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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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SEC Headlines – 6/10/11 Part One

1.  Here’s a behind-the-scenes video look at Auburn’s day in Washington, DC.

2.  It sounds like ex-Tiger Cam Newton is earning respect from his Carolina Panthers teammates.

3.  This blogger thinks Georgia could make or break Boise State’s season.

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King: Mallett Should’ve Gone To Meetings Sick

Anyone who’s ever had a stomach bug knows that the last thing you want to be is out in public.  But Sports Illustrated’s Peter King believes Ryan Mallett would’ve helped his draft cause if he’d ignored his nausea during a recently scheduled meeting with the Carolina Panthers.

It was initially reported that the former Arkansas quarterback skipped his meetings with Carolina brass — not to be confused with Tijuana Brass, mind you — after staying out too late partying.  Mallett’s agent and the Panthers shot down the report.  But it still might not help the QB on draft day, according to King:


“After the dinner, Mallett’s next scheduled appointment with the Panthers was breakfast at his hotel the next day with offensive coordinator (Rob) Chudzinski.  Mallett arrived for the meeting and said he’d been sick all night and still was feeling nauseous.  He was told to go get some rest, and if he felt better, he could meet with coaches later in the day.  But he continued to feel ill and just flew home that day instead of meeting with the Panthers.

Now, for the majority of players without a history of off-the-field red flags, this would be easy.  Kid’s been traveling a lot, kid got sick.  With Mallett, he should have dragged himself through an uncomfortable day any way possible so that he didn’t give the other 31 teams another log on the fireplace to burn his reputation.  Not a smart move by the kid.”


There’s an obvious joke in there thanks to King’s choice of words, but I’ll let it be.

No one is as connected as King when it comes to NFL sources, so when he writes that Mallett hurt himself by not working through his illness, I’ll buy it.  But I don’t think it’s fair.

If Mallett was truly ill, it’s hard to fault him for not leaving his hotel — or his restroom — to meet with potential employers.

However, depending on the time of Mallett’s flight home, one could easily point out that an airport and an airplane is no place to be with a stomach bug, either.

Suffice to say, leading up to this week’s draft, Mallett can’t seem to catch a break off the field.


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SEC Headlines – 4/21/11 Part Three

1.  Ryan Mallett missed meetings with the Carolina Panthers this month due to an illness, not a late night of partying.

2.  This writer believes Mallett — who some have compared to Eminem and Vanilla Ice — “seems to be a target” rather than a prospect as the NFL draft nears.

3.  Some Hog fans have put up a billboard thanking Bobby Petrino “FOR BRINGING WINNING & EXCITEMENT BACK TO RAZORBACK FOOTBALL.”

4.  Ole Miss has hired a company to produce a feasibility study that will help the school plan for a new basketball arena.

5.  The Rebels’ running backs figure to get a lot of work this fall.

6.  Mississippi State has launched the largest athletic fundraising campaign in the school’s history.

7.  Dan Mullen told The Jackson Clarion-Ledger that he “could absolutely say that Tyler Russell could be our starter.”  (We believe that’s a motivational ploy for Russell and projected starter Chris Relf.)

8.  Here are some of the players Mullen said stood out this spring.

9.  And here’s one writer’s guess as to what MSU’s defensive depth chart looks like post-spring.

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Bama’s Sunseri Contacted By Fox, Broncos

New Denver Broncos coach John Fox has reached out to Alabama linebackers coach Sal Sunseri – one of Fox’s former assistants with the Carolina Panthers — about joining his latest NFL staff.

Sunseri recently interviewed for but did not get the head coaching job at Pitt, his alma mater.  Fox and Sunseri also worked together as assistants at Pitt from 1986 through 1988.

Sunseri joined Nick Saban’s staff in 2009 to replace the departed Lance Thompson.

Sunseri has a son who has already early enrolled at Bama as a linebacker/safety prospect.

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