Tennessee has considerable reservations about hiring Jon Gruden, CBS Sports has learned.
The concerns surround the fact Gruden has not coached at all in nine years and has not roamed a college football sideline in 26 years. Also, Gruden was basically a .500 coach (57-55) in his seven years with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers even after winning the Super Bowl in his first season with the Bucs in 2002. Some contend that roster had been largely assembled by former coach Tony Dungy, who had one losing season in his 13 combined years with Tampa Bay and the Indianapolis Colts.
Gruden had seasons in which his teams went .500 or worse in five of his 11 years in the NFL. He last coached in college when he served as Pittsburgh's wide receivers coach in 1991. There is also concern about his recruiting ability, especially in the hyper-charged SEC culture that lives day-to-day on recruiting.
Because of the sensitivity of the search process, sources close to the situation did not wish to be identified.
This is not to say Tennessee would not consider hiring Gruden. It's just that the Vols' concerns are real. Oklahoma State's Mike Gundy and former Oregon coach Chip Kelly, two names that have also been linked to the Tennessee job, are still thought to be among the candidates.
Gruden and Tennessee have been linked since before Butch Jones was fired last week. In fact, Gruden's name being linked to a major job has become almost an annual occurrence.
The 54-year-old ESPN analyst has done little lately to shoot down speculation that he would be interested in Tennessee.