It’s been over a full week since the surprising departure of Tennessee offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian, who left Knoxville to become the quarterbacks coach under Lovie Smith with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
There hasn’t been a ton of formal news in the search since that time, and it appears that the Vols will wait until after National Signing Day (Wednesday), to make anything official on this front. But there have been a lot of rumors, reports and discussion about the position. We also were able to confirm that former Michigan offensive coordinator and Central Michigan head coach Mike DeBord spent last weekend in Knoxville for discussions, presumably related to the open position.
Any other interviews or conversations have been held more privately, though Jones did address the search and what he’s looking for on an appearance on the Paul Finebaum show on the SEC Network last week.
“Everything is about a gut feeling and finding the right fit,” Jones said. “Everyone wants you to go hire this person or that person based off of resume, but they have to trust me. I’m the caretaker of Tennessee football and I know what our players needs, I know what this coaching staff needs, I know what this program needs as we continue to move forward…And we’re going to get the best coach for Tennessee, and I can assure you that we’re going to get the best of the best.”
And as we’ve done all along, we will continue to remind that this may not be as simple as just hiring an offensive coordinator that will slide directly onto the staff as Bajakian did. There easily could be co-coordinators, a run/pass game coordinator or some other variant when it’s all said and done. This list is subject to change, and nothing should be considered official unless noted otherwise.