SMU coach Chad Morris has emerged as the top target of a program that let go of Bret Bielema on November 24 - shortly after closing out a 4-8 (1-7 SEC) season - and a deal will be done in the next 24 hours.
Morris inherited a major rebuild at SMU, which went 1-11 the year before he arrived. According to FootballScoop.com, Morris is targeting Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables for the same role with the Razorbacks. His Mustangs are slated to compete in the Frisco Bowl this year after posting a 7-5 record. Before coaching with the Tigers, he was the assistant head coach for Tulsa, but where he really made his name was in the Texas high school football ranks. SMU went 2-10 in his first season in 2015, 5-7 in '16 and 7-5 this season. However, Bielema just could not get Arkansas over the hump in the SEC West.
Arkansas expected to hire Chad Morris away from SMU
While we can't confirm Arkansas and Morris have reached an agreement, we're being told the two sides are in discussions.
Memphis coach Mike Norvell, a UCA graduate, is known to have been under heavy Arkansas consideration.
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He will name his strongest possible side, regardless of the fact they face neighbours Everton on Sunday. The 50-year-old told reporters: "I haven't thought about it for one second".
Prior to taking over the SMU program, Morris was Clemson's offensive coordinator from 2011-14.
The Mustangs are top 15 in the FBS in scoring offense (40.2 points per game), total offense (493.8 yards per game) and passing offense (308 yards per game) this year. Norvell agreed to a contract extension at Memphis earlier Tuesday, and the Morris hire came into picture soon after. So Morris will be bringing his system to the SEC, in an effort to revive the Razorbacks' program after a mostly disappointing five-year run (29-34 record) under Bielema.
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