It appears that Georgia defensive coordinator Mel Tucker remains squarely in the crosshairs of whoever is now conducting the Tennessee head coaching search.
VolSearch, the second longest running US daytime drama behind The Young and the Restless, has careened from candidate to candidate since the November firing of Butch Jones. It may be the only college head coaching search in which the hunter became the hunted, with AD John Currie getting sacked in favor of retired coach and older fella who hangs around your local McDonald’s drinking coffee and complaining about fertilizer prices, Phil Fulmer.
Earlier reports had Tucker meeting with Tennessee officials, but ESPN’s Mark Schlabach is now reporting that a second meeting will occur today in New York, the site of tonight’s College Football Hall of Fame ceremony inducting legendary quarterback, insurance pitchman, and forehead model Peyton Manning.
Georgia defensive coordinator Mel Tucker is interviewing for a second time with Tennessee officials in New York on Tuesday, sources told ESPN— Mark Schlabach (@Mark_Schlabach) December 5, 2017
Tucker would be a solid hire for the Vols, an experienced defensive coach with NFL bona fides, solid recruiting chops, and an SEC pedigree. His hiring wouldn’t really bother old line Fulmerite fans who want the school to get out of the headlines and Lane Kiffin’s time line as quickly as possible.
It would also meet the SEC mandate that all head coaches in the league have spent at least one season as an assistant to Nick Saban. Not to mention the longstanding rubric of “hiring the guy who oversaw the best part of our rival who’s currently really good” which obviously works every time.
If Tucker does decamp to Knoxville, look for Tennessee fans to clamor for him to bring offensive line coach Sam Pittman with him. Pittman had a short stint as the OL coach in Knoxville before going to Arkansas after Butch Jones parted ways with him. If you had not already noticed, Butch Jones is not a particularly good football decision maker.
Tucker is among a group of prominent assistants (Auburn’s Kevin Steele, Alabama’s Jeremy Pruitt) who appear to be gaining consideration for available openings. It’s certainly possible that Tucker is positioning for a raise in Athens, which I expect he and every Georgia coach to receive pretty soon after the season ends. But Tucker will be 46 in January, so there’s some thought that he’s reached the window to jump into the head coaching ranks if ever he intends to. We’ll be back with updates on this story if and when it develops. Feel free to freak out amongst yourselves in the interim.