Two new candidates surface; could Taylor stay with Vols?

TAMPA, Fla. — Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer has interviewed at least two new candidates to replace offensive coordinator David Cutcliffe. A third — and a more familiar name — could soon surface.

Michigan quarterbacks coach Scott Loeffler met with Fulmer here this week as the Vols prepare for Tuesday’s Outback Bowl against Wisconsin, a source within the program said. Michigan is preparing to play Florida in the Capital One Bowl in nearby Orlando.

Only running backs coach Fred Jackson was retained from Michigan’s coaching staff by new coach Rich Rodriguez.

Fulmer has also spoken with San Francisco 49ers quarterback coach Frank Cignetti, the source said.

Also, UT receivers coach Trooper Taylor would reconsider his decision to leave the Vols for the co-coordinator position at Oklahoma State, the source said, if he became a candidate.

Taylor was never offered the coordinator position at UT.

It is unknown if Fulmer, who did not return phone calls or text messages from the News Sentinel on Sunday, would re-consider Taylor now that Kippy Brown appears to no longer be a candidate.

Brown, who was reported by the News Sentinel to be the leading candidate for the job, is expected to named offensive coordinator for the Detroit Lions, according to multiple media reports. He has been receivers coach for the Lions for two seasons. The same multiple media reports claimed that offensive coordinator Mike Martz would be fired.

Brown’s decision not to return to UT, where he coached receivers in 1983-98 and 1993-94, is thought to be centered around Fulmer’s reluctance to allow Brown to hire his own offensive staff.

Final negotiations were ongoing with Brown late last week. Compensation was not thought to be an issue. Since leaving UT in 1994, Brown has primarily been a position coach in the NFL, although he was offensive coordinator for the Miami Dolphins from 1998-99.

Fulmer has said he’d like to have a complete offensive staff in place by Jan. 11, when UT will host a significant group of official visitors. UT’s coaches are scheduled to be on the road recruiting the following week. Meeting that deadline seems less likely now that Brown has been eliminated.

UT is also expected to lose running backs coach Kurt Roper and assistant offensive line/tight ends coach Matt Luke. The pair will join Cutcliffe at Duke. Roper is expected to be named offensive coordinator and Luke will be offensive line coach.

Fulmer has also interviewed Clemson offensive coordinator Rob Spence on Dec. 21 in Knoxville. Spence, who said he was never offered a job by UT, announced Saturday he was withdrawing his name and remaining at Clemson.

Cignetti, 42, has been with the 49ers for one season. He was offensive coordinator for North Carolina in 2006 and spent the four previous years as offensive cooridnator at Fresno State.

He spent two seasons (2000-01) as quarterbacks coach for the New Orleans Saints. He joined the Saints after coaching one season as an offensive assistant and quality control coach with the Kansas City Chiefs.

From 1990-98, Cignetti was an assistant at his alma mater, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where he coached receivers (1990-92), secondary (1993-94), quarterbacks (1995-98) and was elevated to offensive coordinator during his final two seasons.

Cignetti got his start in coaching as a graduate assistant at the University of Pittsburgh in 1989.

Cignetti’s father, Frank, recently retired after 24 seasons as the coach at IUP and West Virginia.

Loeffler, 33, has been on Michigan’s staff the past six years, returning to his alma mater in 2002 after two seasons as quarterbacks coach at Central Michigan.

Loeffler spent 1993-99 with Michigan as backup quarterback (1993-95), as a student assistant (1996-97) when a shoulder injury ended his playing career and as a graduate assistant (1998-99).

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Comments » 218

wyomingvol writes:

Out of these guys, I will take Troop any day of the week...

jevolball7 writes:

It's the old adverb song:who,what,where when and how!!Foolmer, you better get it together.I'd bring Trooper back,at least he has the FIRE!!!


Fulmer's unwillingness to give up control is apparently turning this from a great opportunity to turn the program in the right direction to a scramble for anyone available. Other SEC programs are probably laughing at us. Seems like CPF thought he could wait as long as he wanted and get anybody out there. Trooper Taylor seems like the best option at this point. Fans would love to see TT back, but that still shows how ill managed this search has been. We should have taken notes from Auburn. Better yet, we should have taken their coachin staff.

lnbadger320 writes:

that really worries me about fulmer not letting kippy pick his own offensive coaches. is fulmer that insecure about his job? i guess we now know who called the play from when sanders was offensive coach. this is not looking good at all.

