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Open Letter to Jason Candle, Don’t Take the Tennessee Job if Offered

I mean it.

NCAA Football: Vanderbilt at Tennessee Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Dear Jason Candle,

When the Greg Schiano to Tennessee story first broke, I was intrigued. Obviously, also rooting for the Ohio State Buckeyes, I was semi concerned we were going to lose our defensive coordinator. Then I remember all the points they gave up to Iowa. Not that I blame him, but I realized he is human, and thus replaceable.

Then it happened.

The Tennessee fans attacked him on twitter. Being a fan of sports in general, I have followers and I follow people from all over the country. I have multiple “Tennessee Twitter” follow buddies. Their reactions and retweets were interesting, to say the least.

At first, at least with the tweets I saw, were mostly “OMG, We can do better.” Some of the more knowledgeable ones even mentioned the Iowa score. Things then turned ugly. Schiano was mentioned with Penn State and the scandal there.

For the back story, he spent 5 years there as an assistant. Then a guy he never coached with mentioned in a court deposition that someone told him that Schiano saw something, in a meeting once, in the day or night. This informant couldn’t remember any actual details. Tennessee fans latched onto that with no sense of irony.

This tweet summed up the movement. He even used the words, “according to court testimony” to make it official.

Meanwhile, a guy who’s opinions I generally don’t agree with, on a site I mostly hate, gave the actual skinny.

The Tennessee job is enticing. There is a lot of history with the program. It’s smack dab in the middle of the country and appeals to a variety of fans. There is no doubt that it can get recruits and they are willing to pay top dollar for a coach.

You would also most likely fail. That’s not a knock on your ability, which I think is immense. There is something rotten in the water there, where the fans think they should be Alabama, and will do anything to get there, except work from the ground up. In other words, they don’t want to do things the right way. They want to hire a big name guy that will solve all their problems.

They tried Derek Dooley and Butch Jones. Two guys with a solid pedigree that should have worked. Neither did. Why? Because the fan base is not patient. Their attack on Greg Schiano the man was shameful. No sane person would say it was based on the coach, but the man. Why? Because he is not a perfect coach. By almost all accounts he is a man of integrity.

So let’s examine his coaching record. For this exercise, we are going to ignore his record as the defensive coordinator of one of the highest ranked college football teams and just look at what he did as a head coach.

He took over a terrible team (much worse than the Toledo team you took over), and made them respectable. Even though Rutgers played in the first football game, they have exactly 6 bowl wins. Greg has 5 of them.

Now to be fair, his style struggled in the NFL for a couple of years, like most great college coaches. Just ask Steve Spurrier and Nick Saban.

Either way, as a Buckeye fan, if Meyer retired and Schiano were named head coach, I can promise you I would be ok to give him a chance. And by chance I mean a year or two or three.

Tennessee fans think they can do better than Schiano. There is absolutely a chance you are a better coach than Greg. Then again, maybe not. What kind of chance do you think they will give you? The answer is none.

The minute you start losing, they will turn on you, especially since you aren’t “one of them”. It wont matter if you still need to get your players into the system. It wont matter if you had some bad luck due to weather. It certainly wont matter that you are a young gun that probably needs some more experience.

And all that is fine. However, what should be most troubling is that they wont attack you as a coach, they’ll make stuff up and attack you as a person.

Ignore the raise, if offered, and take your time to find the right school. You can do better.