Kenny Dillingham has left Auburn to reunite with Mike Norvell at Florida State, and Gus Malzahn already has his replacement in mind.
According to a report Monday from Auburn Undercover, Auburn is targeting Chad Morris to be the Tigers' next offensive coordinator and wants to have a hire in place "this week."
Morris would absolutely be Malzhan's most qualified offensive coordinator, and the push-pull play-calling dynamic has always been a source of intrigue for Malzahn's staff. Malzahn has relinquished and reclaimed play-calling at multiple points over his seven seasons at Auburn; he called plays during Dillingham's one season on staff.
Malzahn and Morris famously go back years, as the two share a kinship as former high school coaches. In fact, Morris once trekked to Arkansas to meet with Malzahn when his career in the Texas high school ranks hit a rough patch.
After following Art Briles as the head coach at Stephenville High School, Morris jumped into college coaching as the offensive coordinator at Tulsa in 2010, the same job Malzahn had held two years prior.
Another interesting dynamic is that Auburn might acquire two Morrises, not one.
Chad's son Chandler is a 4-star recruit in the 2020 class. Dad accompanied Son on a recruiting trip to Auburn while he was still the head coach at Arkansas.
“You go in and you sit down and you get straight to the chase,” Chad Morris told ESPN over the summer. “A lot of it is roster talk more than anything. You talk about injuries and how they handle kids that get hurt, and how does that work. You deal with their trainers. It’s more, from my standpoint, how they go about the strength and conditioning, how they specialize in their quarterbacks and looking at the overall development of the coach. Is he an offensive-minded coach? Is he a defensive-minded coach? You talk strategy, you talk scheme, you talk offense with him. I don’t do a whole lot of talking. I do a lot of listening and let Chandler do a lot of the talking.”
Chandler later committed to Arkansas, but de-committed when Chad was fired in November. Chad then accompanied Chandler during his visit to Auburn for the Iron Bowl, according to Auburn Undercover.
Morris was a candidate for the head coaching position at UTSA before removing his name from consideration. Ironically, that job went to his former assistant, Jeff Traylor.
This deal could come together quickly. Stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.
Update: The hire has been announced.