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Posted: Tuesday, December 5th, 2017, 9:26 AM • Permalink
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Before I left the airwaves Monday, I implored Vol Nation to take a deep breath for the next little bit and relax. Of course in the era of Twitter and coaching vacancies coupled with our lack of leadership to this point, we all want to rush this story to its conclusion. With all that said I thought it would be productive to offer a Tennessee/Fulmer Coaching Search FAQ.

Tennessee Fulmer Coaching Search FAQ's:

1. Is Fulmer REALLY In Charge or a puppet of the HOH? Well, I'll put it this way, he's beholden to no one here. He's on a mission. I've been told that Fulmer will consult others, but he's not going to take directives like John Currie.

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2. Is Jon Gruden in this thing? Bigfoot had a better chance of accompanying Fulmer to the podium last week than Jon Gruden.

3. Is Lane Kiffin in this thing?
Trusted Phillip Fulmer confidant Doug Mathews referred to Kiffin as a 'PUNK' on his Big Orange Sunday Radio Show. I would probably scratch him out.

4. What is the HOH's Involvement In This Search?
They will offer use of their airplane, but I don't think Fulmer even plans to use it. From this point on (in this deal anyway) they're going to be spectating. How this plays out in the future in other matters remains to be seen.

5. Who Has Interviewed So Far? Kevin Steele: DC Auburn Mel Tucker: DC Georgia Chad Morris: HC SMU Jeremy Pruitt: DC Alabama

6. Who will Phillip Fulmer Interview In NYCNY? That's a Yuuuuuuuge question.

7. How Will Phillip Fulmer Conduct His Business In NYCNY? Very casually, I've been told. As a coach to coach type of deal. Think about it, Fulmer is going to be able to walk up to standing coach and ask 'Hey. How's it going.'

8. When will this thing be done? No sooner than Wednesday afternoon if I'm guessing.

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9. If Your're Playing An Office Pool What Day Would You Say? I'll go with Thursday. This would give Fulmer a chance to either double back with those he's spoken with already or unearth a new candidate. If Tennessee was going to hire somebody/anybody an MOU usually takes a full business day to put one of these together. Perhaps they iron out a deal with somebody close to him like Kevin Steele and they go on faith. In fact probably any of the coordinators or Les Miles would/could do something pretty quickly.

10. Speaking Of Les Miles.....Is He A Legitimate Candidate? Yes and no. He's legitimate but only if Tennessee swings and misses on a bunch of guys. The real problem for him is that Tennessee isn't going to swing and miss on any other names listed under FAQ #5.

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11. Did Phillip Fulmer 'Torpedo' The Hire Of Mike Leach? Absolutely NOT. Phillip Fulmer had NOTHING to do with anything that John Currie was doing. The narrative that Fulmer was undermining Currie doesn't wash. Put it this way, if Fulmer was so gung ho as to steal Currie's job, why does he only have a 2 year deal? And why is it under market value? Phillip Fulmer at $500 k or thereabouts per year is an absolute steal compared to John Currie at near 1 million dollars.

12. If Not Fulmer, Who 'Torpedoed' Mike Leach? The real answer to that is that it was done by none other than John Currie. Currie met with Leach in an authorized capacity while trying to complete a Hail Mary designed to save his ass. And the pass though complete in real time was overruled upon further review. Fulmer was in NO LOOP at all while this was going on. Currie dealt with the HOH (including Peyton Manning) in this deal who acted as the HOH's proxy during the Currie Search.

13. What is Peyton Manning's Role In The Fulmer Search? Sources said he'll get a courtesy call here and there but isn't expected to be present during interviews unless he's otherwise invited.

14. Can Peyton Manning Block A Tee Martin Hire? A better question is do Manning & Martin have real heat with each other. The Manning camp claims they don't while other VFL's say it’s a well known fact that those guys don't like each other. Who knows? It's readily apparent that Manning made a terrible mistake in casting his lot with the HOH. And since they're out, he's out as far as potentially blocking Martin from becoming Head Coach at Tennessee. If Manning feels strongly about a particular candidate, he could always bring that up to Fulmer tonight in NYCNY during his HOF night. At the end of the day I think the whole Manning/Martin has been overblown and was exacerbated by Currie's misstep in not even acknowledging Tee Martin the first go around.

15. Is The HOH Dead At UT: Not by a long shot. There's something called a battle and then there's the war. The fans and former players and current players and free thinking East Tennesseans won a battle on Friday. The Haslams have quite the war chest with which to do battle. Watch for Bill Haslam to angle to replace Joe DiPietro when his Governorship is up. Now, how will this be impacted if Jimmy Haslam is ultimately indicted? Then again Haslam Fatigue is a real thing and it's palpable. Perhaps you even suffer from it.

Congratulations To The Basketball Vols: Back in the Top 25 for the first time in 7 years. LaMonte Turner and Grant Williams are both playing out of their minds. These kids play hard every minute of every game. They remind me of John Chaney's old teams 30 years plus back when he first got the job at Temple.

