Ole Miss is one of three current SEC job openings, as the coaching carousel starts to turn. The program made the surprising decision to move on from head coach Matt Luke, after the team blew the Egg Bowl to Mississippi State in particularly embarrassing fashion.
Luke, an Ole Miss alum, took over as the program’s interim coach after Hugh Freeze was fired. Most expected him to return for 2020 thanks to a large buyout, but the Egg Bowl has a tendency to make and break coaching tenures at the two Mississippi schools.
With Arkansas and Missouri, two SEC programs on the same general level of Ole Miss, also opening up this year, the list of candidates has been pretty similar. Memphis’ Mike Norvell has been mentioned with most major openings in the Southeast, and would definitely be a strong get for Ole Miss.
According to a new 247Sports report, two big coordinator names are among those expected to be candidates for the Rebels job.
The first is one that wouldn’t generally jump off the page as an obvious SEC candidate: Notre Dame offensive coordinator Chip Long.
“We are hearing tonight that Notre Dame offensive coordinator Chip Long is emerging as a potential candidate for the Ole Miss job. Long came with Mike Norvell from Arizona State to Memphis in 2016 to serve as the Tigers OC. He left Memphis after one season to become the OC at Notre Dame. He has had full play-calling responsibilities at Notre Dame.”
As 247 notes, Long has little SEC experience (two years as GA at Arkansas), but he did coach at Memphis with Norvell, and has engineered some successful offenses for the Fighting Irish.
It is unclear if Long is set to interview for the job, but one other coordinator who will, according to 247, is Clemson co-OC Jeff Scott. The 38-year old has helped develop one of the best offenses in the country, with a focus on the Travis Etienne-led rushing attack.
“Jeff Scott is the newest name added to our hot board. He’s one of four interviews the Ole Miss Spirit’s David Johnson reported on Tuesday he believes will be interviewed this week, along with Norvell, Napier and Healy. Scott, a Dabo Swinney discipline, is the run-game coordinator at Clemson, and he also worked under former Arkansas and SMU head coach Chad Morris when the latter was the OC for the Tigers. Scott’s considered an intriguing, up-and-coming candidate in coaching circles.”
The early signing period opens on Dec. 18 this year, so schools could try and move on these hires soon, to try and salvage their 2020 recruiting classes as much as possible.