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Next Move Critical for ‘Vols

By BJ Bennett
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Tennessee needs a strong hire to move on from the Butch Jones era and the Schiano situation.

After a relatively-unprecedented turn of events at Tennessee on Sunday, the Volunteers are in a truly unique position as it relates to their head coaching vacancy. As news of the program finalizing a deal with Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano broke, sweeping protests ultimately resulted in Tennessee and Schiano walking away from the agreement. Many were openly and adamantly against the news, citing Schiano's past at Penn State. Public sentiment won, with the Volunteers ending the day without a coach mere hours after they reportedly had one.

Simply put, college football hasn't seen much like this before. If the spotlight was on Tennessee to close out the weekend, that and the pressure is now very much on as the week begins.  

Previous storylines with the Volunteers have included the abstract pursuit of Jon Gruden, the potential targeting of now-hired-at-Florida Dan Mullen and the prospects of in-state option Mike Norvell, who is now being looked at by other SEC schools. With what happened with Schiano standing as national news, Tennessee will now have to try and move on, re-evaluate and re-package its product for interested candidates. It could prove to be a difficult process for athletic director John Currie, given the controversy at play.

It's hard to project ahead, especially with SEC foes Arkansas, Mississippi State and Texas A&M all looking to make moves, but potential targets could include the likes of Mike Bobo, Jeff Brohm, Lane Kiffin, Tee Martin, Les Miles, Norvell, Charlie Strong or Kevin Sumlin. Kiffin previously coached the Volunteers in 2009 before leaving for Southern California. Some have even suggested Phillip Fulmer, head coach at Tennessee from 1992-2008. The situation remains fluid.   

This past year for the Volunteers resulted in a 4-8 record, the most losses in a single season in program history. Tennessee needs a strong hire to move on from the Butch Jones era and, clearly, the Schiano situation. Who knows what the fallout, both internally and externally, will be. The Volunteers have work to do.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: / Twitter: @BJBennettSports