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UT Eyes Bama’s Sunseri For DC Spot

Head coach Derek Dooley worked under Nick Saban at two different stops.  New AD Dave Hart came from Alabama as well (with or without a banjo on his knee).  With Hart came a number of athletic department aides.  Now Tennessee is targeting someone else with ties to the Crimson Tide.

Despite rumors of Randy Shannon being the Vols’ guy last week, Dooley is now set to welcome Alabama linebackers coach Sal Sunseri to Knoxville today.  Sunseri coached with Dooley on Saban’s staff at LSU.  He spent seven years in the NFL with the Carolina Panthers before rejoining Saban in Tuscaloosa in 2009.  He also served as a defensive coordinator at Illinois State and Alabama A&M in the 1990s.

Sunseri — a former Pittsburgh players — was a candidate for the Panthers’ head coaching job last year. 

One has to wonder, however, if Sunseri is truly interested in becoming D-coordinator for the Vols or if he’s simply angling for a raise at Bama.  His son Vinnie (photo of the two together at left) just completed his first season as a Bama defensive back and special teamer.  Would Sunseri leave be willing to leave that set-up?

Dooley hasn’t had an easy time filling the vacancy on his staff.  Brian VanGorder was believed to be a target, but he chose a more stable situation as Auburn’s D-coordinator.  UT couldn’t come to terms with Baylor’s Phil Bennett, either.  Dooley’s job security — and a nice fat multi-year contract for coordinator candidates — have been the issue so far.

Navy defensive coordinator Buddy Green and TCU defensive coordinator Dick Bumpas have also reportedly met with Dooley.  If Sunseri, Green or Bumpas lands the job, one wonders if current assistant Lance Thompson might be the next to exit Knoxville as it’s believed he wants the promotion to coordinator.

Stay tuned…

 


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