Just a few weeks after declining head down to Auburn to interview for the Tigers' vacant Defensive Coordinator position, the top target on Butch Jones' list is reportedly in Knoxville Friday:
The Volunteers recently "parted ways with" coordinator John Jancek after they went 9-4 on the year and stifled the Northwestern Wildcats 45-6 in their bowl game. Tennessee's defense was 36th in the nation in total defense in 2015, letting up 362 yards per game, and were 16th in scoring defense, allowing 20 ppg.
According to SBN's Rocky Top Talk, Jancek was making roughly half what Shoop is currently making at PSU--but if he's their guy, apparently they will be sparing no expense:
Last week sources told us Shoop’s $800k buyout would be a major obstacle. Today, hear they might work through that https://t.co/sNnVtyuq1F— FootballScoop Staff (@FootballScoop) January 8, 2016
Just a year ago yesterday, Shoop announced he was staying in Happy Valley after interviewing for the DC position in Baton Rouge. Just before the Lions' bowl game, a 24-17 loss to Georgia, there were rumors that Shoop might look around for another position; it'd long been assumed he would hold out for a head coaching position, rather than a lateral move. When asked directly, though, in late December Shoop's remarks were very similar to what he said a year ago:
Here's the full answer from PSU DC Bob Shoop on Dec. 29 when asked if he planned to interview anywhere: pic.twitter.com/dqkBt7ch5r— Josh Moyer (@ESPNJoshMoyer) January 8, 2016
It seems that some of that sentiment has shifted in the past week--or at the least, there's more leverage to be had with the Penn State athletic department.
If Shoop does head down South, there are two obvious candidates already in State College available to slide over into the position of DC for the Nittany Lions. The most obvious is, of course, current Linebackers coach Brent Pry, whose second title is already Co-Defensive Coordinator; he also was co-DC at Vandy, and Defensive Coordinator at Georgia Southern when that team was still FCS.
The other option is Jim Haslett, who's still a consultant for the Penn State football program--and has extensive defensive coordinator experience at the professional level, but only spent three years at the University of Buffalo before jumping to the pros.