Josh Heupel’s search for a defensive coordinator has been completely silent to this point — just the way Danny White likes it. That doesn’t mean they haven’t been working, of course. Today we have multiple reports that at least one candidate has turned Heupel down.
Bruce Feldman reports that Louisville defensive coordinator Bryan Brown received interest from Tennessee, but has chosen to stay with Scott Satterfield. FootballScoop reports the same.
SOURCES: After getting interest from #Tennessee about the Vols defensive coordinator vacancy, Bryan Brown is staying at #Louisville. Have heard he’s excited about the direction of U of L’s program; about the defense there and also he has strong ties to Scott Satterfield.— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) February 4, 2021
Brown has been at Louisville since 2018, following Satterfield from Appalachian State. His defensive units have improved from 128th, to 109th, to 49th in team defense over the last three seasons.
FootballScoop also reported that Tennessee reached out to USC defensive coordinator Todd Orlando, who is also expected to remain at his current job.
Kevin Steele remains in the building at Tennessee, just weeks removed from being awarded a multi-year deal from Phillip Fulmer before he stepped down. The situation is nothing short of bizarre, with Steele entering the picture just as a recruiting investigation was being finished up that ultimately resulted in Jeremy Pruitt losing his job. Should Heupel opt to not retain Steele, Tennessee would be on the hook for yet another buyout.
Heupel’s defensive coordinator will easily be his most important hire. He’s calling the offensive plays and will obviously be heavily involved on that side of the ball, so hiring a defensive coordinator to have full control of the defense that will jive with his fast-paced offense will be vital. Those quick offensive possessions will put his defenses in tough spots, and quite frankly the job won’t be for everyone.
National signing day is now behind us and spring football is coming (hopefully) next month. Expect Heupel to continue his deliberate search here in hopes of finding the best possible fit.