ONUV writes:


TommyJack writes:

What GIVEHIMSIX said. This is so stinkin predictable. Let's just take the leftover, CPF. Stay the course. Wake up Faithful...You've been duped again. Pound the rock and pass the pastry.

scvols writes:

So much for Brown coming in and being part of the team, no he wants to make his on team. If Roper and Luke leaves, he would be able to hire 2 assistance anyway. Sounds to me that he wants to stay in the pros, so best of luck to him. I just glad Fulmer is our coach and has the backbone to stand up to these "I want full control" guys.

Ironcity writes:

If Brown is being named the O coorinator at Detroit, then he made the right decision. That team has a lot of upside and he would become a leading canidate for an NFL job if that happened. I trust Fulmer knows what he is doing. I think it would be ironic if Taylor ended up staying. It also sounds to me like Loeffler may be considered for the QB coach. If thats the case thats a good hire.

bshell12 writes:

Trooper please stay..... forgive phil for being dumb and not hiring you on the spot

pdhuff#552644 writes:

Trooper, stay at OSU. Odds are, he's not going to offer you or he would have already. Adkins, you da man, I believe. Let's keep it in the family. Echo -NFL coaches don't like recruiting!

Phil will find someone on his own good time. Anyone remember the Badgers?

TommyJack writes:

Ironcity: If TT stays, it would be beyond ironic. It would make CPF look even more clueless. Work like heck.

FWBVol writes:

OK, I know I'm one of those who has continually stuck up for Phillip Fulmer, and I'll do so again. While I can understand a coordinator's desire to hire his offensive staff, I also see Fulmer, or any other HC's point that wants to hire the staff.

A lot of people are complaining about the assistants that will apparently follow David Cutcliffe to Duke. What happens if the new OC comes in, hires his own staff, and leaves for a head coaching job in a couple of years taking with him several members of the offensive staff?

I can see it now. So many of you that are now complaining that Fulmer should let the OC hire his own staff, will be bashing him because the guy brought in people that he was going to take with him all along.

I've had jobs in retail and fast food management, and as an assistant manager I had input into who was hired, but the store manager made the ultimate decision.

If the OC makes bad hire it would still come back to Fulmer. Some say that shows he's not secure, I say that shows he being prudent.

ODA751 writes:

I'd like to see Hooker just come out and make a statement instead of implying a bunch of stuff that may or may not be true. This is a perfect example of the News Sentinel trying to undercut the program.

FWBVol writes:

Oh yeah, I can't believe that if Kippy was really interested in assembling his own offensive staff that it wasn't one of the first things he discussed with CPF. Maybe he was using the UT OC position to give him a bargaining tool with the Lions or some other NFL team.

nmvol writes:

No one wants to take a job at a program where the head coach will likely be gone this time next year. 2008 will be the train wreck that finishes Fulmer.

sidwalkvol writes:

" thought to be..."

By WHOM, we might ask. I agree with Chrisoda. These journalists have a deadline and a vested interest in stirring the pot.

gohawks1 writes:

Verrrrry Interesting.....

VolMoment writes:

A sport writer gives his opinion like it was rumored that Fulmer wouldn't let him hire the offensive staff. People jump on this like it is the truth. Yet these same people rake the same writer over the coals if they say something that they don't believe.
In the end Fulmer will hire a good fit who will run the offense.

waterskier3#226480 writes:

leadership of our great university at its best..... piss poor planning means piss poor performance......... coach cut knew he was going to leave asap if given the oppt but fulmer kept eating doughnuts... and didn't plan very well for this day.... akins is your oc by default... doesn't that make the vol nation feel good.....

GerryOP writes:

pdhuff: Would you please stop bringing up this stupid game on Tuesday? That game is a distraction! GOTP already has a full plate shufflin' and jivvin' his way through the staff hiring minefield! Your continuous mentioning something about a silly football game Tuesday mornin' is befuddlin' his mind. Let it go dude, let it go.

IMO, if GOTP were to offer Taylor the OC job, that would be the ultimate Teflon move. GOTP already dis'ed Taylor, got dumped as a suitor by at least two major candidates, offers Troop and comes back to the fans explaining how well his blundering maneuvering turned out.

If it comes down like this, GOTP for President! Compared to GOTP, all them other folks are rookies when it comes to spreading the BS!

