CLEMSON — Clemson is expected to begin bowl practice on Saturday. The status of offensive coordinator Chad Morris should be a hot topic until then – and beyond.
According to AuburnUndercover.com, a 247Sports site which covers Auburn, Morris interviewed with AU officials regarding their head coaching vacancy Monday.
Other candidates include Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart, TCU’s Gary Patterson and Arkansas State head coach Gus Malzahn. Malzahn was Morris’ mentor; both run the hurry-up, no-huddle offense, and Morris’ first collegiate job was replacing Malzahn as Tulsa’s offensive coordinator.
AU is seeking to replace Gene Chizik, who was fired following a 3-9 season, just two years after winning a BCS national championship.
Malzahn was Chizik’s offensive coordinator, but left following the 2011 season to become Arkansas State’s head coach. The Red Wolves are 9-3 this season, and won the Sun Belt regular-season title.
Morris is one of the nation’s hottest head coaching candidates. Last week, he interviewed with N.C. State, which hired Northern Illinois’ Dave Doeren on Sunday.
Morris makes $1.3 million annually as the nation’s highest-paid assistant coach; last year, he signed a six-year, $7.8 million contract which has no buyout if he leaves for a head coaching position.
Auburn has talent recruited by Malzahn to play in the hurry-up, no-huddle scheme, but there are potential clouds. Auburn is reportedly under investigation by the NCAA for recruiting improprieties which occurred under Chizik’s watch.