Tennessee Vols head coach Jeremy Pruitt doesn’t seem like he’s in too big of a hurry to hire a new offensive coordinator.
And honestly, after thinking on this for a while, that’s probably not a bad thing.
Pruitt wants to make the hire that’s best for Tennessee. He wants to make a hire that will help set the Vols up for success for the next several years.
Maybe that person is Hugh Freeze. Or maybe Pruitt thinks Freeze would be one and done and struggle to mesh with the current staff. Only Pruitt knows the answer to that for now.
What we do know, however, is that Pruitt isn’t panicking over this hire. It’s just not in his nature.
I bet Jeremy Pruitt is the least worried person in the state of Tennessee about this OC hire
— zach ragan (@zachTNT) December 5, 2018
There are a lot of coaches changing jobs this time of year. All it takes is one coach to leave a school and create a domino effect.
In fact, one might have already been created with the news that Alabama offensive coordinator Mike Locksley is taking the head coaching job at Maryland.
No one wants have an offensive coordinator vacancy when Nick Saban is also searching for an offensive coordinator. Saban gets his pick of the litter in this situation.
But there’s more than one offensive coordinator who can be successful in college football.
There will be plenty of options for Pruitt to choose from. Maybe he’s waiting on someone who is currently coaching in the NFL. Remember, Alabama hired Brian Daboll from the NFL as their offensive coordinator in February, 2017. And they promoted Locksley to offensive coordinator in mid January earlier this year.
Unlike a head coaching hire, a new offensive coordinator doesn’t necessarily have to be in place by Christmas. Pruitt can take his time with the hire without any ill effects.
Here are some more potential names that could lead Tennessee’s offense next year.
Before I get to our list, here are the three forgotten names in the search that I mentioned on Tuesday.
Eli Drinkwitz — NC State offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach
Drinkwitz’s name hasn’t been mentioned much since he was initially reported to be a candidate by Football Scoop. But Drinkwitz has done a solid job at NC State. He’s also worked under Gus Malzahn and Bryan Harsin, so he comes from a good background.
Larry Fedora — Former North Carolina head coach
Fedora was recently fired as UNC’s head coach, but he had some success during his time in Chapel Hill. In 2015, he led the Tar Heels to an 11 win season. Fedora has worked in the SEC as an offensive coordinator before (at Florida in 2004). He also served as Mike Gundy’s offensive coordinator for three years at Oklahoma State (2005-07). I’m not sure his spread-it-out style meshes with what Pruitt wants to do offensively, but his offense has a history of working.
Matt Canada — Maryland offensive coordinator
Matt Canada likely won’t be retained at Maryland, due to the coaching change. He has some brief experience in the SEC (though his time at LSU didn’t go that well) and he’s had a lot of success coaching quarterbacks (he helped turn Nathan Peterman into a NFL draft pick). Canada’s offense is innovative and complex (here’s a good article on it). If he was hired by Pruitt, he’d need to be allowed to do his thing without any meddling.
Dan Enos — Alabama quarterbacks coach
There’s actually not as much smoke around Enos’ name as I thought there would be. But he’s still an option for the Vols. Enos did a marvelous job with Alabama’s quarterbacks this season — especially Jalen Hurts. He’s had some experience calling plays in the SEC before. Enos was the offensive coordinator at Arkansas from 2015-17.
Mike Yurcich — Oklahoma State offensive coordinator
I’m only including Yurcich here because I’ve heard some folks mention his name. But I don’t think this is a realistic option for the Vols. Mike Gundy found Yurcich from the depths of the internet to be his offensive coordinator at Oklahoma State. Yurcich was coaching at Shippensburg. I don’t think he’s going to leave the coach that gave him a shot for a lateral move. I can’t see this move happening.
Featured image via Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports