According to various reports over the weekend, Chris Ash has been fired as Rutgers’ head football coach.
On the surface, this just seems like the start of the coaching carousel and nothing more.
But it’s actually a situation that could impact the Tennessee Vols.
Football Scoop reported on Sunday that Greg Schiano, who coached Rutgers from 2001-2011 before making an unsuccessful leap to the NFL, is the Scarlet Knights’ top choice to replace Ash.
In fact, according to Football Scoop, Schiano left his defensive coordinator job with the New England Patriots (which he held from February to March) because of the possibility that Rutgers would be looking for a new coach this fall/winter. Schiano was reportedly so certain that the job would be open at some point this year that he wanted to be “available”.
Former Tennessee head coach Butch Jones has also been connected to the job, but it appears that Schiano is at the top of Rutgers’ list.
So how would this all affect Tennessee?
Well, I still believe there’s a possibility Jones could end up on Rutgers’ staff.
Right now, Jones is in his second season as an analyst on Nick Saban’s staff at Alabama. It’s not a bad move by Jones. He gets to learn from the best college football coach in the game, while collecting his buyout money from Tennessee. If he landed a new job, it would mitigate the buyout from the Vols.
Jones, who is probably holding out for a head coaching gig, can’t stay at Alabama forever. His reputation already isn’t great because of his final season in Knoxville. At some point, he’s going to have to take a job that requires some actual responsibility.
Serving as the offensive coordinator under Schiano at Rutgers would be a perfect situation for Jones.
If that combination were to happen, I think it’s almost automatic that Vols quarterback Jarrett Guarantano would follow both coaches to Rutgers.
It’s hard to imagine a scenario where Guarantano starts for the Vols next year. And since the New Jersey native has already graduated from Tennessee, it makes a lot of sense that he’d transfer for his final season of eligibility.
Guarantano’s dad played wide receiver at Rutgers while Jones served as a graduate assistant at Rutgers. So the two know each other quite well (it was a big reason why Jarrett Guarantano committed to Tennessee). And Schiano and Guarantano’s dad also know each other quite well (Schiano was a graduate assistant during the elder Guarantano’s freshman season at Rutgers). Schiano actually “offered” Jarrett Guarantano as a six year old.
Two years after Schiano and Guarantano were nearly united at Tennessee (before fan protests ensured the pairing wouldn’t happen), seems like a perfect time for the two, along with Jones, to be united at Rutgers.
(By the way, if Schiano is hired by Rutgers, he’d most certainly be forced to publicly talk about the infamous 2017 Tennessee coaching search.)
If the Schiano/Jones/Guarantano combination happens in 2020, it seems inevitable that Tennessee would somehow end up playing the Scarlet Knights in a bowl game.
Because, well, college football is crazy and it would be the most hyped bowl game ever between fringe bowl teams.
Featured image via Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports/