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Ask Farrell: Are we on the verge of an SEC coaching purge?

Jeremy Pruitt
Jeremy Pruitt (AP Images)

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The SEC is the most cutthroat conference in college football and coaching changes happen regularly there. If someone is not performing, they’re almost instantly on the hot seat and fan bases demand excellence almost immediately.

That could be bad news for a growing number of coaches in the conference who, for one reason or another, are just not gaining traction yet at their respective schools. Some are new and some have been there awhile, so there is definitely a discussion worth being had if they’re legitimately at risk of being replaced.

There seem to be currently five names who should be watched: South Carolina’s Will Muschamp, Vanderbilt’s Derek Mason, Tennessee’s Jeremy Pruitt, ArkansasChad Morris and Ole MissMatt Luke.

Pruitt is a no-brainer, as all kinds of rumors are swirling and who knows what to believe. But he was 5-7 in his first season and 1-3 so far this year with an embarrassing loss to Georgia State, followed by a loss at home to BYU, and the Vols just got crushed by Florida this past weekend.

Mason has dodged the hot seat at Vanderbilt before, but a brutal early-season schedule has the Commodores with blowout losses to Georgia, Purdue and LSU to start the year. Now in his sixth season, Mason has never had a winning record at Vanderbilt.

Two seasons ago, Luke went 6-6 at Ole Miss and last year the Rebels were 5-7 with one win in conference play. Both times Ole Miss finished sixth in the division. Against Alabama this weekend, the Rebels are 38-point underdogs. The team is just not as competitive as it should be, and Luke could pay for it.

Morris had an entire culture to change at Arkansas, but the Razorbacks lost at home to San Jose State last week. That’s downright pitiful. They lost by two touchdowns to Ole Miss earlier this season and snuck by Portland State, 20-13, in the season opener. Arkansas did take out Colorado State by 21 in its only strong performance so far this season. When it comes to Morris, he’s 18-34 as a head coach after having two losing years at SMU before going 7-5 in 2017 and then getting the Arkansas job.

The only extraordinary thing about Muschamp so far at South Carolina is his $18.75 million buyout that could keep him in Columbia for a while longer. The 23-20 record isn’t special. The 12-14 record in conference games is bad. And this is on the heels of four years at Florida, where he went 17-15 in the SEC.

At Florida.

In a blowout loss to Missouri last week, the Gamecocks rushed for 16 yards on 24 attempts. That’s literally less than a yard per rush. Muschamp hot seat talk is heating up quickly.

We ask Rivals National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell if he sees another SEC coaching purge happening over the next few months.


“It will be a trickle, a couple each year, rather than one large purge. I can see Pruitt going at the end of this season if it’s a disaster, and perhaps Mason or Luke. I think Muschamp is safe and Morris will get more time.

"But will any of these coaches last more than the next couple of years? I don't think they will and I have to wonder when these programs will be successful again. The gap between the top and bottom of the SEC seems to be widening.”