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Inside Scoop On DC Candidate John Tenuta

Talk about a competitive rivalry...

Not 24 hours after PWD emailed with the inside scoop on former Georga DC Brian Van Gorder, I get an email from Nathan (formerly of Golden Tornado, now doing great stuff at the AOL Georgia Tech Fanhouse) giving me the skinny on Texas' other potential DC candidate, John Tenuta.

Nathan's analysis on Tenuta follows - well worth the read. Be sure to visit Nathan's AOL page for more excellent news.

Van Gorder is a heck of a DC; please hire him and leave ours alone (not that I'm sure Tenuta would leave, he likes Atlanta, he's one of the highest paid assistant coaches in the country and he has very little recruiting responsibilites - and he wants to be a HC, not a DC). Frankly, Tenuta is a horse's ass. He screams and he rants and he likes the press and recruiting even less than he likes quarterbacks.  I wonder how he would do at a school where he had to "play the role" a bit more than he does at GT.

As a coach though, he's extremely good. He's taken a bunch of 2* and 3* talent and made one of the best defenses in the country. Van Gorder won with top 5 recruiting classes every year, Tenuta's doing it with classes ranked below Duke (seriously, check out GT's last 4 classes - they are even worse ranked than you'd think). His defenses are built off of pressure and speed, and he'd blitz the tuba player from the band if he could find a way to do it.  He's a master of zone blitzes, and much like Eagles DC Jim Johnson his primary aim is to stop the run. While Tenuta may hate QB's, he hates running games even more. If you watch Tech's blitz schemes, each rusher is assigned a back as the primary target and pressure on the QB only becomes a priority after it's clearly a pass, one of the reasons that draws and screens are so ineffective against his blitzes. Teams with quick passing attacks have had the most success against us, again similar to the Eagles defense.

There's a meanness to GT's defense that comes out of Tenuta's personality. Just watch the ND game and see Joe Anoai body slamming Quinn to the ground over and over and the dazed look on Quinn's face like a punch drunk fighter in the 8th round. Tenuta preaches discipline, assignments and speeeeeeeeeeeeeed. Everyone can run, even the DT's - and he likes them to lay the lumber when they get where they are going.

In short, with Texas' talent level - Tenuta D would kill a Big XII quarterback within a year. Frankly, it'd be a fun defense to watch (GT's is a heck of a lot of fun to watch - seeing guys flying all over the field and crushing QB's and RB's in the backfield is enjoyable). That being said, Texas would have to take all the baggage that comes with him, his prickliness, his desire not to recruit much and his open ambition to be a HC somewhere. I'm not sure (and I hope this is true, it'd be a huge loss for GT for him to move on) that is something Texas wants to take on. There's also the personality bit, I have no clue how Brown and Tenuta would get along. He was at UNC for only one year because he and Bunting hated each other, at GT he and Gailey seem to have a nice relationship of not bothering each other.

My gut feeling is that Tenuta is at Tech until he receives a HC offer he wants to take. He's got a good situation where he's already paid a ton, won't be bothered, is comfortable,  and GT will have a top 15 recruiting class this year with tons of athletes for him to torment OC's with. Lastly, he and his family seem to really like Atlanta. I'm not sure Texas will want to make an offer big enough to pry him loose knowing that he might be a one year kind of guy, and that he's got a lot of "other stuff" that'd be coming with him.

A few follow-up thoughts of my own here:

*There's not really a better Head Coach stepping stone job than Texas right now. If Tenuta's got the itch to go, a two year stop in Austin would likely get him wherever he wanted. Which isn't to say he can't get there on his own, but being a coordinator at Texas these days is pretty much a last stop on the way to your full time gig.

*With that said, Tenuta's apparent lack of desire to recruit probably isn't in Mack's wheelhouse. Mack is the "closer." Coordinators serenade recruits, then Mack visits the recruit's house with the official offer. Mack's selective enough about when and how he stops in to see players that it's a big honor to get the visit. It's very ceremonial, really. That doesn't work, though, unless your coordinators are on board.

*Those matters aside, he sounds like the kind of guy we'd like to fill the spot. Watching the Jackets pound Quinn into that pouty face was pure joy. Thanks, again, to Nathan for the insights.