FOX Sports analyst Joel Klatt named former Oregon and NFL coach Chip Kelly, UCF’s Scott Frost and Virginia Tech’s Justin Fuente as the top-3 potential candidates to replace Tennessee coach Butch Jones next season during an appearance on The Herd with Colin Cowherd.
Klatt acknowledged that Tennessee athletic director John Currie has yet to fire Jones and will likely wait to do so until the end of the season.
“I think that John understands that he needs to be supportive during the season and act swiftly after the season,” Klatt said. “Once that happens I think that there are three guys that I would look to that are your best potential candidates. Chip Kelly is the one. Two would be Scott Frost at UCF…third, and this is the one where you don’t know whether he’d leave or not, Justin Fuente of Virginia Tech.”
Kelly led Oregon to a 46-7 (33-3 Pac-12) overall record from 2009-2012, which included four BCS bowl game appearances, three Pac-12 conference championships and a BCS title game appearance in 2010.
Frost, who coached under Kelly as a wide receivers coach at Oregon, led a previously winless UCF team to a 6-7 (4-4 AAC) record during his first season last year. The Knights currently have a 3-0 record in 2017.
Fuente has ties to the Volunteer State as the former head coach at Memphis. He succeeded legendary coach Frank Beamer at Virginia Tech and holds a 14-5 (6-3 ACC) record midway through his second season in Blacksburg.
Of course, Cowherd chimed in with a totally unrealistic hot take of his own.
“Bob Stoops!” he shouted. “10 million a year!”
While Stoops would undoubtedly be a home run hire, one must consider the fact that he retired just before the season and, in turn, left a legitimate national contender to do so. Though he’s never given a concrete reason why he opted to do so — other than the typical “spend time with family” answer — it obviously has to be something big enough to make him walk away from a loaded Oklahoma team. What makes anyone think Stoops would be so inclined to make his return at Tennessee when he was willing to step away from a potential College Football Playoff team after just one year in retirement?
As a Tennessee alum, hearing Cowherd bash Klatt’s potential coaching hires makes me want any of them to be considered even more. This is a guy who makes his living falsely downplaying Alabama every year and spewing out nonsense about fan bases which, most of the time, are untrue hot takes to get clicks.
Kelly, Frost — who I personally think will return to his alma matter Nebraska — or Fuente would all be great realistic hires. I mean, anything is better than Lyle at this point.