ESPN NFL analyst Jon Gruden told "The Paul Finebaum Show" on Aug. 6 coaching the Tennessee Volunteers "is a dream job."
Jon Gruden considers coaching the Tennessee Volunteers as "a dream job."
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Gruden said on ESPN's "The Paul Finebaum Show" (via NFL.com's Chase Goodbread) on Aug. 6. He also said Butch Jones is a great fit as the Volunteers' head football coach:
"I don't know how close. I love football. I'll be the first to tell you, I miss coaching. But I do look at my job here as a lot like coaching. I get a chance to be around it 364 days a year and I feel like I'm improving, but I don't have a team.
"Tennessee is a dream job for a lot of people, me lncluded. Timing wasn't right. I'll say this about the Volunteers, they got the right guy. I think Butch Jones is going to put the Volunteers back on the map. It might happen this year."
Gruden was a graduate assistant at Tennessee in the mid-1980s. Goodbread stresses this "has fueled occasional speculation about him returning to the school."
Goodbread also says there could have been interest from either side.
Tennessee won last season's TaxSlayer Bowl by beating the Iowa Hawkeyes. Yet the Volunteers struggled to a 6-6 regular-season mark, per NFL.com.
The Volunteers' stellar recruiting class should help them contend in 2015.
Among them are defensive tackle Kahlil McKenzie, defensive end Kyle Philipps, wide receiver Preston Williams and running back Alvin Kamara, per 247Sports.com.
Several college and NFL teams have targeted Gruden in recent years. Gruden was reportedly interested in coaching the Texas Longhorns. This was after Mack Brown stepped down in Dec. 2013. OrangeBloods.com (via NFL.com) first reported the news.
Even back then, the Volunteers were already rumored to be interested in Gruden. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish were also linked to him, per NFL.com's Dan Greenspan.
NFL media analyst Gil Brandt believes Gruden would succeed at the college level.
However, Brandt had doubts Gruden would leave his lucrative ESPN NFL analyst job.
"I have no doubt Jon Gruden would be a successful college coach because of his ability to relate to young people," Brandt told Greenspan. "But I would be surprised if he wanted to give up the comfortable routine (of working in television)."
Walterfootball.com's Charlie Campbell reported Gruden spent some time tutoring Johnny Manziel in Tampa Bay.
Gruden focused on film work and mechanics with the Cleveland Browns quarterback. ESPN's Pat McManamon confirmed the information.
Gruden said he'd select Manziel given the opportunity. He declared this prior to the 2014 NFL draft, per McManamon.
Manziel decision is another step in putting his disastrous rookie season behind him.
Earlier this year, he spent 10 weeks at a treatment facility. McManamon stresses he even changed addresses.
Manziel is also not as active on social media anymore. He also promised not to do his "money sign" anymore, per ESPN.
Manziel was just 18-of-35 passing last season. He did not throw for a single touchdown. He also had two interceptions and a fumble in five games, per ESPN.
Gruden has 11 years of NFL head-coaching experience. He coached the Oakland Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He led the latter team to victory in Super Bowl XXXVII.
Gruden finished with a 95-81 (.540) win-loss record, per Pro-Football-Reference.com.
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