Tennessee coaching search: Vols examining a trio of SEC defensive coordinators

Jeremy Pruitt Alabama

TODAY Sports

Tucker coached on National Football League staffs for nine seasons before being hired by Alabama as associate head coach and defensive backs coach in 2015.

Tucker is in his second season with the Bulldogs and now is helping prepare the team for its first appearance in the College Football Playoff.

Other candidates Fulmer reportedly is looking at are SMU coach Chad Morris, Washington coach Chris Petersen and defensive coordinators Jeremy Pruitt (Alabama) and Brent Venables (Clemson).

This season, the Bulldogs rank in the top five among FBS teams in passing defense (158.3 yards per game), scoring defense (13.2 points) and total defense (270.9 yards).

Interestingly, all three candidates have coached under Nick Saban at Alabama.

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Steele has the most head coaching experience of the trio, but his time atop the Baylor program long ago hardly evokes positive memories. Pruitt is also regarded as one of the top recruiters in the SEC. Following his stint as Florida State's defensive coordinator, he spent two seasons at Georgia and returned to Alabama as DC last season.

Tennessee athletic director Phillip Fulmer finally reached out to former quarterback and current USC offensive coordinator Tee Martin about the Vols' head coaching position, sources told to Sports Illustrated's Bruce Feldman on Tuesday.

Vols AD Phillip Fulmer has brought some relief, in the sense that most Tennessee fans are confident the Hall of Fame coach will make a strong hire.

Georgia will play No. 2 Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual on New Year's Day.

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