UPDATE: The Vols are now 3-3 on the season and haven’t scored a touchdown in 10 consecutive quarters.
The Vols have been outscored a combined 56-9 in the last two home losses to Georgia and South Carolina.
Here is the question though. IF Jones was fired mid-season, who on the staff would take over as interim head coach? Let’s take a look at the options.
Disclaimer: This column is not saying that Jones should be fired. It is simply a look at the resumes of assistants on the staff and who would be most likely to be the interim IF Jones was fired or IF he resigned.
Brady Hoke – Associate Head Coach/Defensive Line Coach
Hoke is one of the off-season additions to the Volunteers staff. He played linebacker at Ball State and after graduation, began coaching at the high school level. He spent almost the next two decades as an assistant on various staffs, eventually getting his first head coaching job at Ball State. He was the head coach from 2003-2008, after which he became the head coach at San Diego State from 2009-2010 and then Michigan from 2011-2014. While he may be new to Tennessee, his past head coaching experience gives him a possible leg up if there is a need for an interim coach.
Head coaching record: 78-70, 2-3 in bowls
Interim odds: 75%
Larry Scott – Offensive Coordinator/Tight Ends Coach
In his second year with the Vols, Scott came in as the special teams coordinator and tight ends coach in 2016. He was promoted to offensive coordinator following Mike DeBord’s departure for Indiana. He has interim head coach on his resume, holding the position in 2015 for the Miami Hurricanes.
Head coaching record: 4-2, 0-1 in bowls
Interim odds: 20%
Bob Shoop – Defensive Coordinator
The defensive coordinator since 2016, Shoop is most recently known for his defenses at Vanderbilt and Penn State. However, back in 2003 from 2005, he was the head coach at Columbia. Despite the excitement when he joined the staff, Vol fans have been less than impressed by the numbers his defenses have put up, dating back to the middle of the 2016 season.
Head coaching record: 7-23
Interim odds: 5%
Mike Canales – Quarterbacks Coach
Another newcomer to the Tennessee staff, Canales has a lengthy resume that starts in 1985. Most of his stops have had him coaching QBs and/or holding the offensive coordinator title. He has also held the assistant head coach title at North Texas and Utah State. He does have a history of being an interim head coach, where he has actually held that title twice while at North Texas. Canales’ newcomer status and his record as an interim likely hurt him if this scenario happens.
Head coaching record: 3-8
Interim odds: 2%
Robert Gillespie – Assistant Head Coach/Running Backs Coach/Recruiting Coordinator
Here’s your wild card. A former Florida running back, Gillespie also briefly played professionally in the NFL and NFL Europe. He was a GA then running backs coach at South Carolina under Steve Spurrier, then made stops at Oklahoma State and West Virginia. He has been on the Tennessee staff since Butch Jones was hired in 2013. Why is Gillespie the wild card? He doesn’t have any head coaching or even interim head coaching experience. That said, he’s been on this staff from the beginning, players love him, and he is also the recruiting coordinator. If there was a situation where Tennessee needed an interim head coach, Gillespie may get a strong look to help keep recruiting classes together.
Head coaching record: 0-0
Interim odds: 50%