For the record, I think the idea of Trooper getting the job is a figment of some KNS writer's alcohol enhanced imagination. NFW!

jsm67vol writes:

Chrisoda and Sidwalkvol are right. Stirring the pot is exactly what they do. Trooper would reconsider if he became a candidate. Well, DUH who wouldn't want the OC at UT over the co-OC at OSU. Trooper wants to be considered, but Fulmer will really take a pounding by everyone if he hires someone with no playcalling experience, when things don't go perfectly.

87UTVOL writes:

Troop talked to Fulmer early. Fulmer apparently wouldn't commit, but I've never heard 'never'. Troop wanted to take the bird in the hand at OSU. Fulmer (rightly!) wanted to talk to more folks than Trooper. He has. Maybe Troop could be a 'co' offensive coordinator, along with a true quarterbacks coach (like the Michigan or 49'ers coaches). I like Trooper. I hope Phil can work a way for him to stay.

Cutcliffe might not be telling the media that Luke and Roper and gone, but you can bet he's told Fulmer (if it's true...and it likely is). So, Phil knows he has 3-4 slots to fill. Having Trooper stay through the bowl game might end up being a blessing as Phil tries to assemble almost the whole offensive side of the staff.

Kippy may have been playing UT to get the OC job with the Lions. Maybe he wanted to have complete control of the offense, including hiring his position coaches. Who knows what all has gone on. I'm sure no one who posts on this board really knows. It's all guessin' and gripin'.

Phil is right to talk to a lot of people and explore options. The decisions are too important. GO VOLS!

texan writes:

If there really is a 'deep throat' inside the AD he is obviously been doing something else with his 'talent'. And the KNS has been the recipient.

weisgarber2003#313889 writes:

Fulmer is desperate! Cannot keep a lot of players out of trouble, cannot get them to go to class, cannot get an OC, cannot win the big one, cannot win many of the little ones, cannot get a BCS bowl, cannot get a top ten finish, cannot win most minor bowls. That little black cloud over his head this decade isn't going anywhere.

TNPilgrim writes:

This is embarassing - Fulmer can't come up with even ONE decent candidate from outside the program. May as well hire Trooper and be done with it, before he gets away and we're stuck with Adkins.

weisgarber2003#313889 writes:

Posted by TommyJack on December 30, 2007 at 5:45 p.m.
Pound the rock and pass the pastry.


dgb63#654261 writes:

Come on Phil offer the job to Taylor and lets see where it goes???

jsm67vol writes:

there may be many things Fulmer doesn't do well. Getting these guys to get their a$$$ out of bed and into class is not one he should even have to think about

dgb63#654261 writes:

I agree why36not. I just think the faster it is done the better. The Taylor thing is easy for me. Offer he says no then move on. I would offer him before I went elsewhere. For what ever reason he wasn't offered at first so lets do it then see where we are. That is if Phil wants him. At this point it is looking like it may not be who Phil wants but who will come here.

pdhuff#552644 writes:

GerryOP - what game are you talking about? I've forgotten, isn't the season over? Coaches are coming, coaches are going, even R Sanders is getting interviews. I haven't heard Phil mention any game. Is something slipping up on us? Surely not! Sorry, can't help you. Snowing in Wisconsin.

Got to get TJ,s glazed out of the oven. Already dropped off TDTN 2 dozen creme filled with chocolate topping. Got to stay busy.....Doldrums.

jimbo37918 writes:

i think troop is the man for the job and he is "ALL VOL GO BIG ORANGE BEAT THEM BADGERS"

vol4jesus writes:

Remember boys we gotta sell papers and stimulate readership...ya got it? Speculate all ewe want and they will slop it up out there....So journalistically it is poor and reckless, who cares type away boys and watch the faithful lap it up. Drink thr KNS koolaid children. Do you think Trooper would really come back? He wasn't snubbed. The process was going too slow for him with an offer or two on the table. He obviously wasn't Coach Fulmers first choice either. So I think, wrong as I may be, that he stays an OSU Cowboy. If I'm wrong the explanation by Coach Fulmer will be interesting for sure. Could say was never ruled out, just had to allow time for process to work. Personally I wouldn't mind him back wit a QB coach. Guy from Fresno coached a good one in Pinegar there.That would allow Trooper input in an area that he hasn't worked in to gain valuable experience to be in an OC position. That would allow Coach Fulmer some comfort zone in decision making realm. Oh well, is it all just pie in the sky?

