Tennessee Vols morning report: More OC search news, media sessions

KNOXVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 09: Tennessee Volunteers fans cheer during the first half of the game against the Indiana State Sycamores at Neyland Stadium on September 9, 2017 in Knoxville, Tennessee. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
KNOXVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 09: Tennessee Volunteers fans cheer during the first half of the game against the Indiana State Sycamores at Neyland Stadium on September 9, 2017 in Knoxville, Tennessee. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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A Tennessee Vols’ offensive coordinator candidate being hired elsewhere leads our Volunteers news for Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019.

The new year is underway, and things are set to take off immediately for the Tennessee Vols. With conference play in men’s and women’s basketball set to begin over the next three days and a coaching search still going on in football, there’s plenty to cover.

Our morning news on Rocky Top leads with related stories from all three sports. Both basketball coaches spoke with the media Wednesday, and there’s an update in the football search with a name coming off the board.

We also have a preview for a specific game tonight to get to. So there is plenty for us to cover just three days into 2019, and it’s about to get more eventful. Let’s start with the football coaching search on everybody’s mind.

Ohio State hires Mike Yurcich – Stephen Means, Cleveland.com

Oklahoma State Cowboys offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich has been hired as the passing game coordinator for the Ohio State Buckeyes under new head coach Ryan Day. Yurcich was a candidate for Tennessee Vols offensive coordinator and reportedly received an offer.

"Yurcich will receive a two-year contract at $950,000 per year making him one of the 25 highest-paid assistant coaches in the country along with co-defensive coordinators Alex Grinch and Greg Schiano. The contract is a $150,000 raise from what he made at Oklahoma State last season, where he was the highest-paid assistant coach in Oklahoma State history."

Rick Barnes speaks with media – Wes Rucker, GoVols247

Tennessee Vols men’s basketball head coach Rick Barnes spoke with the media Wednesday ahead of his team’s SEC opener, which is scheduled for Saturday against the Georgia Bulldogs. UT still ranks No. 3 heading into conference play with an 11-1 overall record. Here’s a bit of what Barnes said.

"“Every game is important because you never know when you’re going to get another one. I do think that the focus is important. Obviously they’re aware of last year and how we got started with it, but the fact is, it’s a whole new season. We have respect for this league and I do know that our players understand how difficult conference play is, they get that. They know that they’re going to be in a lot of close possession games.”"

Holly Warlick speaks with media – UTSports

Tennessee Lady Vols head coach Holly Warlick spoke with the media Wednesday ahead of her team’s SEC opener against the Auburn Tigers. Warlick’s team enters conference play with an 11-1 record and a No. 10 overall ranking in both polls. Here’s a bit of what she said.

"“We’ve got to get better guarding threes. We’re progressively getting better, but we’ve guarded that all year. It seems like all year we’ve guarded teams that can shoot the three and penetrate. We’ve got to keep people out of the paint, and we’ve got to get in peoples’ faces on the three, and we’ve worked on it every day, but it’s difficult. Defense is difficult; it’s hard. It takes a lot of heart and a lot of energy, and we’ve got to get back to understanding the importance on the defensive end.”"

Lady Vols to visit Auburn Thursday – WVLT

The Tennessee Lady Vols will begin SEC play Thursday night on the road against the Auburn Tigers. Tipoff is set for 7:02 p.m. E.T., and the game will be streamed by SEC Network Plus.

"The No. 10/10 Lady Vols concluded their non-conference slate 11-1 with an 84-76 home victory over Belmont on Sunday afternoon and will face a 12-1 Auburn team in a tough road environment. A Tigers team that has been known for its pressure defense has become a better offensive unit in 2018-19, averaging 82.0 points per game while giving up 62.7."