Early-week SEC coaching update

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Three jobs still remain open in the SEC at Arkansas, Auburn and Tennessee. Very little news about interviews and hires has been made public, and it’s been kept hush-hush within each program. With the regular season now officially in the books, these three programs probably have a better idea as to who their next coach may be.

News changes by the minute, but here’s what we know:

Arkansas

  • With Les Miles and James Franklin now officially off the board, very little information is being released about the search.
  • The hot names on the board remain TCU’s Gary Patterson, Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy and Boise’s Chris Petersen.
  • Patterson is largely considered the favorite, with some pointing out that Petersen already has an offer for the job. Some say both have already turned the Hogs down.
  • Gundy declined to comment on the reports of him looking at Arkansas or Tennessee last night.
  • Baylor’s Art Briles could be next in line to get an offer.

Auburn

  • Auburn’s coaching search is likely down to these candidates: FSU’s Jimbo Fisher, Arkansas State’s Gus Malzahn, Louisville’s Charlie Strong, TCU’s Gary Patterson, Bama’s Kirby Smart, Boise’s Chris Petersen and Bobby Petrino.
  • There’s a report that says Auburn will interview Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart.
  • There’s also reports of Clemson offensive coordinator getting an Auburn interview, too.
  • I spoke to someone familiar with the Auburn program who believes that Gus Malzahn is the front-runner for the job. He is AD Jay Jacob’s ‘guy’, after all.
  • Bobby Petrino is still considered by many as the favorite to land the job in the public’s perception. However, many are quick to point out that Petrino would increase the chasm that already divides the fan base. But if he were to win eight or nine games, that would change in an instant.

Tennessee

  • Now that Jon Gruden is firmly out of the way, Tennessee can move on to realistic candidates.
  • Butch Davis is largely considered the favorite to get the head coaching gig right now. He’s currently an advisor to the Tampa Bay Bucs.
  • Tennessee was said to interview Louisville’s Charlie Strong last week. He would be a good hire.
  • Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy was said to host Tennessee representatives in his hometown over the weekend, but Gundy wouldn’t talk about it last night at his press conference. There may be some friction between Gundy and his athletic director over a contract dispute from last year.
  • Others on the board remain with UNC’s Larry Fedora, Cincinnati’s Butch Jones, Nebraska’s Bo Pelini, TCU’s Gary Patterson and FSU’s Jimbo Fisher.
  • Fisher is said to be Dave Hart’s favorite candidate for the job at this point, but multiple people are quick to point out Butch Davis as the front runner for the job.
  • Hart will interview candidates through this week and could make the hire as early as the end of this week.
Additional notes:

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