Jon Gruden will not be the next head football coach at Tennessee. The school held “talks” with the ESPN personality, but could not come to an agreement. Tennessee will claim it never made an offer, because why would money come up at talks (plural) with such weighty philosophical issues at play? Jon Gruden may claim he was never interested. The dream is over.
A report last night suggested Gruden’s assistant budget would be the sticking point.
“Right now, the money is there for him [Gruden], but they aren’t as close as he would like for his assistants,” one source said. “It could happen as soon as this weekend or go into next week, but he’s pretty firm where he is and has already spoken with the guys he wants to be on the staff with him.”
According to a different source, “He’s told them they aren’t close enough on money for the staff. He’s very interested, but if they don’t come up with what they need for the assistants, he’s told them he’s out.”
It’s hard attributing this to Gruden not being AD Dave Hart’s guy. Athletic directors seldom eschew the hire that would excite wealthy boosters and fans out of personal preference. The issue may be that Gruden has a lucrative, cushy job he enjoys. He can demand outlandish terms to return to real work, whether it is a Nick Saban-esque budget or personal deference to the point of having students carry him around campus in a litter. What has he done to prove he is worth that?
Gruden was a successful NFL coach. He’s charming. He has essentially zero college experience. How will he do breaking in a 20-year-old quarterback he did not recruit? How does he react when players who aren’t “his guys” drop five in a row vs. FBS next year when Tennessee plays its at Oregon, at Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, at Alabama stretch?
Jon Gruden is a name, but perhaps the expected utility of bringing in a “name” from college and offering a seven-figure defensive coordinator budget might be greater?
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