Tennessee Vols head coach Jeremy Pruitt is currently balancing recruiting and conducting offensive coordinator interviews.
Pruitt reportedly talked with former Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze in Memphis earlier this week about Tennessee’s offensive coordinator opening.
On Thursday, Pruitt interviewed offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey.
#Vols coach Jeremy Pruitt interviewed Auburn OC Chip Lindsey on Thursday. Has been using help of John Lilly in interviews as well. Leaderboard remains Freeze and Lindsey. Drinkwitz expected to chat w/ Pruitt as well. Ideal timeline is 24-48 hours
— John Brice (@JohnDBrice1) November 30, 2018
Based on Dan Enos’ situation at Alabama (a possible promotion awaits if current Tide offensive coordinator Mike Locksley leaves for a head coaching job), I think this job will come down to Freeze and Lindsey.
But which one will Pruitt hire?
Freeze would be the home run hire in the eyes of many. He was incredibly successful at Ole Miss. His offenses were among the nation’s best. And he was a great recruiter.
But Freeze still has to be cleared by the SEC (which will likely happen). Then there’s the optics of the whole thing. How would Tennessee look after shutting down a potential Greg Schiano hire only to hire an offensive coordinator with plenty of skeletons in his closet.
While I think the two situations are completely different, it doesn’t matter what I think. The perception of the national media is what will define how the hiring of Freeze would be viewed.
Aside from that aspect, there’s also the fact that Freeze has never been a quarterbacks coach before. While I don’t doubt that he is more than capable of coaching Tennessee’s quarterbacks, we have no proof that he would do a good job.
On the other hand, however, Lindsey has coached quarterbacks most of his college coaching career. And he had quite a bit of luck with Nick Mullens at Southern Mississippi (who is now in the NFL).
Freeze’s name will bring plenty of excitement if hired, but that’s not what Pruitt is looking for. He’s looking for the coach that will work the best with his current staff.
That’s why I think Lindsey will end up being the guy that Pruitt hires. He has an established relationship with Lindsey and he comes from a similar background.
At this point, I’d be surprised if Lindsey isn’t the hire.
But would that be the right move by Pruitt?
Only time will tell.
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