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UT’s Wilcox The Frontrunner For Arizona State?

Yesterday, it looked like June Jones had the Arizona State job in hand.  Rumors hit the messageboards that Jones would target a top defensive coordinator so he could focus on his offense and the name that got the most play was that of Tennessee’s Justin Wilcox.

A day later, Jones is heading back to SMU with his tail between his legs and Wilcox is reportedly a hot candidate for the head coaching job himself.

John Gambadoro of KTAR-AM in Phoenix tweeted the following this afternoon:

“While its impossible to determine how many cooks are in the ASU kitchen — I am being told that Tenn DC Wilcox is a frontrunner for the job”

Wilcox is a West Coast guy having played at Oregon and coached at California and Boise State.  Derek Dooley — who had coached against Wilcox in the WAC — lured him to Knoxville where in his second year he had Tennessee ranked #28 in the nation in total defense and #35 in scoring defense.  Not bad considering the youth and inexperience on UT’s roster.

Last offseason, Texas made a run at Wilcox before settling on Manny Diaz as defensive coordinator.

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Waiting Game Continues Regarding Assistant Coach Moves

When Will Muschamp accepted the head coaching job at Florida ripples spread across the Southeastern Conference:

* Muschamp would hire defensive coordinator and former teammate Kirby Smart from Alabama… thus leaving the Crimson Tide with a hole to fill.

* Muschamp might also make a run at former colleague and Tennessee linebackers coach Lance Thompson… which would send the Vols scrambling for a replacement.

* Some internet rumors also popped up suggesting Muschamp might recruit his buddy Mike Bobo from Georgia to be the Gators’ offensive coordinator.

* And Muschamp’s departure from Texas opened up a job that’s been rumored to have been offered to both Florida’s Teryl Austin and Tennessee’s Justin Wilcox.

That’s a lot of movement.  But not a lick of it has happened yet.

Florida and Texas are two of the five best programs in the country.  Their coaches can take their time on searches and still — for the most part — land the guys they want.  (One big reason: Florida and Texas assistants become head coaches with pretty good regularity.)

In this case, Mack Brown and Muschamp seem to truly be waiting until after the bowl season to make their hires.  That’s smart for both coaches.  Not only can they cherry-pick the best assistants in the nation, but their deep recruiting bases make it unlikely that they’ll suffer on Signing Day.  There’s no rush for UF and UT.  Best to show patience and conduct thorough searches.

Unfortunately, fans of other schools around the SEC will just have to be patient, too.  That means dealing with a few more days of rumors and internet reports linking their current coaches to the openings in Gainesville and Austin. 

For the next week at least, best to keep the Rolaids handy, folks.

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