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By the eye test alone I believe the committee selected the best four college football teams in the land and seeded them correctly.....


I asked 'X' to provide a recruiting breakdown of guys on Tennessee's shortlist (or guys that could get on that shortlist) this second go around. Here's what 'X' came up with.

'X' Says
"I will compare head coaches against head coaches then coordinators against coordinators

Head Coaches:

Chris Petersen, Washington:

At Washington, Petersen's average recruiting class ranking from recruiting cycle 2015 forward is 30th in the country with a high of 23 and a low of 37. Over that time he has signed 51 prospects and has 25 committed to their 2018 class. As you would expect, their classes have been west coast centric. Washington has dipped into Texas and signed 4 prospects. The only southeastern signee was Peter Sirmon's son out of the Nashville area.

Petersen's recruiting philosophy is a bit of a concern. From reading about his coaching career, he is one of those coaches that has a system and doesn't deviate much from that system. For the 2018 cycle, Washington is third from the bottom among Power 5 schools in handing out scholarship offers. To date, Washington has extended something like 80 offers. Comparatively, Tennessee has doled out over 200. He has a recruiting process system and he sticks to it. Petersen is absent of any recruiting ties in the southeast . He is an excellent coach but his ability and philosophy with respect to recruiting would be tested in the southeast. From reading, his staff appear to be very good evaluators who look for prospects that fit their system that may or may not be highly rated by the recruiting services.

Chad Morris, SMU:

SMU is located in the middle of Texas some of the a most fertile recruiting turf in the country. Too, Morris grew up and coached in Texas high school football for years before jumping to the college ranks.
His recruiting numbers at SMU would be a concern.

In Morris' defense, Texas has four programs in the Big 12, one in the SEC and another, Houston, that shares the American conference with SMU. However, Morris would face similar recruiting challenges at Tennessee. SMU is probably the 6th or 7th best known program of the 12 FBS programs in Texas.

Since arriving at SMU , the average national ranking of SMU recruiting classes is 79 . Their highest ranking was 73 and their lowest was 81. Another issue that maybe problematic is over this period of time SMU has signed 65 prospects and have 19 committed currently. All but 2 prospects are from outside of Texas.

Morris has southeastern recruiting connections from his time at Clemson and he was a successful recruiter there. Morris would need to build a staff of recruiters with legitimate SEC experience to compete at Tennessee.

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Les Miles:

Miles was at LSU for 11 recruiting cycles . While at LSU, Miles made in state recruiting a priority . Over 50 % of the prospects signed during those 11 cycles hailed from Louisiana. Rarely did a prospect he really wanted from the state of Louisiana sign with a competing school. Miles ' staff supplemented there in state success by dipping into Texas , Alabama, , Florida, North Carolina and even Tennessee where LSU won some major recruiting battles. Miles staff signed over 40 prospects from the state of Texas during this period and took double digit prospects from states like Georgia, Florida, Alabama , and Mississippi. Miles has traditionally surrounded himself with a high energy recruiting staff . If he is hired by Tennessee, I would expect him to do the same.

Coordinators: I think there are three on the board. Mel Tucker, Jeremy Pruitt, and Brent Venables. I haven't included Kevin Steele here BUT I may circle back to him if things change in the next 24 hours.

Mel Tucker:

While Mel Tucker has the most impressive coaching background compared to the other coordinators, he is a bit of an unknown when it comes to recruiting. He recruited under Nick Saban at Alabama and Kirby Smart. Both Saban and Smart are known as being great closers. Last year in his first year at Georgia, Tucker was the lead recruiter for one five star and 4, four star prospects. For 2018, Tucker is ranked by 247 sports as a top 20 recruiter.

He had similar success at Alabama. Tucker is probably not a favorite to land the job. He is a Saban disciple. I have no doubt he would do a nice job here.

Brent Venables and Jeremy Pruitt:

Venables and Pruitt deserve discussion together. Both are excellent (take that back... elite) recruiters and have done so at different stops. Venables at Oklahoma before moving on Clemson. Pruitt at a number of SEC programs including a stint at Florida State.

Venables has won national recruiter of the year in the past and consistently ranks as a top ten recruiter every cycle. Venables ' peer is Pruitt . Pruitt was named national recruiter of the year in recruiting cycles 2012, 2013, and 2016. Other cycles, he was a top 10 recruiter nationally.

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The recruiting skills that both Venables and Pruitt have is portable to any school in the southeast. Both are passionate, relentless recruiters that have vast recruiting networks. Work ethic and recruiting networks will travel to Knoxville. Venables also has two kids that are ACC/SEC caliber prospects.

Hiring either Venables or Pruitt would help Tennessee get players immediately and Tennessee is in dire need of players.

While Clemson and Alabama would not suffer irreparable harm by the departure of each coach, both programs would be impacted by their loss.

