Leave it to Steve Spurrier to put a humorous slant on a serious subject. Observing that all 12 football coaches in the Southeastern Conference retained their employment status from a year ago, he had a quip for those assembled at the SEC Media Days last month in Birmingham. "I guess it was a bad year for firing coaches," he said. It is doubtful 2006 will be the same. Here's my list of the trio of mentors who'd better have more highlights than lowlights starting a week from today. RICH BROOKS - KENTUCKY -- Hard to believe this guy actually took Oregon to its first Rose Bowl in 37 years and then landed the St. Louis Rams job in the NFL. Entering his fourth season in Lexington after being out of football for two seasons, the Wildcats have gone just 9-25 since his arrival, including a 3-8 mark last year that featured a 24-point whipping at the hands of lowly Indiana. If he doesn't win this fall -- UK has 16 starters returning -- it won't be because he has inferior assistants. Randy Sanders, Tennessee's play-caller the night the Vols won the national championship in 1998, is the new quarterbacks coach, and former LSU head coach Mike Archer is the defensive coordinator. However, it doesn't help that hated Louisville is on an all-time high and has beaten Brooks' club three years in a row. HOUSTON NUTT - ARKANSAS -- What a testament for the volatile business coaching has become when Nutt barely saved his job in Fayetteville just one season after no less an elite college football power than Nebraska tried to hire him away. Word has it he didn't want to relinquish the play-calling duties to former high-school coach Gus Malzahn, but athletics director Frank Broyles demanded it. Toss in former NFL quarterbacks coach Alex Wood and the potential for too many chiefs obviously exists. The good news is the Razorbacks have 20 starters returning once running back Darren McFadden's toe injury heals, and most of the squad's difficult games are at home. The bad news is those teams include Southern Cal, Alabama, Tennessee and LSU. Most folks say it'll take at least eight wins for Nutt to remain in power, and even then, the four losses better not be blowouts. PHIL FULMER -- TENNESSEE -- While he's probably the least likely out of the group to get his walking papers, there is little doubt the natives are restless in Knoxville. Last season was a disaster, as the Vols started the season ranked No. 3 in the country yet wound up only 5-6 with humiliating losses to old nemesis Steve Spurrier, Notre Dame and perennial doormat Vanderbilt. The main culprit was inconsistent quarterback play. Thus, Sanders got canned and old offensive coordinator David Cutcliffe lured back to UT. But according to reports, Eric Ainge hasn't performed in preseason camp any better than he did a year ago. And then there's a daunting schedule that includes a bizarre back-to-back opening stretch with highly-touted California and wishbone-running Air Force. The Vols also go to suddenly-formidable Memphis and draw Alabama, LSU and Arkansas from the SEC West to go along with East powers Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. Tennessee is just three seasons removed from a 10-2 campaign, but anything much less than that in '06 will only turn up the heat. Phil Paramore's column appears Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday in The Dothan Eagle. He can be heard weekday mornings from 7 until 9 on AM 560 WOOF. He can be reached at www.woofradio.com.
Saturday, August 26, 2006
Phil Paramore, Dothan Alabama Eagle Sportswriter and noted Bama Homer, gives us his take on the SEC coaches on the hot seat. Sorry Phil, I see an error or two in your analysis. Phil, Randy Sanders of http://firerandysanders.com/ glory, had some "issues" at Tennessee. You make the following comment on Randall from Coach Phil's 2005 debacle: "The main culprit was inconsistent quarterback play. Thus, Sanders got canned and old offensive coordinator David Cutcliffe lured back to UT." Then on the Kentucky write-up you add this comment: "it won't be because he has inferior assistants. Randy Sanders, Tennessee's play-caller the night the Vols won the national championship in 1998, is the new quarterbacks coach". Thus my ass, I gotta call bullshit. So Mr. Paramore, which is it? Is Sanders good or bad? If he leaves UT for UK that must be good for the Wildcats, because Kentucky sucks and Sanders is from UT? So is Sanders a step up for UK? I get it now, a backasswards compliment for the Volunteer Program. I hope the Bama fans don't flatten the tires on your car for saying something good about the Vols. Here is the whole article: