Thursday, October 25, 2012

1 Is Gruden the sure thing everyone thinks?

By Kenny Howell

The Tennessee message boards exploded yesterday because someone who was supposedly in the know posted that Jon Gruden replacing Derek Dooley was a done deal. We had a story on all the chatter, and it was our biggest story we've had in our short existence by a long shot.

But is Gruden the sure thing that everyone expects? He will most likely bring in elite talent. He is well known because of his Monday Night Football gig. And his show Jon Gruden's QB Camp is probably seen by every high school quarterback in the country. But again, there is a not a guarantee that is how it will shake out.

And recruiting isn't everything. Obviously, it makes it a lot easier, but Auburn has had a top 10 class the last three years. They are 1-6 this year. Texas has been top three, three out of the last four years. The other year they were fifth. And they have been a big bag of mediocre the last few years. UCLA, Michigan and Miami have also had a top 10 class in one of the last three years.

People are assuming as well that Gruden is a dynamite coach. He's a good coach, obviously, because of his Super Bowl ring, and I am pretty sure they don't hire bad coaches in the NFL. But his coaching record is not that impressive overall. He won the Super Bowl in his first year with the Bucs, so pretty much Tony Dungy's team. Not to take away anything from Gruden, who had success in Oakland (38-26), but it wasn't his players. Following that first year, Gruden was 45-51 with the Bucs. He never won another playoff game, and only made it twice in six years.

Compare that to Mike Sherman. Sherman was 59-43 in the NFL as coach of the Green Bay Packers, and made the playoffs four out of six years. He was fired after a bad 4-12 season, and was hired at Texas A&M. Over four years at College Station, he was 25-25 with only one winning season. His recruiting wasn't bad, in the 15-25 range every year, so one could assume that Gruden would do better. But then again, it's not a sure thing. Most likely true because of Gruden's personality, but you never know.

This is not to say that Gruden wouldn't have success at Tennessee. He could be a great coach. He could bring them back to the top, and maybe pretty quick with the good team that Dooley has built. But some delusional Vol fans are already telling Nick Saban to watch out when this guy hasn't been a Head Coach of a single college football game.

Also, he is not even a sure thing for the job. I have done some very scientific research (not really), and I have determined that the internet is full of crap. Especially commenters on websites. Basically, they have tricked me into writing this column because I think that Gruden might come to UT now, and I am even full of crap half the time. Dang internets.

So let's cool our jets on the Gruden winning multiple SEC Championships in his first five years, and Saban crapping his pants every time he sees the Chucky movies on TV cause he knows what's coming. Gruden may be good at UT. But let's not bet the bank on it.

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