After 44 days, the Vols are still seeking to fill the Offensive Coordinator position. With the AFCA meetings happening now in San Antonio, it is expected that Jeremy Pruitt will have the position filled by the end of the week. With that said, I wouldn’t recommend holding your breath since Coach Jeremy Pruitt has mastered the art of the poker face without leading anyone to believe that he is in a hurry to bring in the new “overrated” Coordinator.
However, new information has surfaced this morning that Tennessee Football has interest in Tampa Bay Buccaneers Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken.
After a few days of reading rumor filled tweets that Jim Chaney was seeking to part ways with Kirby Smart and Georgia, the recent news of the Vols interest in Monken has extinguished the smoke from the rumored flame and Chaney is slated to get a big payday.
So this leaves us with a question..
Who is Todd Monken?
Monken has coached for nearly 30 years with positions in both the NFL and CFB. As mentioned, he has been with the Buccaneers since 2016 and prior to was the Head Coach for Southern Mississippi. Now as we all know, Ryan Fitzpatrick started out the 2018 season very hot and was on course to break NFL records, but like he tends to do, he leveled out and Jameis Winston took the job back over. That was great for Bucs fans, but I want to focus on Monkens time at Southern Miss as Head Coach and show what he was able to do by taking the reigns of a weak program and how he was able to to improve. Monkens time at Southern Miss was definitely impressive seeing how his first year the team only won a single game, but his final year with Southern Miss was capped off with a 9 win season. Now, the cliche of “Quarterback Whisperer” could be used, but as every Titans fan knows, that saying needs to be put on the shelf for now. However, if I am Jarrett Guarantano, JT Shrout, Brian Mauer, or 2020 commit Harrison Bailey, I would definitely be elated if the Vols are able to land Todd Monken as their OC. For Monkens final season at Southern Miss, the QB was Nick Mullen who is now the famed back up to Jimmy Garrapolo with the 49ers. In the 2015 season, Mullen threw for 4,476 yards, 38 TD, 12 INT’s and had a 63.5 completion percentage which gave him a 155.2 QB Rating at the end of the season – not to mention Mullens broken all of Brett Favre’s records.
Also in the 2015 season, Monken had two 1,000 yard rushers in Jalen Richards and Ito Smith who both averaged nearly 6 yards per carry. Wide Receiver Michael Thomas, who was drafted in the later rounds of the of the 2016 NFL Draft by the LA Rams, finished the 2015 season 1,391 yards receiving and 14 TD’s. His teammate, Casey Martin had a solid year with 925 yards receiving and 7 TDs.
Now, say what you will, “this is the SEC and we’re playing against Alabama, Georgia, and Florida every year.” Sure, but if you partner a guy like Monken with Coach Jeremy Pruitt, the marriage between great recruiter and player development just got a lot sweeter. Like CJP has made clear by putting his focus on recruiting over the coaching search – you are only as good as the talent bring in.
Alright let’s take a step back and look at this both ways..
Why Todd Monken Would Not Come to Tennessee
Monken is a hot Coaching commodity both in CFB and in the NFL. Monken interviewed for the vacant HC position with Green Bay that was just recently awarded to Matt LaFleur, and is in the mix for both the Arizona Cardinals and New York Jets HC job, as well. NFL.com detailed how back up QB, Ryan Fitzpatrick, made the comment that, “Monken has the HC ‘It Factor.‘” He stated that Monken is everything a Quarterback could ask for, as well as..
“If the play-caller has confidence in you, you can feel it on the headset,” Fitzpatrick said. “You can feel it by the way he’s calling plays. He was so awesome this year in terms of that, especially for it being his first time calling plays in the NFL. It was easy for him. He wasn’t stumbling over words or worried about mistakes or shrinking in big moments. He did a great job with all that.”
For Monken, the opportunity to work with young Quarterback talent like Sam Darnold or Josh Rosen, it would be a very tall task for Coach Jeremy Pruitt to land a Coach as coveted as Monken, and there is no doubt that CJP knows that he could be the cornerstone of a rebuilding program. If you are the GM for any of the mentioned teams, you are drooling over a coach like Todd Monken hoping to see him take the new face of your organization and win Super Bowl after Super Bowl.
Why Todd Monken Would Come To Tennessee
In 2018, Tennessee’s offense showed some positive flashes at times, however, they let the entire world aware of it’s glaring issues with the offensive line. However, for Jarrett Guarantano showed significant improves as an SEC Quarterback both in his accuracy and his leadership. JG had plenty of opportunities to throw his hands up and walk to the sideline after beating after beating, but he didn’t. Ty Chandler showed promise with his ability to run the ball from backfield, and also catch balls of a wide variety of routes. The 2019 Recruiting class has had two significant additions to the Offensive line in Wanya Morris and Jackson Lampley, and we still wait to hear the official decision from Darnell Wright, who is believed to pick the Vols for his CFB career. With TE’s Jackson Lowe and Sean Brown and the existing talent at WR, Todd Monken has plenty of pieces to work with.
This could be a very intriguing move for Todd Monken – go back a and coach in College Football, spend a few years building the Vols program back up, and potentially find himself a nice home as the Head Coach of a SEC team. There is no doubt that if all goes according to our hypothetical scenario here, Monken could improve him already impressive resume and find himself being fought over by NFL GM’s and AD’s from all over the country.
It doesn’t need to be said that there is a major adjustment happening on Rocky Top. Fans have been on edge after the wild 2017 coaching search, and rightfully so, but if Pruitt is able to land Todd Monken as the next Offensive Coordinator it would confirm that Jeremy Pruitt was the right hire and would force Tennessee fans to starting a process that hasn’t happened in over a decade; trust the Head Coach of Tennessee Football.
Say your prayers Vols fans and Go Big Orange!
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