Orange Bowl blowout not enough to eliminate Kevin Steele as possible UT target

Vols' coach Derek Dooley: 'Certainly, the quicker the better. What we're not going to do is try and compromise who we get to hurry it up'

Clemson defensive coordinator Kevin Steele yells to his team from the sideline.

Clemson defensive coordinator Kevin Steele yells to his team from the sideline.

One rough night at the office doesn't appear to be enough to erase an entire resume.

Even if it happens to be the latest entry on a possible application.

Clemson defensive coordinator Kevin Steele was on the wrong end of a historic blowout on Wednesday night in the Orange Bowl, with his unit allowing 70 points to West Virginia in the lopsided loss. But according to a source familiar with the search process at Tennessee but not authorized to speak publicly about it on Thursday, Steele's body of work in 26 years as a coach would take precedence over a one-game sample and the Vols alum and former assistant remains a viable candidate to replace Justin Wilcox.

No definitive timetable has been established for filling the vacancy created when Wilcox bolted for an opening at Washington on Monday, taking linebackers coach Peter Sirmon with him. And the source could not confirm details of any conversations between UT coach Derek Dooley and Steele — or any other possible targets for the position.

But Steele does have ties to Dooley's old boss, Alabama coach Nick Saban, and his new one, former Florida State athletic director and current UT vice chancellor Dave Hart. And he at least appears to be on the radar for the Vols now that Clemson's season is officially over, even considering the disappointing way it ended for Steele.

"It just got off track, guys started pressing, got out of position and didn't execute very well, and that's on me," Steele told Clemson reporters after the game. "It's on me, it's my job to get them to execute and get ready.

"I've got to do a better job. It's my responsibility, and I take responsibility for it. In this business, you stand in the paint, take shots and get better."

If Steele is considering improving UT's defense instead of Clemson's heading into next year, he gave no indication of that after the game. A candidate for Dooley two years ago before the hiring of Wilcox, Steele denied having spoken with any other programs or having asked permission of Tigers coach Dabo Swinney to do so.

Dooley hasn't tipped his hand about his next coaching move, either, after he nabbed another UT product to fill out his coaching staff last month by signing former South Carolina assistant Jay Graham to handle running backs at his alma mater. In his first public comments since the season-ending loss at Kentucky, Dooley made clear that he wouldn't rush to a decision or limit his options to just presumptive candidates like Steele or former Miami coach Randy Shannon when tabbing a new leader for the defense.

"I wish that I could put a timeframe on it," he said Tuesday. "It's really complex, given that you have to invest time in recruiting and some teams are still playing in the NFL. It's really hard to say.

"Certainly, the quicker the better. What we're not going to do is try and compromise who we get to hurry it up."

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Comments » 10

clempsonmark writes:

Sionara Kevin Steele! Our defense as been erratic at best under Steele's leadership.

BigBud52 writes:

Call me and I will help move him to Knoxville. He won't even have to touch a box.

MM29692 writes:

RECRUITING! We are letting Carolina get all the dominant lineman and linebackers that Clemson is famous for. in 89' our donimant line/linebackers/defence shut out a better WVU QB.
If you get the tough hard hitting punishing players you dont get embarrased like this. this is the very thing that carried Steel at Alabama.

lhaselden writes:

I hope we keep Steele! This years defense was no good but last years was, this shows me it is not scheme nor coaching, I think it was a lack of quality depth. 2 of the players drafted off of Steele's last years defense started for NFL teams (Bowers and Gilchrist), and Jenkins would have if not for a busted knee. How many times in the past has a Clemson D had 2 or 3 rookies starting in the NFL. Most years I remember we had none! Part of that is talent but if they had not been well coached at Clemson, they would not have been starting this year.
Go Tigers!
Next year we will have quality LB and DB depth and experience for the 1st time since Steele has been on staff. On the DL we have the most depth I ever remember us having at Clemson, the only question I have about the D in the line next year, I expect us to be a top 20 defense and I hope we will be in the top 10 with Steele.

33dtb writes:

Sounds like the old "late/great TB" Arkansas SCAM!!

teeman89 writes:

Hey! Dabo needs to hire Randy Shannon. He was the Defensive head Coach of Miami's last national championship teams.

CUtigers87 writes:

How quickly everyone forgets how good the defense has been under him. The've been a top 25 defense in scoring for the past few years. Doesn't matter if it was the last guy's (can't remember his name b/c it was crazy) players. Steele kept them in line and kept them playing hard and good. His scheme works it has been proven year in and year out. The defense is young, heck the whole team is young. Give'm some time to mature and the team will be a force to be reckoned with.

THE_University_IN_SC writes:

West Virginians haven't scored like that since their last family reunion!

Lynx26 writes:

jdl031287#282299.... You're a bum. Get off of the website. Your comments are 1 long sentence with no seperation of statements. You talk like a 14yr old snotty nose kid who has no sense of fball knowledge.

Now that is out of the way, please hire RANDY SHANNON right now before we lose the chance to steal him. He already knows the ACC and can land us solid defensive talent and depth on defense with a mentality to FORCE OUR WILL on opposing offenses. Rather than have no identity and play on our heals every game but V Tech's ACC Championship.

CUtigers87 writes:

aww heck got a internet bada** jajajajajaja

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