So Tennessee just dropped two staff hires in the middle of the inauguration. I have no idea what that’s supposed to mean. At any rate, Larry Scott is your new offensive coordinator at Tennessee. Here’s what we know.
1. He has never called plays at the collegiate level.
Larry Scott, the new offensive coordinator at an SEC school, has never called plays at the collegiate level. This seems alarming, but maybe it’s worth remembering he’s only 39 years old. Scott served as the tight ends coach at Tennessee in 2016. You likely also remember him from his time at Miami (FL), where he coached the team for six games in 2015 after Al Golden’s firing. (He beat Duke!)
2. His lone year of play-calling experience comes from a year spent at Sebring High School in Tampa, Florida.
I’ve reached out to Sebring High School’s head coach of the 2004 football team (Jared Hamlin) for comment. I’m dead serious. He’s the only person who knows if Scott can call plays well or not at this point in time.
3. Scott’s career was entirely spent in Florida prior being hired by Tennessee last year.
Scott played at South Florida from 1996 to 1999 as an offensive tackle. He shuffled around area high schools until 2006, when USF hired him as a graduate assistant. He rose through the ranks rapidly until he was hired by Miami (FL) as the tight ends coach in 2013.
4. My contact in the college football analytics world called this a “head-scratching hire.”
Adam McClintock at CFB Matrix, who I quote often, is a friend who sends me all sorts of great stats about staff hires/fires. He’s been a great contact throughout the offseason, especially when there was a 36-hour period where I thought Butch Jones might actually leave. I asked him about the Larry Scott hire. His reply: “this would be a head-scratching hire.” You and me both, Adam.
He also had this to say:
What this means to me is that they swung and missed on a lot of other names and this was their plan Z. Other top OCs . . . aren’t necessarily excited to join. Scott has never called a play, and Tennessee isn’t a place to learn your trade. It’s a place you go when you’re no longer the apprentice.
5. Scott is well-respected by most who have encountered him.
I’ve yet to read anything negative about Scott the person or even Scott the coach, which makes me think this hire possibly isn’t as disastrous as it could be. Scott’s great amount of experience in the state of Florida with regards to recruiting is a huge help.
6. This is Butch Jones’s second-straight offensive coordinator hire without any play-calling experience in the five years prior.
Mike DeBord hadn’t called plays since 2007 when he was hired by Tennessee in 2015. It worked out…okay, I guess? Larry Scott has never called plays in college, period. This is a giant risk, and we’ll have to see how it shakes out.