From the Jon Gruden Has Other Plans Department, a humble thought on Option B.
The University of Tennessee football fan base expects one conclusion from the search for a new head coach:
That Dave Hart make a home-run hire.
Anything short of that won't do. The program and those who bleed orange on its behalf have suffered long enough.
Gruden would have been a home-run hire. Despite any real evidence to support it, he might be yet.
Bob Stoops of Oklahoma would have been a home-run hire. By all appearances he will remain a Sooner for the foreseeable future.
From there, it gets tricky. Define home-run hire.
OK, I will. A home-run hire is anyone who will deliver a high level of success over a period of time.
And I mean anyone.
Winning the press conference is fine. But winning SEC football games on a frequent basis over the long haul is finer.
Hart, UT's search committee of one, should hire the best candidate, household name or not.
Hart stated up front that experience as a head coach is high on his list. Makes sense. If Nick Saban wins at LSU, he probably wins at Alabama. If Brian Kelly wins at Cincinnati it's somewhat of a predictor he'll win at Notre Dame.
But just to play devil's advocate, why delete the entire pool of candidates who lack head-coaching experience?
Nobody has won bigger than Chris Peterson the past half-decade. Anybody would hire him now. Boise State was smart enough to promote him in 2006 rather than insist on an outsider with head-coaching experience.
Closer to home, hasn't Dan Mullen improved Mississippi State? Hasn't James Franklin worked a small miracle at Vanderbilt?
Granted, Tennessee aspires to be a bigger fish in the SEC pond than State or Vandy. Its tradition and budget suggest elite expectations.
Yeah, well, ditto for Georgia. I don't think the Bulldogs regret hiring inexperienced Mark Richt in 2001.
Ditto for Oklahoma. I don't think the Sooners regret hiring inexperienced Stoops in 1999.
And Will Muschamp seems to be a quick study at Florida.
Two of Tennessee's most successful coaches, Doug Dickey and Phillip Fulmer had no prior head-coaching experience.
Dickey, it's worth noting, inherited a program in 1964 that was in sadder shape than this one. Learning on the job didn't seem to slow him down.
Bottom line, there are several avenues to find the coach to improve the bottom line.
Judging strictly on the press conference, you can't tell a home-run hire from a long foul ball. It takes time.