Tennessee AD dunks on Tony Elliott for claiming he was offered Vols job

Virginia Cavaliers head football coach Tony Elliott is thoroughly convinced he almost landed the Tennessee Volunteers job, although UTK athletic director Danny White begs to differ.

Tony Elliott, Virginia Cavaliers. (Ryan M. Kelly/GettyImages)
Tony Elliott, Virginia Cavaliers. (Ryan M. Kelly/GettyImages) / Ryan M. Kelly/GettyImages

In horseshoes and hand grenades, Tony Elliott was pretty much the Tennessee Vols head coach.

Ahead of Virginia's season opener vs. Tennessee in neutral-site Nashville, Cavaliers head coach Tony Elliott expounded upon how he almost nearly accepted the Volunteers job ... or at least in his mind...

Elliott spoke with the media on Monday about how he apparently turned down the Rocky Top gig to be a Hoo in Hooville. He said the timing wasn't right for him to take the blue-blood SEC job anyway. The job ultimately went to former UCF Knights head coach Josh Heupel, who had previous working relationship with new Tennessee athletic director Danny White from their time together in Orlando.

""First of all, obviously, Tennessee is, in my opinion, one of the blue-bloods. One of the top-tier programs in the country. When I evaluated it, there were a lot of positive things about it. It just wasn't the right time for me. So when it came down to it, I prayed about it and said I want the Lord to lead me in the direction that He'd have me to go. So it was close. But at the end of the day, when I looked at the totality of everything, it just wasn't the right time and the right fit for me. I'm happy for Heupel. Excited for him and what he's doing there. Obviously, an extremely passionate fan base. All the resources that you need to be a top-tier program."

Tony Elliott, Virginia head coach

No doubt about it, Tennessee is a great job to have, but White refuted Elliott's claim he was offered it.

White made it abundantly clear that while the former Clemson offensive coordinator did interview for the job to replace the fired Jeremy Pruitt up in Knoxville, only Heupel was offered the Tennessee gig.

Oh, we cannot wait for the Volunteers to run roughshod on the Cavaliers in Nashville in two weeks...

Tennessee AD Danny White puts Virginia HC Tony Elliott in his place

While Elliott certainly had his moments as Clemson's offensive coordinator, he looked more than lost at times during a trying 3-7 first season in Charlottesville. Yes, the Hoos had their final two games of the season canceled due to a horrific tragedy that struck the program, but Virginia looked as solid as the bottom of a wet paper bag in Elliott's first year taking over for the successful Bronco Mendenhall.

Look. We are not going to make an accurate assessment out of what Elliott is doing in Charlottesville until after this season. We have to remember that he has only coached 10 games of Cavs football up to this point. Along with in-state rival Brent Pry's Virginia Tech Hokies, we are so far away from putting either first-time head coach on the hot seat. However, neither could do what Heupel has done at UTK.

Heupel took over a Volunteers program that had been pretty much a joke since the iconic Phillip Fulmer was fired in the late 2000s. From one bad coaching hire after another, Tennessee seems to have struck gold with Heupel. He has brought essentially the Mike Leach Air Raid offense to Knoxville, only using it with top-flight SEC talent. In short, the Vols can win 10 games annually under him now.

Unfortunately, two of the Vols' biggest rivals are perennial powers Alabama and Georgia. Those are two scheduled losses most years for Rocky Top, outside of another rival Florida potentially being good. As far as Elliott is concerned, let's focus on navigating a revamped ACC schedule so that the Hoos can almost think about winning six games in year two under his leadership. That'd be a start!

Although the truth is somewhere in between, White's program is in far better shape than Elliott's now.

Next. FanSided Preseason Top 25 rankings. FanSided Preseason Top 25 rankings. dark