Things continue to be relatively quiet on the status of Tennessee’s search for a new offensive coordinator as Jeremy Pruitt and staff have been feverishly hitting the recruiting trail this week. There were a few worthwhile tidbits that surfaced, however, including a new name to add to the hot board.
With that said, here’s what you might have missed yesterday in regard to the Vols’ coaching search.
-Chris Low continued to fan the flames of the Hugh Freeze rumors on Wednesday morning. On the Jayson Swain Show, Low said: “I think Hugh Freeze is a real possibility and he will be given serious consideration. Pruitt has several guys on his list and one of those guys is Freeze. I don’t know that he’s the guy at the head of that list, but I do expect Jeremy to talk to him. I think he can help Tennessee. He could help Jeremy. He’s proven. Saban tried to hire him last year before the SEC sort of squashed that. A lot of the stuff he talked with Saban and his staff about they ran this year at Alabama. I do think Freeze is in it and will be given serious consideration. If Jeremy decides that who he wants and he’s the best fit, then I think it’ll happen.”
-Low also talked about Bryan McClendon from South Carolina, who was on Pruitt’s radar last year when he was putting together his inaugural staff at Tennessee: “Another guy I would put in that mix is Bryan McClendon. Jeremy wanted him last year and Muschamp made him the OC at South Carolina. It would take a lot of money to get him. They were paying Helton $1.2 million. I don’t think McClendon is making that at South Carolina.”
–Hugh Freeze is the guy who moves the needle, in the eyes of the fan base anyway, so it’s no surprise he’s the guy everyone wants to talk about on the call-in shows. Brent Hubbs was asked to share his thoughts on Freeze in an appearance yesterday on Nashville radio. (On Hugh Freeze): “I don’t think that’s completely dead. I don’t. I won’t be shocked at all if Jeremy Pruitt and Hugh Freeze have not had some conversations. If Jeremy Pruitt decided he wanted to hire Hugh Freeze, and he’s not made that decision, that he wouldn’t go to Phillip Fulmer and say this is what I want to do and then have a conversation about it. I don’t think that one is by any means dead in the water. I think a year ago that wasn’t going to happen because of the SEC and where things were with Hugh Freeze leaving Ole Miss. I still don’t think he’s a leading candidate or anything like that, but I think it would be unrealistic to say there’s absolutely no shot there, so we’ll see what happens.”
-Brent Dougherty took the Freeze madness one step further, saying he expects Pruitt and Freeze to talk very soon. “I expect Jeremy Pruitt and former Ole Miss Coach Hugh Freeze to have a discussion about the Tennessee OC position within the next 24-48 hours.”
-What could be the biggest news from yesterday was a report from FootballScoop which named the two top candidates for the Tennessee job, including a new addition to the list, Eli Drinkwitz, who is the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at N.C. State. Keep in mind, FootballScoop was the first with any kind of report about Tyson Helton not returning to Tennessee after the Vanderbilt loss.
“Sources told FootballScoop that Jeremy Pruitt’s top two candidates at this time are Auburn offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey and NC State offensive coordinator Eli Drinkwitz. We understand both are interested in the position.”
Chip Lindsey is a guy that Chris Low said was “handcuffed” last year under Gus Malzahn and wants out of that situation at Auburn. It will be interesting to watch how that plays out between him and Malzahn.