Update: According to Chris Low and Football Scoop, Helton is the leading candidate at Western Kentucky.
Update: And now there’s this from Volquest.
DEVELOPING: Amidst reports of offensive change, Tyson Helton to hit recruiting trail as Jeremy Pruitt denies reports of OC change.https://t.co/PULsVKRc6j— Austin Price (@AustinPriceless) November 25, 2018
Update: A Tennessee spokesman says the report isn’t true, according to David Ubben of The Athletic.
Tennessee spokesman on the report Tennessee is making a change at OC away from Tyson Helton:— David Ubben (@davidubben) November 25, 2018
"The report's not true."
Update: Jimmy Hyams refutes the report from Football Scoop.
Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt said two reports that offensive coordinate Tyson Helton has been fired are inaccurate. "It's not true and it's not going to happen," Pruitt told me tonight— Jimmy Hyams (@JimmyHyams) November 25, 2018
According to Football Scoop, Tennessee is expected to part ways with offensive coordinator Tyson Helton.
Source: Jeremy Pruitt expected to make a coordinator change https://t.co/fhTcpo9UZt— FootballScoop Staff (@FootballScoop) November 25, 2018
The move comes after Tennessee finished up the year ranked 119th in total offense. Helton was one of the first hires that Jeremy Pruitt made at Tennessee. Less than a year later, Helton will be replaced, according to the report above.
You can make the argument that Helton dealt with injuries, including losing two starting offensive linemen for the year. He was coaching a roster that admittedly probably wasn’t ready to compete. Still, the development offensively just wasn’t really there. That entire group failed to get better during the second half of the season. Some of that could have fallen on Helton, some of that could have fallen on the players. It’s hard to say, especially considering that most of these guys weren’t recruited by this staff.
The only thing we can go off of was the product on the field. Tennessee was never able to consistently run the football, while the passing attack relied heavily on receivers winning 50-50 balls down the sidelines. Above all else, the offensive line couldn’t protect Jarrett Guarantano. The frustrating part was, we saw them have success against South Carolina, Kentucky and Auburn. It was strange to watch them look clueless against a bad Vanderbilt defense on Saturday night.
Pruitt wasn’t exactly shy about criticizing his team’s offensive play calls throughout the year. Against Vanderbilt, he was spotted on the sidelines with Helton, play sheet in hand.
Jeremy Pruitt is holding a play sheet and hasn't been more than five feet away from Tyson Helton this entire drive.— David Ubben (@davidubben) November 24, 2018
Football Scoop is still the only outlet reporting the news for now. As more information breaks, we’ll update this post.