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Report: Pruitt interviews Chip Lindsey, expected to talk to Eli Drinkwitz

Seems like we have three finalists.

NCAA Football: Tennessee at Auburn John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

It seems like we’re getting close to the end of Tennessee’s search for an offensive coordinator. Three main candidates have emerged — at least we’re hearing more about those three than anyone else.

Hugh Freeze reportedly interviewed with Pruitt on Thursday. Now, according to John Brice, we know that Pruitt also spoke with Auburn offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey.

Brice also reports that Pruitt is expected to interview N.C. State offensive coordinator Eli Drinkwitz before this is all said and done, but Freeze and Lindsey remain the leaders in the clubhouse.

Alabama quarterbacks coach Dan Enos is a name that has circulated the rumor mill, but there’s been no reported contact just yet. Freddy Kitchens — the new offensive coordinator of the Cleveland Browns — likely isn’t realistic due to the timeline it would take to hire him.

Lindsey is due to receive a $100,000 bonus on Saturday, should he remain on staff past that date. So naturally, if Chip gets the job, he would love to delay until Sunday. That matches up with the 24-48 hour window that Brice reported.

As we mentioned on the initial hot board post, we still don’t know a ton about Lindsey as an offensive mind. He ran the air raid system as a high school coach, but has been working under Gus Malzahn at Auburn. How much freedom does he have there? How would he operate without Malzahn’s influence? Auburn had their offensive struggles, but it’s probably unfair to pin them on Lindsey alone.

With the early signing period rapidly approaching, Pruitt likely wants this hire made by the weekend. It sounds like that’s a realistic expectation to have.