I have no idea whether or not the Tennessee Vols are going to fire Jeremy Pruitt this week.
And anyone who says they do probably has no idea either.
I tend to think Pruitt will return in 2021. I could be totally wrong, but that’s my gut feeling.
Of course, I didn’t think Auburn would fire Gus Malzahn, either (I don’t think that was a wise move). This is college football, which is unpredictable, so I wouldn’t be shocked if Tennessee moves on from Pruitt.
If the Vols elect to fire Pruitt, then it’ll mean yet another coaching search.
There will be “big names” mentioned, such as Hugh Freeze, Steve Sarkisian, Malzahn, and others (I bet we even hear some good Urban Meyer and Bob Stoops rumors, which won’t be rooted in factual evidence).
And there will also be names like Louisiana’s Billy Napier and Coastal Carolina’s Jamey Chadwell mentioned.
If Pruitt is fired, it’s quite possible that Tennessee ends up at that “second-level” of names (Napier and Chadwell).
And if that happens, the Vols better choose Napier over Chadwell.
I’ve seen quite a few folks on social media clamoring for Chadwell. And I get it. He’s energetic, he’s from Tennessee and he’s turned Coastal Carolina into a top 15 program.
But that doesn’t mean he’d have success at UT.
In fact, I’d bet decent money that he’d fail at Tennessee.
Chadwell has zero SEC experience. He doesn’t even have any Power-5 coaching experience. How can we expect a head coach that has never coached above the Sun Belt to walk into the SEC and turn the Vols into a contender? It didn’t work with Dooley (who actually had some SEC experience) and it didn’t’ work with Butch Jones.
The reason Chadwell’s had success at Coastal Carolina is because he runs a tricky triple option-like offense that keeps defenses guessing.
That offense probably isn’t going to work in the SEC. And even if it did, it would take several years to get it going at Tennessee (flashback to the Dave Clawson 2008 year at UT).
Vol fans aren’t going to give Chadwell two or three years to get his offense going.
I like Chadwell. But I think he’s where he needs to be. There’s nothing on his resume that screams “SEC coach”.
(And to be clear, I’m not crazy about Napier, either. But I think he’d be a better fit at Tennessee over Chadwell.)
If the Vols move on from Pruitt, they need to aim higher than Chadwell.
Otherwise, they’ll just continue the cycle they’ve been in for the last 12 years.
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