When asked about the Tennessee job, David Cutcliffe said he's only focused on Duke. Credit: CHUCK LIDDY
Get used to this, Duke fans: there's talk in Tennessee of trying to lure David Cutcliffe to the Volunteers.
Earlier today, while Cutcliffe was on the weekly ACC football coaches conference call, I tweeted out a link to a column from Joe Biddle, who works for the ABC affiliate in Nashville. The title: Would David Cutcliffe be Tennessee's Answer?
Now, you can read it in full by clicking on the link above, but it basically lays out the staff Cutcliffe could put together if he took the Tennessee job and hired away Tee Martin from Southern California, John Chavis from LSU, Dale Jones from Appalachian State and T.D. Woods from wherever he is (last seen at Tulane).
"I would think he would jump at an offer to coach Tennessee," Biddle writes. "His wife, Karen, is from Harriman. Tennessee could easily triple his salary."
Biddle seems to have forgotten one tiny little detail: Cutcliffe didn't blindly jump at an opportunity to return to Rocky Top in 2010. Yep, before Derek Dooley was hired, Cutcliffe withdrew his name from contention.
"I have a lot of ties and a lot of people that I'm very close to, and a lot of respect for the University of Tennessee, but my heart is here," Cutcliffe said back in 2010. "We've worked very hard these two years to change the culture, to change the team physically. You feel like the job's not done, and in this era, it bothers me, what we do as coaches, moving here and there."
Back to today, though. ESPN's Heather Dinich watched the Twitter talk of Cutcliffe-to-Tennessee pick up, so she asked him about it on the conference call. He laughed at first, saying no one had tweeted him those rumors.
"I'm not focused on any other job, you know that, other than this one," Cutcliffe said. "We're in a great run. I'm in a great place. The most important thing to me is the people. I have such great admiration and friendships with our leadership here at Duke, from the president, the director of athletics, our entire program, our families, our staff is very, very happy here, so the only thing we're thinking about is Duke University."
So, there you have it. One final note about Biddle's theory: don't forget that Cutcliffe already has a quarterbacks coach, defensive coordinator, and all those other positions that Biddle has already suggested people to fill. He's a loyal guy, to the point where it cost him his job at Ole Miss. All that talk of people and relationships isn't just lip service.