It’s January 3rd, 2019 and Tennessee still doesn’t have an offensive coordinator. We’ve seen the rumor mill churn out names like Hugh Freeze, Chip Lindsay, Dan Enos, Kendal Briles, Jeff Lebby and Mike Yurich. Each either seem to be out of the running now or have since taken another job.
The next logical choice for Jeremy Pruitt and Tennessee would be Steve Sarkisian, who was just let go by the Atlanta Falcons this week. According to John Brice, Jeremy Pruitt has at least spoken with Sarkisian about joining his staff in Knoxville.
Lots of #Vols OC questions. Pruitt has talked with both Steve Sarkisian & Matt Canada, as @AustinPriceless also excellently noted. I’m told #Vols spoke w/ Canada yesterday & have moved on. “Sark is going to have a lot of options” both college/NFL I was told.— John Brice (@JohnDBrice1) January 3, 2019
Brice also reports that Pruitt spoke with Matt Canada, but has since moved on. 247 Sports refutes that report on Canada ($), for what it’s worth.
Sarkisian and Pruitt coached together at Alabama during the 2016 season. Sarkisian was an offensive analyst, but was promoted to the offensive coordinator position after Lane Kiffin’s move to Florida Atlantic just before the National Championship. After that one game as Saban’s offensive coordinator, Sarkisian was hired by the Falcons to replace Kyle Shanahan.
Sarkisian has seven years of experience as a head coach, including stops at Washington and USC. He was fired by USC in 2015 during his struggle with alcohol abuse. Sarkisian hasn’t had any off the field issues since.
Would he rejoin the college ranks? That would mean getting back out onto the recruiting trail and likely working even longer hours than he did with the Falcons. That remains to be seen. But Sarkisian is one of the few candidates out there that Pruitt is at least somewhat familiar with.