Butch Jones is no longer the head football coach at Tennessee, meaning his staff’s future is in serious jeopardy.
However, not every staff member should be released despite the impending arrival of a new coaching regime.
Here’s who should and shouldn’t stay on the Vols’ current coaching staff.
OC Larry Scott
Tennessee’s offense has been laughably bad this season, ranking near the bottom in essentially every significant category. Is it entirely Scott’s fault? No, but despite it being his first season ever as an OC at the college level, it should be his last in Knoxville. There are brighter minds out there.
DC Bob Shoop
Shoop is unfairly criticized. While Tennessee’s defense has been porous over the last two seasons, Shoop has been dealt a bad hand on both occasions. In 2016, the injuries were too devastating to overcome. This season, the defense has been on the field way too often.
I’d give Shoop another chance, especially because the defense has played at a high level on numerous occasions this season.
QB Coach Mike Canales
When Canales was hired, he brought with him an extremely lackluster resume at coaching quarterbacks. Unsurprisingly, Tennessee’s quarterback play this season has left a lot to be desired.
HB Coach Robert Gillespie
The lone bright spot of the Vols’ 4-6 2017 campaign has been the play of the running backs. Clearly, Gil knows what he’s doing and should be retained at all costs.
What’s I’m basically saying is, GIVE THIS MAN A RAISE!
WR Coach Kevin Beard
It’s difficult to gauge how good the receivers are in Knoxville because of how poorly Tennessee’s offense is ran. With that being said, the new coach will probably fill this position with someone else.
OL Coach Walt Wells
The offensive line experienced catastrophic injuries before and during the 2017 season, thus leading to inconsistent performance. However, Wells’ pedigree suggests that he isn’t cut out for an SEC level job.
No shame in moving on here.
DL Coach Brady Hoke
Hoke, the interim head coach, is the most experienced coach on the staff. Once he gains interim experience this upcoming Saturday, his insight into the team’s psyche and his knowledge on what went wrong under the Jones regime will be essential to Tennessee’s next head coach.
He should be retained.
LB Coach Tommy Thigpen
Daniel Bituli is a rising star, and although Colton Jumper lacks athletic ability, his understanding of the game is obvious.
Thigpen started behind the 8-ball when Darrin Kirkland Jr. needed season-ending surgery, and while Tennessee’s linebackers haven’t been awful, Thigpen is probably a replaceable commodity.
DB Coach Charlton Warren
Tennessee’s secondary has had a solid 2017 season. While they’ve been rarely tested, the fact they haven’t been on the receiving end of any prolific passing performances speaks volumes. This is even more impressive when you consider star safety Todd Kelly Jr. practically missed the entire season.
Maybe against a more talented pool of quarterbacks, the pass defense doesn’t appear as potent, but Warren seems to have the defensive backfield heading in the right direction. Because of that, I would keep Warren.
Most fans would want to clean house after a potential 4-8 season, but there are talented coaches on this staff. With the right head coach, this staff could realize its full potential.
Tennessee’s next head coach should cling onto Shoop, Gillespie, Hoke, and Warren — and move on from Scott, Canales, Beard, Wells, and Thigpen.