From a recruiting position only, a motivated Les Miles, Venables, Pruitt and to a lesser extent Tucker would get players here quickly. The others I have recruiting concerns about.


'X'....It's going to be interesting to see where this thing goes. We're going to document this every step of the way.

A New Direction At Here at we’re creating a series of programming with little to mostly zero commercial sponsorship. In other words, you will be digesting the following programs in coming days with almost no interruption. This is unprecedented in the history of my business. Nobody has ever done this. Here are the offerings coming your way.

Our Family Of Offerings:

‘X-Cast: A Recruiting Podcast’: Featuring Tony Basilio & ‘X’ where we discuss the latest moves, behind the scenes machinations and all the intrigue from the world of recruiting. This will hopefully be offered twice monthly with lengths varying. If this takes off perhaps we can even do some live offerings of this show. THIS IS BEING OFFERED COMMERCIAL FREE!!!

Posted: Thu, Dec 14th, 2:12 PM
by Beano
The Solution
Posted: Mon, Dec 11th, 9:08 PM
by Alison
The Revolution That Saved Tennessee Football
Posted: Thu, Dec 7th, 7:58 PM
by Josh
Fifth Quarter Fan Reaction: Back for season 4. Sponsored by Marcos Garza. This year with NO OTHER SPONSORS. This will be pure content for you. I’m taking a chance here but I know you will reward me for not bombarding you with messages Vol Network style. This program will run for at least 3 hours following Tennessee Football Games. We will have new visual presentation of this feature as well that we’re investing in. Thanks to Jayson Swain for helping me with the technical side of our visual presentation.

Southeastern Sunday Night: 7p to 9p on Sunday Nights airing on Periscope/Facebook Live and other platforms including your Tony Basilio Show App. This will be a regional program that aims to keep it real. We will tell the truth on us, them and all with you. This could be a lot of fun if you help me spread the word across the region. This hopefully will turn into a free for all that is free for all. ZERO SPONSORS. COMMERCIAL FREE OFFERING.

Vol-Scars: A podcast featuring Vol Historian Tom Mattingly and Eric S where we go back in time and commemorate the painful losses in UT football history that left a mark. These shows are extremely time intensive to put together. I’ve worked all summer on these offerings and am really proud of what we’ve compiled thus far. I think you’ll really enjoy this. COMMERCIAL FREE.

Gate Twenty Won: A podcast Featuring Vol Historian Tom Mattingly where we celebrate the greatest wins in UT history in time capsule form. These are a breath of fresh air and the type of programming I’m aiming to bring to you . COMMERCIAL FREE

Chill Cast: Tell Me A Story: A podcast where I grab folks from the sports world and our community and allow them to share their stories with us. This will be done in the spirit of the recent re-launch programs that I did. We’ll aim to go deeper here. Stay tuned. COMMERCIAL FREE.

Tennessee Basketball Overtime: Back for year 5! Immediately following Tennessee Basketball Games. A Tennessee Basketball Call-In show featuring ONLY ONE SPONSOR…GARZA LAW FIRM. Therefore we keep the conversation going without bombarding you Vol Network style. What a concept!!!!

Garza On The Law: A Podcast dealing with the legal issues that invade the sports world featuring the great Marcos Garza. We will go deeper here. I promise that you will find this interesting. Presented by Garza Law Firm.

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FAQ's Asked Of Tony Per Our Relaunch Announcement:

Q: Tony, you didn't say anything about your daily show yesterday. Will you continue to do this?

A: Absolutely. I'm looking forward to year #24 with you.

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A: Great question. 'Subscribe' is a misnomer. What you actually are doing if you choose to help us monthly (and we need this for budgeting reasons) is actually acting as a patron. The goal is to keep the content (ALL CONTENT, from postgame offerings to various podcasts) free for all.

Posted: Thu, Dec 14th, 2:12 PM
by Beano
The Solution
Posted: Mon, Dec 11th, 9:08 PM
by Alison
The Revolution That Saved Tennessee Football
Posted: Thu, Dec 7th, 7:58 PM
by Josh
Q: So, if I'm not subscribing and I'm already reading this, why give?

A: Because you value the content and our contribution to the market and you want to help us keep this stuff free for everybody.

Q: Are you going to beat us up for money all the time here?

A: Absolutely not. I will bring this up a few times heading into the football season as we attempt to meet our financial goals and create new programming. I'll also mention it in the post-game format as well as the regional programming. I will not however wear you out with this. Either you feel the need to help us or you don't. This is why I'm taking today to field some question I received after day one.

Q: What happens if this doesn't generate the revenue you're seeking?

A: We will scale back our online offerings accordingly. The blog itself could even disappear. I really don't want this to happen but will be forced to spend my time in the most profitable way necessary. That's why we're having the conversation. All my cards are on the table here.

Q: Where can I find these new podcasts, like that X-Cast?

A: Click on "Podcast" wherever you see it on the site, and it will take you to our Podcast page.

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