I never thought I’d be talking about potential replacements for Jeremy Pruitt as the Tennessee Vols head coach in 2020.

But there’s a lot of things about 2020 that don’t make sense, so maybe we shouldn’t be surprised.

Pruitt’s seat is heating up after a 2-4 start that includes inexcusable losses to Kentucky and Arkansas. While I don’t think Pruitt will be fired — due to the ongoing pandemic that’s impacting athletic departments financially — I’m not ready to rule it out completely. If the Vols lose out this season, something that’s not out of the question, it’s certainly possible that Tennessee could look to make a change.

The hot names to replace Pruitt would inevitably be Hugh Freeze, Urban Meyer, and Bob Stoops.

Tennessee fans, however, should know better than assuming the program will land a “hot name”. The Vols usually come up short in a coaching search, so it wouldn’t be wise for fans to expect the program to land Freeze, Meyer, or Stoops over other programs.

That’s why I think there’s an under-the-radar option that UT fans should keep in mind.

Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator Joe Brady.

Brady, who served as LSU’s passing game coordinator during their historic 2019 championship run, is considered one of the brightest offensive minds in football. It’s not “if” ┬áBrady will become a head coach, it’s “when”. His ascent up the coaching ranks has been incredible to watch (just two years ago Brady was an offensive assistant with the New Orleans Saints).

The only problem with hiring Brady would be that he’s likely going to end up in the NFL as a head coach. I could see a situation where he lands at Tennessee for a couple of years and then heads to the NFL for a head coaching gig.

But after the way the last 10 years have gone, I think UT fans would be just fine with that.

Brady coming to Rocky Top, getting the offense where it needs to be, and then leaving wouldn’t be the end of the world. The program would likely be more appealing to potential head coaches after Brady leaves his mark.

There’s going to be a lot of options for the Vols if they move on from Pruitt. Whatever happens, though, they can’t screw up this next move. If Tennessee doesn’t get this fixed soon, fans are going to start becoming incredibly apathetic.

Featured image via Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports