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December 6, 2012

Report: Nussmeier up for Southern Miss job

TUSCALOOSA | University of Alabama offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier is expected to interview for the head coach opening at the University of Southern Mississippi, according to the Hattiesburg (Miss.) American.

Interviews for the position began Thursday and will continue through Saturday and will also likely include three other offensive coordinators -- North Carolina's Blake Anderson, Texas Tech's Neal Brown and Oklahoma State's Todd Monken -- according to the publication.

The Southern Miss job opened when the Golden Eagles fired Ellis Johnson after his first season finished 0-12. USM Director of Athletics Jeff Hammond told the American he would like to have a coach in place by Dec. 19.

Other possibilities for the job, according to the American, include Louisiana-Lafayette offensive coordinator Jay Johnson, Tennessee-Martin head coach Jason Simpson, Sam Houston State coach Willie Fritz and Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo.

Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart interviewed for the Auburn position earlier this week, but the job eventually went to former AU assistant Gus Malzahn. A source close to the Tennessee search told The Tuscaloosa News that although UT Director of Athletics Dave Hart has said head coaching experience is a criteria for the Volunteers' head coaching post, Smart may be a possibility for the UT job. Smart has not been directly linked to the Tennessee job, but is among the nation's most sought-after coordinators.

Nussmeier has one game remaining in his first season as Alabama's offensive coordinator, and has led the Crimson Tide offense to 439 yards per game this season, which ranks 40th in the NCAA. Alabama's scoring offense ranked much higher at 15th in the nation (38.5 points per game), due in large part to a vast improvement in red zone efficiency.

UA quarterback AJ McCarron ranks No. 1 in the NCAA in pass efficiency under Nussmeier at 173.1.

Reach Chase Goodbread at chase@tidesports.com or at 205-722-0196.

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