KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee 2017 mid-term QB enrollee Will McBride got an early morning phone call Tuesday informing him that his football world had changed.
“It was my dad calling me and saying, ‘did you see what’s happening on Twitter,’ “ McBride said. “He was like ‘(Mike) DeBord is leaving.’ “
The 60-year-old DeBord has indeed left the Vols, taking the offensive coordinator position at Indiana so he can be closer to his grandchildren.
Tennessee’s offensive staff shakeup continued on Wednesday when it was learned that Nick Sheridan, a graduate assistant who has coached the Vols quarterbacks coach, has accepted a coaching position at Central Michigan.
McBride, a 6-foot-1, 190-pound, 3-star dual-threat QB from League City, Texas, says he’s taking the changes in stride.
“Coach (Butch) Jones has called and let me know everything is good,” McBride told SECcountry.com on Wednesday night. “He let me know I’m still his pick.”
And Tennessee is still McBride’s pick, even if he doesn’t know who the Vols’ offensive coordinator or quarterbacks coach will be.
Jones hasn’t offered many clues, but current special teams and tight ends coach Larry Scott is considered the leading internal candidate, while former Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich has garnered the most attention among the external possibilities.
“It will be interesting and fun to see who gets those spots,” said McBride, who will arrive in Knoxville on Saturday and start classes next Tuesday, “and to see who I’ll be working with the next couple years.”
McBride said he finds it somewhat ironic Tennessee is having coaching changes, since part of the reason he flipped from Memphis to the Vols on Dec. 13 was because he felt the Tigers’ coaching staff was subject to change.
“I loved the Memphis coaching staff, (but) it can’t be about the coaching staff — it has to be about the school, and if the coaches are not there, can you still see yourself there,” McBride said. “The American Athletic Conference is sort of a stepping stone. A good example would be Tom Hermann at Houston (leaving that job for Texas).
“It’s kind of ironic Tennessee’s offensive coordinator leaves right after I make my decision.”
McBride was originally an SMU commitment last spring, but he opted to re-open his recruitment before summer and that led to interest from Utah, Utah State and Purdue before Memphis came along.
McBride said he carries a bit of a chip on his shoulder, not a big believer in the recruiting rankings and the politics involved with the exposure camps.
“I got invited to a Nike camp, but in my opinion they already know who they want in the Elite 11,” said McBride, a 3-star QB ranked as the 1,284th player in the nation by 247Spots composite.
“You go to those camps and everyone is trying to get reps and you have people cutting in line and being obnoxious,” he said. “For me, I have a chip on my shoulder. I never believe in those (recruiting) rankings There are plenty of 2- and 3-star athletes that end up being NFL players.”
McBride, for his part, is handling Tennessee’s offensive shuffle like a pro.
“It was kind of surprising, but things happen, people have to do what’s best for them,” McBride said. “It caught me off guard, but I’m sure Coach Jones will get someone in there that’s a great coach.
“Tennessee football will always be Tennessee football, and I wish Coach DeBord and Coach Sheridan the best of luck.”