I begin today on a personal note. There is a benefit to being an old fart; yesterday afternoon, my number came up and I received my first dose of the Moderna Vaccine. The selection process is the mirror image of ageism; rather than experiencing an adverse action as a result of my advanced age, I received a benefit based on nothing more than my date of birth.
And … regarding any worries I might have that I was just “microchipped” such that the chip can be interrogated to locate me and track me, I have two simple responses:
- Why would anyone give a damn [Hat tip to Rhett Butler] regarding my whereabouts?
- My cell phone already does that.
Earlier this week, I mentioned the firing of Tennessee head football coach, Jeremy Pruitt, and said that it was due to some recruiting violations that had come to light during an internal university investigation. As is normally the case, the NCAA super-sleuths did not uncover these violations of NCAA rules; someone else did and that is how the NCAA found out about it. If you are seeking Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot or Miss Jane Marple, do not waste your time looking in Indianapolis, IN – – home of the NCAA. There you are most apt to find the likes of Inspector Clouseau, Barney Fife and/ or Inspector Gadget.
However, as further reporting brings to light more of the details at Tennessee, there is reason to heap scorn on the incompetence resident in Knoxville. I will cite in a moment the allegations pending against the outgoing regime there but just to set the stage, let me review a few facts that are not remotely in dispute:
- The University of Tennessee (UT) is now embarked on its fifth search for a head football coach since the end of the 2008 season. Jeremy Pruitt was preceded in that job by Butch Jones, Derek Dooley and Lane Kiffin.
- [Aside: In late 2020, UT extended the contract of Coach Pruitt through the end of the 2026 season and gave him a raise. I suspect that no one in the chain of command there will raise his/her hand today to say it was a good idea back then,]
- The Vols began the 2020 season with two wins over South Carolina and Missouri. Then they lost 7 of their last 8 tames with the only win coming at the expense of woebegone Vandy in mid-December.
- Kevin Steele was hired as the new Defensive Coordinator about a month ago; he is now the “Acting Head Coach”. If sanctions and recruitment restrictions are headed in UT’s direction, it would make sense to name him the “Permanent Head Coach” because he will surely work cheap and it will not matter who is the head coach because the team is going to “struggle” for the next several years.
So, what is it that Coach Pruitt is alleged to have overseen as the major domo of the Tennessee football program?
- A source told Dan Patrick and Patrick reported it on his radio program that potential recruits would get McDonald’s bags from assistant coaches that contained cash money instead of a Big Mac and large fries.
- [Aside: No, I do not give the assistant coaches there “creativity points” for finding new variants on the “hundred-dollar handshake”.]
As I noted a couple of days ago, the reason that Pruitt got the job at UT in the first place was that the coaching search at that time turned up a name that did not sit well with some virtue signalers, social justice warriors and some of the local sports radio yakkers in the local area. That bit of history gives some context to this observation by Pat Forde at SI.com:
“Good job, Vols. Good effort. You got your program back — whatever that means — and it’s a bigger dumpster fire than ever. You’ve surpassed even Auburn as the Dysfunction Capital of the Southeastern Conference. Maybe leave the radio guy’s opinions out of the coaching search this time.”
Speaking of college football coaches and the SEC, I was interested to see that Doug Marrone – – recently fired as the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars – – has decided to put some luster back on his coaching résumé by taking the job of offensive line coach at Alabama under the tutelage of Nick Saban. Here is Marrone’s performance as a head coach from 2009 to 2020:
- He was 25-25 at Syracuse over a 4-year span
- He was 15-17 with the Buffalo Bills over a 2-year span
- He was 1-1 as the interim coach of the Jags at the end of the 2016 season
- He was 22-42 as the head coach of the Jags over a 4-year span.
- That record pretty well defines, “Meh!”
Doug Marrone is only 56 years old; I would be shocked if he did not aspire to at least one more “head coaching gig” before he hangs up his whistle for good. And so, he does the football coaches’ equivalent of a pilgrimage to the cleansing waters of Lourdes; he takes a job with Nick Saban to assimilate by osmosis the essences of winning football from “The Guru”. If you think I am exaggerating, please check this out; it is a compilation of 21 former Nick Saban assistant coaches who went on to get head coaching gigs. Oh, by the way it was compiled in 2019 so there may be an addition to two to the list…
Finally, in keeping with the college football heading for today’s rant, here is a pertinent comment from Dwight Perry in the Seattle Times:
“Michigan football center Zach Carpenter has entered the NCAA transfer portal.
“Forget the victors — hail to the first Uber out of town.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………