SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Just a week away from the NCAA-mandated dead period coming to an end, Tennessee is dealing with its first staff shakeup of the offseason.
Offensive coordinator Mike DeBord was reportedly set to retire after the Vols 38-24 win over Nebraska in the Music City Bowl, but the 60-year-old coach had a change of heart and accepted the same position with Indiana.
The move leaves coach Butch Jones seeking his third offensive coordinator since 2014. Jones outlined his search plans Tuesday, emphasizing fit and chemistry over a timetable.
“We’re going to take our time,” Jones said.
“It’s obviously a very critical hire.”
The question is how DeBord’s exit will impact recruiting so close to National Signing Day?
Jones reiterated that just because NSD is a month away, he won’t rush into a hire.
“I put no timetables on that,” he said.
“I don’t believe in timetables. When we find the right fit, we’ll hire the right person no matter what time it is.”
Tennessee has 10 offensive commits, the majority of which are solid to the Vols. As of Wednesday, top tailback Ty Chandler had not had a chance to speak with Jones yet about the news, but the 4-star prospect told SEC Country at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl that DeBord’s exit will have no impact on his recruitment.
Jones intimated a similar sentiment among other commits Tuesday, saying, “We have established relationships with our recruits.
“I don’t see this being a problem one bit because we’re not going to change what we do offensively. We’re just going to enhance it. … I’ve already spoken to a number of young men tonight and they’re all fine and they’re excited to move forward.”
Tennessee will replace Debord on the road recruiting, with Jones saying, “We’re still working through those parameters.”
The Vols have a couple options, but graduate assistant Nick Sheridan, who coached the quarterbacks the last two seasons, will not be among them, as the former Michigan signal caller has reportedly accepted a staff position with Central Michigan.
Follow me on Twitter @JesseReSimonton