It was a quiet weekend in regards to the Tennessee head coaching search. Phillip Fulmer took over this search on Friday, after John Currie was removed. Without a search firm in place, Fulmer was essentially starting from ground zero on Friday night.
We heard some rumblings on Les Miles, along with Kevin Steele, but nothing really concrete. That continues today, as Bruce Feldman reports that Chad Morris and Brent Venables could be in play for Tennessee.
Two names to keep in mind as the #Tennessee coaching has re-set: #Clemson DC Brent Venables & #SMU head coach Chad Morris. Folks close to Phil Fulmer are big believers in them.— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) December 4, 2017
Morris has been a factor in the search going back to last week. He just finished up his third year at SMU, bringing that program out of the ashes to a respectable 7-5 record.
Morris may be more well known for his work as Clemson’s offensive coordinator. He held that position from 2011-2014 and is credited with helping build Clemson to what it is today.
Interestingly enough, Morris’ former colleague on the other side of the ball Brent Venables is mentioned here. Venables has been at Clemson since 2012 and is widely regarded as one of the best assistants in the country.
Clemson ranks 6th in total defense and 2nd in points allowed this year. They were 9th and 7th in total defense in 2016 and 2015, respectively. Venables can clearly coach up a defense, but is he ready to lead a program like Tennessee? It’s kind of interesting that he’s stayed put for so long, considering his success.
Fulmer mentioned in his press conference on Friday that head coaching experience wasn’t exactly a qualification for him, noting that he was just an assistant when he got the Tennessee job.
I would guess that Venables would be received quite a bit better than Kevin Steele, who will have a hard time escaping that 9-36 record at Baylor.