Auburn offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey is a top candidate for the same position at Tennessee, according to a report by FootballScoop.com.
Lindsey is joined by N.C. State offensive coordinator Eliah Drinkwitz as candidates for Tyson Helton's position following Helton's hiring as Western Kentucky's head coach.
While previously crossing paths as Alabama high school coaches, Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt has maintained a close friendship with Lindsey. The pair last met in a 30-24 Auburn loss to Tennessee in October.
Lindsey's candidacy follows a deal from earlier this week that would decrease both Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn's buyout and salary should Malzahn return next season. Malzahn is currently moving toward a return for a seventh season on The Plains, according to Auburn Undercover.
Should Lindsey be employed at Auburn beyond Saturday, the second-year coordinator would be set to receive a $100,000 retention bonus. The school has notified Malzahn that it will not pay the buyout clauses for assistant coaches he would want to fire. It is possible for either side to strike a deal should Lindsey take the Tennessee position, preventing the coordinator from paying over $800,000 back to the university.
Lindsey's current three-year deal runs through Jan. 31, 2020, with a base salary of $700,000 per year.
With an offense that finished averaging 33.9 points per game and 451.6 yards per game in 2017, the team regressed in 2018 to 28.3 points per game and 373.6 yards per game. In Lindsey's first year as coordinator, quarterback Jarrett Stidham's conference-lead in completion percentage was complemented by Ryan Davis breaking the program record for receptions in a season with 84.
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As a former offensive analyst during Auburn's 2013 season, Lindsey also worked as offensive coordinators for Southern Miss and Arizona State prior to his hiring at Auburn in January 2017.
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