KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -Tennessee assistant coach Trooper Taylor said Thursday he never thought he was a serious candidate for the Volunteers' vacant offensive coordinator position.
Oklahoma State on Wednesday hired the Voles' wide receivers coach as co-offensive coordinator.
``I knew that I probably wasn't going to be in the mix for the coordinator's job here, and that's not a negative for coach (Phillip) Fulmer,'' Taylor said. ``What everybody's got to understand is he's going to do what's best for this program, and unless he feels really good about it in his heart, he's not going to make that kind of decision. I have no problem with that.''
Taylor, who has coached at Tennessee for four years, also interviewed Sunday for the offensive coordinator job at his alma mater, Baylor.
But he said he got ``a vibe'' that he wouldn't be considered as a replacement for Vols offensive coordinator David Cutcliffe, who was hired as head coach at Duke on Saturday. Both coaches will remain with Tennessee through the Outback Bowl against Wisconsin on Jan. 1 in Tampa, Fla.
Taylor, 37, said his decision to leave the Vols was a difficult one made easier by the opportunity to call plays. He said he informed his wide receivers of his decision in an emotional meeting Wednesday night.
``You can tell there's been a lot of tears being shed, and they keep coming,'' he said.
Fulmer said the Vols will miss Taylor, who also oversees player development and is considered a strong recruiter, but remains upbeat about the opportunity to bring in two new assistant coaches.
``You would not believe the people that have contacted me and the reception that I've had from people that I've contacted about coming to the University of Tennessee,'' Fulmer said. ``I think it's a very good time for us to mix it up a little bit and be excited about the possibilities of what we can do.''

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