Ironcity writes:

Guys all of these coaches still have games to play. Would most of you want UT to take a OC from a program that couldn't make a bowl game? No. Would you guys want us to take a coach that quits on his players on the spot? No. So quit whining and stop trying to use the coaching decision process as a means to support your positions that Fulmer should go.

dgb63#654261 writes:

I agree with jimbo37918. Taylor is the man. Give him the chance if we don't others are in line wanting to. That should be a clue....

brink637 writes:

My New Year's wish: Keep Trooper Taylor.

GerryOP writes:

That's more like it, pdhuff! If you don't stop distractin' GOTP with noise about some pesky game on Tuesday, we're gonna' pull your "True Fan" card!

I get the feeling that this coach hirin' escapade is akin to a game of musical chairs -- except no one is rushin' to get a seat when the music stops. Gee, 100 calls and no real candidates.

nicksjuzunk#646117 writes:

Once again... speculation by KNS. "It is thought" that he couldn't hire his own staff.

Come on guys. Just like it was thought that Kippy was about to become OC. Truth be told, He took NFL OC in a familiar environment over OC in college where he would have to pack his stuff and move. The man is 57. He probably doesn't want to have to chase kids all over the country and go back to that 24/7 lifestyle. He also probably reads the posts here and that would drive any sane individual away!

I had a thought about Trooper still staying but I didn't think it would happen. Now... it may. Even if CPF give him the apparently attractive "co-coordinator" position, he may spurn OK state.

texan writes:

TROOP IS NOT COMING BACK! yet. Couple of more misfires by CFP and he gets the leverage he needs. But he still is not the answer. CPF has no choice now than to hire outside the family. Too much publicity has found its way into this thing. He has one year to prove he's still capable if he hires inside. Maybe two if he hires outside. Even he has to go with the odds.

jevolball7 writes:

I don't eat sweets at all. But,I'll take a dozen glazed! Before Foolmer eats the "pie in the sky"

dgb63#654261 writes:

Who can we get from outside???? NFL I don't think so unless they are a position coach or got fired. Do we bring in a coach from a lower level school? If we don't hire from within where do we go?? I think Shula is still not working. He was the Bama coach before the Sab Showed up in Bama!!!!!

martinvolfan writes:

How bout hiring Bruce Pearl for OC. Go Vols basketball!

utwick writes:

If offered the OC job at Detroit, Kippy would take it and any other offers wouldn't matter. End of game. If Fulmer chooses Adkins, it would be a major blunder. Does Adkins have play-calling experience? Not that I know of. Better off to have kept Trooper, at least make him co-OC and retain his fire and recruiting ability...but stupid is as stupid does. Some of these interviews could be for "lesser" positions than OC. Gignetti has a nice resume' and would be interesting. Since Detroit lost today, maybe more about Kippy's future will be revealed in the next day or so.

dgb63#654261 writes:

I think the deal is we need not only a good play caller but we need somebody to sale the program to the kids and the parents. We need a guy to go into a home and win over the Mom!!!

texan writes:

I can't see how the Lions' management could actually believe that by simply replacing their OC will help them. Maybe KB has been given the authority to replace the whole O staff. Why else would he stay on a dying team except for the money... OMG that's it isn't it! Mikey are you reading?

pdhuff#552644 writes:

GerryOP - you must simply stay the course. Blindly believe. Do not mention nine years of no rings. You will be dissed by a Holy man if you mention do-nuts. You cannot have any fun. Take yourself seriously at all times and keep fiddling as Nero did. Am I clear? Or do you want to stand in the corner as TJ and Tdtn have had to? What's it gonna be, boy??? (stole that one from favorite CD -Bat Out of Hell, Meatloaf/Paradise by the Dashboard Lights) I digress.

vol52 writes:

Cut brought his people to UT. Fulmer sounds very insecure and that is not a good thing. I say if Kippy does not come then TT is my next choice of all the people mentioned. Cignetti has not done great his last couple of positions. Can a big 10 coach recruit in the south. Things are not good. Fulmer farted around and look where we are now.

jobrando#216494 writes:

Reading this one could believe Fulmer is the man and not Hamilton.

GerryOP writes:

OK pdhuff, I have been properly admonished. I'll get back to the job I have been assigned -- arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic called Tennessee Football. In my spare time, I will make sure the orchestra keeps playing while the good ship UT Football slowly sinks into the morass of mediocrity. All is well, all is well.

weisgarber2003#313889 writes:

"but we need somebody to sale the program to the kids and the parents. We need a guy to go into a home and win over the Mom!!!"

That supposedly was one of Fulmer's strengths.

GerryOP writes:

"Winning over Moms" is TDTN's and TJ's job!

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