JOE BIDDLE: Vols need to look at UNC's Larry Fedora - WKRN News 2

JOE BIDDLE: Vols need to look at UNC's Larry Fedora


Auburn hired its man, former offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn.

Arkansas pulled a rabbit out of a hat, blindsiding its fan base by signing Wisconsin Coach Bret Bielema, a Barry Alvarez protégé.

No word yet if Bielema will have to hire an interpreter on his staff, as this is believed to be his first experience with SEC football.

What about Tennessee? Great question. Athletics Director Dave Hart is a one-man search committee. He has been bunkered down in New York City, where a lot of college coaches are in the Big Apple for the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame ceremonies.

Reports say Hart has interviewed Louisville's Charlie Strong. Strong isn't the complete package Tennessee needs to land. He doesn't work well with the media in Louisville and isn't someone who will mix with boosters and fans. Strong is known as a top recruiter, but his Louisville recruiting classes have yet to crack the top 10. He is strong in South Florida recruiting circles.

Other reports indicate Hart has also interviewed Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy, the same Mike Gundy that screamed at a female beat writer at a press conference several years ago.

"Come after me. I'm a MAN!! I'm 40!!'' he bellowed at the stunned writer. I didn't know being 40 years old guaranteed manhood.

Gundy, whose agent is Memphis-based Tennessee alumnus Jimmy Sexton, is believed to be trying to gain leverage against his athletics director, who is a close friend of Oklahoma State's biggest benefactor, T. Boone Pickens.

Gundy graduated from Oklahoma State and I would be surprised if he jumped into the SEC's shark-infested waters.

Hart was also reported to have interviewed North Carolina Coach Larry Fedora. I've known Fedora since he was offensive coordinator for Andy McCollum at Middle Tennessee State from 1999-2001.

I was visiting in the football office one day when Fedora and McCollum were trying to find a way to get their two outstanding running backs, ReShard Lee and Dwone Hicks, on the field together.

They came up with what they named the Posse, with quarterback Wes Counts lining up as a wide receiver and Lee and Hicks in the backfield.

The first time they ran it was against Vanderbilt and Lee took the football 60 yards for a touchdown.

"That was in 1999,'' McCollum said from his Atlanta home. "It fit us. We got in the spread and went no-huddle and fast tempo. A year or two later, Arkansas called it ‘Wildcat,' which is what everybody calls it today.''

Fedora moved to Oklahoma State for three years and then to Florida, where he was offensive coordinator his third and final season there.

Southern Miss hired him as its head coach and he won the 2011 C-USA championship. That team was 12-2 and ranked 17th in the nation on total offense and 14th in scoring offense with 36.9 points a game. That season, they rang up 6,549 yards on offense. They weren't too shabby on defense, ranked 26th in scoring defense and 29th in total defense.

"Larry will work very hard at recruiting,'' said McCollum, currently a Georgia Tech assistant. "He's my best friend and we go back to Baylor. He'll get after it.''

"He is also a people person and a high energy guy. He would be a good fit at Tennessee.''

Fedora inherited a North Carolina team that is on probation and if Tennessee offers, he would likely accept.

Whether Fedora gets that chance or not, is all up to Dave Hart.

Contact Sports Columnist Joe Biddle at

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