Despite false alarm, don’t count out Butch Jones

Sunday provided one of those coaching search false alarms. A web site covering Cincinnati was reported to have reported that UC coach Butch Jones had received an offer to be Kentucky’s coaching. UK denied the report. Then the UC website denied the report that it had made a report. Instead, it was a message board post written not by a staff member but by a site member. Big difference.

Anyway, does this mean Jones is off the list of UK possibilities?

Probably not. We don’t know who exactly is on the list. Mitch Barnhart isn’t talking. Not to the media, anyway. He’s apparently not talking to too many people outside of his own tight circle. There’s no search committee that anyone knows anything about. There is not even a good read on who is helping Barnhart with the decision. He could be flying this one solo.

The guess here is that Jones is very much on the list. If not, he should be. Despite some negative fan reaction to Sunday’s report, he’s a good coach. So is Mike MacIntyre at San Jose and Gary Andersen at Utah State. Phil Fulmer is being considered, as well as unknown others. The vibe over the weekend concerning Louisiana Tech’s Sonny Dykes was not good. There are whispers that Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart told UK no a long time ago.

There are also whispers that a name that has not been mentioned in the press or in public is also on Banhart’s radar. Those may be coming from people hoping there are other options out there.

Kentucky is not going to hire Bobby Petrino.

Bill Cowher is not coming to Kentucky.

The Tennessee opening adds some drama and uncertainty to the mix, though it does clarify one thing. David Cutcliffe promised that he is not going to Tennessee and will return to Duke next season. If Cutcliffe is not going to Tennessee, you can bet he is not coming to Kentucky.

Bottom line: We are where we were before Sunday’s false alarm.

Meanwhile, Joker Phillips has one more game left to coach, the “Buyout Bowl” in Knoxville on Saturday. Phillips’ final press luncheon is today. I’ll have some info from that this afternoon.

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