It's a very good possibility that Graham knows what he's doing and sees a lot of potential at TN. No doubt TN has a lot of issues to fix, but would anyone at the beginning of the season be surprised to hear that, after losing Bray, Hunter, Lathers, and Jackson (literally 4 of its 5 top players), we'd be 5-7? Not really - most realistic folks thought TN would at best be 6-6 or 7-5 even without the injuries. Take away those 4 players for most or all of the season, and 5-7 it is. It's a tough pill for fans & players to swallow having the repeated beatdowns this year, but the output of this year doesn't reflect where the program is headed. Take a look at how TN dominated a good Cincinnatti team at the beginning of the year. If Graham can help TN have even a decent run game, and Bray, Hunter, and Rogers are back, TN will make quite a bit of noise next year.
South Carolina running backs Jay Graham is going home. After serving on Steve Spurrier’s staff for three seasons, Graham will return to Knoxville to take over as running backs coach at Tennessee — a possibility we mentioned earlier today.
“Jay is not only one of the most accomplished running backs in Tennessee history, but he has also proven to be one of the top running backs coaches in the SEC,” Derek Dooley said via press release. “Jay understands what it means to be a Vol, and we are thrilled to have him on our staff.”
For Dooley, the hire is a sound one. He takes an up-and-coming coach from an East Division rival, he sends the message that his program isn’t so troubled that other coaches wouldn’t want to come onboard, and he earns some goodwill from the fanbase by hiring an ex-Vol.
For Graham, the decision is a bit tougher to decipher. Yes, he’ll get to help his alma mater. Also, you can bet he’ll get a hefty raise. But while Dooley and his staff will face a hot seat season next year, Spurrier has things on the rise in Columbia.
Be it for his heart or his wallet, Graham might be risking his rear — at least in the short term — by moving from the Palmetto State to the Volunteer State.