Multiple coaches coming aboard to replace Helton?

Multiple coaches coming aboard to replace Helton?

Football

Multiple coaches coming aboard to replace Helton?

KNOXVILLE — Though only a few days old, Tennessee’s search for a new offensive coordinator has already been interesting. It’s no 2017, but few are. This search has, for what it’s worth, featured a ton of folks back-channeling information about the various OC candidates for the Vols. From there, Tennessee’s beat writers and social media detectives start piecing together clues, theories, flight patterns, and beyond, all to try and decode who Jeremy Pruitt will be hiring to elevate Tennessee’s offense.

Since Jon Gruden is thankfully out of play this time around, flashy hires like Hugh Freeze and Kliff Kingsbury instead were quickly popular, followed by more realistic possibilities like Chip Lindsey and Dan Enos, followed by heavily bemoaned internal promotion narratives.

One avenue that hasn’t gotten much discussion, but we hear is in consideration, is Helton being replaced by a tandem that includes legendary High School coach and Pruitt mentor Rush Propst. During his time in Knoxville, Helton acted as both the OC and QB coach.

By now, it’s a safe and common assumption that Propst is simply waiting for Pruitt to extend the invitation to Knoxville, and back-channels continued to support that this week. The Colquitt County coach has been quite successful at Colquitt and at Hoover High, where he was on MTV reality series Two-A-Days. Propst’s undefeated 2018 CCHS team has been prolific on both sides of the ball, and have elevated the coach to a career 312-92 record. To paraphrase Pruitt, “if you can coach ball, you can coach ball” and Vols Wire has learned that Propst views coaching ball as “it’s not rocket science.”

In a scenario where Helton is replaced by a tandem, at least one role on Tennessee’s current on-field staff would have to be reconfigured, due to Propst being ineligible for an off-field position at Tennessee for another year. Due to the Vols signing JJ Peterson, who was coached by Propst, the NCAA requires a two year waiting period. On-field jobs are immediately available, though.

Should the Pruitt regime choose to go this route, and assuming nobody gets hired away, a current assistant would need to move to an off-field role, making room for the offensive tandem. A probable target for a shift could be tight ends coach Brian Niedermeyer. This has less to do with the hot/cold performance of his group this year, and more with him being a famously excellent recruiter. Getting him in a better position to further weaponize his talents to solve Tennessee’s glaring personnel needs should happen, regardless.

As for a potential pairing for the tandem, the best available information as of the third day of the coaching search is suggested Auburn OC Chip Lindsey, which Vols Wire has been told that he is interested in joining UT’s staff. Lindsey continues to lead all real possibilities, but generally reliable ESPN analyst Chris Low maintains that Hugh Freeze is a “real possibility.”

Tennessee was paying Helton $1.2M annually. Even if both Lindsey and Propst come aboard, they could each be significantly raised from the $800k Auburn is paying and the $100k from CCHS. It’s presumable that Freeze is making a low-end six figure salary in the AAF.

Latest

More VolsWire
Home