still has to face the Florida Gators, Georgia Bulldogs and Alabama Crimson Tide every year.
On top of all that, though, any defensive coordinator will have to coach in Heupel’s system. It’s pretty well-documented now that Heupel’s teams, while fun to watch and certain to draw fans, is not a great sell for a defensive coordinator aspiring to be a head coach.
No matter what happens, Tennessee football won’t be running clock when it has the ball. The Vols will be pushing the tempo to either a quick turnover, a quick three-and-out or a quick score. So many extra possessions means more opportunities to allow points and yards defensively, and the defense will be more tired as the game goes on in the process.
Regardless of how you may feel about that system, no defensive coordinator wants to oversee that unit. It effectively kills any chance they may have to be a head coach in the future, as any success that comes on Rocky Top will be a reflection of the offense.
However, the issue of success alone is a question too. There is a 100 percent chance that the Vols will be near the bottom of the SEC in all defensive statistics next year simply due to the system. Add in the fact that it was bad last year, tons of players have left and potential probation could limit the talent pool and it could be historically bad for the next few years.
Taking that into account, Brown probably isn’t the only coach who will reject Tennessee football. USC Trojans defensive coordinator Todd Orlando also appears to have rejected them, according to Football Scoop. That’s more expected since he is at USC. In general, though, UT is not the place many coaches want to be at, and that’s especially true for defensive coaches.