Update [2007-12-14 12:2:9 by Joel]: Well, so much for the GVX source they cited late last night saying the job had been offered. Cutcliffe just met with the media and said it had not. From GVX:
Not much meat on that bone, but plenty to gnaw on.
Update [2007-12-14 7:45:31 by Joel]: Keep in mind that as of right now, nothing's official. Curiously, GoVolsXtra is down right now. The story linked below did in fact cite a source in reporting that Cutcliffe had been offered by Duke and that he would likely accept. But still . . . nothing official. Stay tuned. Keep your eye on ESPN's Chris Low, the best-sourced guy on these matters.
GoVolsXtra cites a source within the Tennessee football program expecting offensive coordinator David Cutcliffe to accept an offer to become the head coach for the Duke Blue Devils.
Yikes that happened fast. As of right now, Cutcliffe's not talking, Fulmer's not talking, and athletic director Mike Hamilton is "declining comment."
The unidentified source knows not whether Cutcliffe will continue to coach Tennessee's offense through the Outback Bowl.
Okay, fine. Good luck to you, coach Cut. Seriously. Vol fans, fret not for this year. Remember, Cutcliffe left early for Ole Miss and didn't coach in the 1998 National Championship game and that turned out just fine. There's power in unknown tendencies.
But what about next year? Who's available? Did anybody even think this was a possibility or has Hamilton been caught completely off guard?
And how does Jonathan Crompton -- who's patiently waited his turn for the Manning-Maker's undivided attention -- feel about the whole thing? Hey, he's from North Carolina, isn't he? Hmm.
More tomorrow, no doubt.
Update [2007-12-14 6:54:59 by Joel]: Still nothing official yet this morning. I'll be tied up at work most of the day, so if you see an official announcement, be sure to post it in the comments below. Also, let's talk replacements. A plan: (1) brainstorm a few names of available candidates; (2) look at the schools with the best offenses to see who we might be able to swipe from someone else; and (3) do some preliminary research on those guys. It's almost 7:00 a.m. now, and I'll get as far as I can and post what I have at 7:30. All y'all take it from there.
Update [2007-12-14 7:38:25 by Joel]: Okay, so this is all I have for now.
Trooper Taylor. Initial gut reactions. I love this guy, and make no mistake, he's more than just a chest bumper. He's got the right work ethic, and he's a fantastic, principled guy to have around. He can certainly recruit and motivate. In his first two years, he redirected first the underachieving stable of running backs and then an underachieving corps of receivers. Best of luck, Troop.
Al Borges. Offensive darling of the SEC for a couple of ears. I'm sorry, years. I meant to say years. Last couple of years, his production dropped off. Have SEC defensive coordinators figured him out? Still, he might be the "safest" hire, and we all know that The Papa likes safe. He's a "west coast" offense guy, not one of those spread guys.
How about Norm Chow? Yeah, right, but this brings up an interesting question. The only way you could attract somebody like that is to hint that upward mobility into the head coaching position is imminent. What does that do to the guys already there? Would any of them be miffed that their long-term loyalty to the program has suddenly been snuffed?
What do you think? Any chance Tennessee could get a head coach from a offensively-successful smaller school? Somebody like Tulsa's Todd Graham? Or Hawaii's June Jones? Tulsa doesn't disclose its coaching salaries, but Jones makes only a bit over $800k. Would somebody like that take half the salary for a shot at the The Papa's job in a few years?
Okay, so probably no. So what about coordinators? It appears that because Jones runs his own offense at Hawaii, there's no very good candidate there. Gus Malzahn is at Tulsa, but he's still only two years removed from high school. Question: what did Tulsa's offense look like last year? Is this year's success due to Graham or Malzahn? What about Texas Tech's Dana Holgorsen?
Time's up for me for now. See what y'all can come up with.