The Tennessee Vols’ search for a new offensive coordinator has officially stretched into a new year.
Late Monday night, it was reported that Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich’s office had been cleaned out following the Cowboys’ Liberty Bowl win against the Missouri Tigers.
— Oklahoma State 247 (@OKState247) January 1, 2019
Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy declined to offer any information about Yurcich after the Liberty Bowl, telling reporters ““I’ve got no idea what his office looks like to be honest with you, I mean, seriously.”
Yurcich has been connected to Tennessee since early December, but it appears he won’t be heading to Rocky Top. Instead, it looks like Yurcich will be joining Ryan Day’s staff at Ohio State.
From everything I’ve heard, Yurcich will be heading to Columbus to join Ryan Day & the Buckeyes. https://t.co/Fp8aaoOqVQ
— Jordan Strack (@JordanStrack) January 1, 2019
This obviously isn’t a “done deal”, but it certainly seems like there’s more momentum for Yurcich to Ohio State than there is for Yurcich to Tennessee.
So where does that leave the Vols?
Well, thanks to the crazy nature of the coaching carousel, there are some quality options out there for Tennessee. In fact, there might be more names out there now then there were a month ago (depending on who was seriously being considered by Pruitt a month ago).
Here are some names to keep an eye on:
Major Applewhite: Applewhite was recently fired as Houston’s head coach. He served as Alabama’s offensive coordinator in 2007 (which means his time in Tuscaloosa overlapped with Pruitt’s). Applewhite has also served as the offensive coordinator at Texas and Houston. The Baton Rouge native went 15-11 as the Cougars’ head coach.
Steve Sarkisian: In a move that was long expected, the Atlanta Falcons officially fired Sarkisian this past week. Sarkisian has a connection to Pruitt via his time at Alabama. Sark is one of the top recruiters in the nation, and he did enough as an offensive coordinator to land head coaching jobs at Washington and USC. He has a checkered past, but I think he’d be an incredibly solid hire for the Vols.
Chip Long: Long is currently serving as Notre Dame’s offensive coordinator. There’s no real reason for him to leave a playoff team for Tennessee, but he’s from Alabama. Maybe he wants to return to the south? The only problem with hiring Long is that he’s never coached quarterbacks.
Matt Canada: Canada, due to a coaching change at Maryland, is in the market for a new job. He has play calling experience at Indiana, Northern Illinois, Wisconsin, NC State, Pittsburgh, LSU and Maryland. It’s a little concerning that he’s never stayed in one place very long, but he certainly possesses a bright offensive mind.
Names that likely won’t be a factor
Freddie Kitchens: Kitchens and Pruitt are close, but it’s pretty clear Kitchens has a bright future in the NFL. He’s going to be interviewed by the Browns for their head coaching vacancy. Even if he doesn’t get the job, he’ll likely land a gig as an offensive coordinator somewhere in the NFL.
Adam Gase: Gase was just fired by the Miami Dolphins. The former Miami head coach has a connection to Nick Saban via his time as a graduate assistant at Michigan State and LSU. But Gase hasn’t coached at the college level since 2002. It’s hard to see him returning to that level as a coordinator.
Jim Bob Cooter: Cooter is a former Vol, so it’s not surprising that folks bring up his name. But I don’t think Cooter has any desire to coach at the college level. He hasn’t, in fact, coached at the college level since 2008 when he was a graduate assistant under Phillip Fulmer. I do, however, think he’d be a good fit with Pruitt schematically. I just don’t see it happening.
Featured image via Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports