Vols’ coaching search: Day 10

Vols’ coaching search: Day 10

Football

Vols’ coaching search: Day 10

KNOXVILLE – Tennessee’s coaching search to replace Tyson Helton is in its tenth day.

Vols Wire learned Tuesday that former Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze has options outside of Tennessee, including Liberty’s head coaching job and as an assistant at other Power 5 schools.

Vols Wire was told Tuesday from sources close to Freeze that Tennessee needed to move fast last Friday before more opportunities came to the forefront this week.

Birmingham-based insider Nick Taylor discussed UT’s search with Vols Wire heading into Day No. 10.

“First I want to commend Coach Pruitt in making an effort to go after a coach like Hugh Freeze that would really help his program,” Taylor said. “But there is an element of dealing with turmoil, dealing with Tennessee Board of Trustees and is primarily why Freeze is not in Knoxville at this point.”

Taylor also discussed if Liberty is actually a real possibility for Freeze or if joining Alabama’s staff would be more ideal.

“Liberty is a situation where Freeze can automatically become a head coach and he also has great relationships there,” he said. “I definitely think the Liberty thing has a lot of weight to it right now with his relationships with the Falwell family. He would be willing to stay there at least one year – maybe two or three if he was committed.

“Regarding Alabama, Saban has a history of wanting the best on staff and that includes bringing Freeze in to coach alongside quarterbacks coach Dan Enos.”

If Enos were to stay on Alabama’s staff and coach alongside Freeze, where would Tennessee turn to?

Current Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens has a relationship with Pruitt and could be an option.

“I guess you can say it’s possible, but I don’t expect him to leave Cleveland,” Taylor said. “I think the dark horse in this search now is Jeremy’s protege Rush Propst. If Enos stays at Alabama, then you have to really look at a guy like Propst because he will take the job and will excite the fanbase.

“Not only would he bring excitement, but Propst would be one of the most qualified candidates left at that point and I believe that the Board of Trustees would be okay with him.”

Promoting within has also been discussed with Will Friend and John Lilly.

Taylor says “Will is a great person on staff and is a stable piece” and “at this point Friend is not being considered for a promotion.”

“Tennessee Board of Trustees have to understand one thing, all of these coaches Pruitt has went after are highly thought of coaches and if they keep letting things drag out, they may end up with a coach they are not fully behind to be on staff,” Taylor concluded. “That is why it is good to have a guy like Propst sitting there if things do not pan out with other candidates.”

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