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Pick Six: A closer look at the Ole Miss head coaching search

LARRY FEDORA, 49, Southern Miss Head Coach

This Season: 10-2, 6-2 C-USA

Head Coaching Record: 31-19

Past Coaching Experience: Baylors WRs/TEs/RBs (1991-96), Air Force QBs/WRs (1997-98), Middle Tennessee OC (1999-2001), Florida OC (2002-04), Oklahoma State OC (2005-07), Southern Miss HC (2008-Present)

What you need to know: He served as offensive coordinator under Ron Zook and Mike Gundy at Florida and Oklahoma State, respectively, before landing the Southern Miss head coaching position. He succeeded Jeff Bower, who led the Golden Eagles to 10 bowl games in his last 11 seasons. Fedora continued that success in Hattiesburg with three straight bowl games in his first three seasons. This season, Southern Miss ranks 15th in total offense and scoring offense, ranks 24th in both polls and will play undefeated Houston for the C-USA Championship this Saturday. He’s a College Station, Texas native, so he would likely have interest in Texas A&M if that job becomes open and he’s also a candidate for the Kansas job.

HUGH FREEZE, 42, Arkansas State Head Coach

This Season: 9-2, 7-0 Sun Belt

Head Coaching Record: 29-7

Past Coaching Experience: Ole Miss TEs/Recruiting Coordinator (2006-07), Lambuth (2008-09), Arkansas State OC (2010), Arkansas State HC (2011 Present)

What you need to know: Best known for his role in the “Blind Side,” Freeze coached former Ole Miss player Michael Oher at Briarcrest (Tenn.) High School. He followed Oher to Ole Miss, where he served as Assistant Athletic Director for Football External Affairs in 2005 and then coached under Ed Orgeron as recruiting coordinator and tight end coaches. His 2006 and 2007 classes ranked 15th and 27th, respectively, according to Rivals.com. Freeze also figures to be one of, if not the top choice at Memphis due to his success there on the high school level. Freeze is also a Southern Miss grad, so that job comes into play if current head coach Larry Fedora lands a bigger job this offseason.

MARK HUDSPETH, 43, Louisiana-Lafayette Head Coach

This Season: 8-4, 6-2 Sun Belt

Head Coaching Record: 74-25

Past Coaching Experience: Navy OC (2001), North Alabama HC (2002-08), Mississippi State WRs (2009-10), Louisiana-Lafayette HC (2011-Present)

What you need to know: Like Freeze, Hudspeth is off to a great start in his season as a FBS head coach at Louisiana-Lafayette. From his stops at North Alabama, Mississippi State and Louisiana-Lafayette, he has recruiting ties to those respective states. At North Alabama, a Division II school, the Lions posted a 66-21 overall record, won two conference titles and reached two national semifinals. From his Louisiana connections, he’s a candidate for the Tulane job. Things will get interesting if rumor becomes reality and Dan Mullen, a Pennsylvania native, takes the Penn State job because Hudspeth would then find himself one of, if not the top choice at Mississippi State.

MIKE LEACH, 50, Former Texas Tech Head Coach

Head Coaching Record: 84-43

Past Coaching Experience: Valdosta State OC (1992-96), Kentucky OC (1997-98), Oklahoma OC (1999), Texas Tech HC (2000-09)

What you need to know: His name has cooled, but Leach remains in the mix for the Ole Miss job. As the offensive coordinator at Valdosta State under head coach Hal Mumme, he developed the “Air Raid Offense.” He followed Mumme to Kentucky, where the Wildcats led the SEC in passing offense both seasons. In his one season at Oklahoma, he took the Sooners from 101st in total offense and scoring offense to 11th in total offense and 8th in scoring offense. From there, he came on boards as the head coach at Texas Tech, where he went 84-43, shared one Big 12 South title and reached a bowl game in all 10 seasons. Despite the pending lawsuit against ESPN, his name has been linked with jobs throughout the country, most notably Kansas.

GUS MALZAHN, 46, Auburn Offensive Coordinator

This Season: 7-5, 4-4 SEC

Past Coaching Experience: Arkansas OC (2006), Tulsa OC (2007-08), Auburn OC (2009-Present)

What you need to know: Malzahn has orchestrated record-setting offenses everywhere he has been from the high school ranks through the college ranks with stops at Arkansas, Tulsa and, most recently, Auburn. Like Freeze with Oher, Malzahn got his start with the “Springdale Trio” of Mitch Mustain, Damian Williams and Ben Cleveland, all of whom he later followed to Fayetteville. After setting nine school records and winning the BCS National Championship this past season at Auburn, the Tigers rank 104th in total offense and 82nd in scoring offense. As for other jobs, he looks to be the top choice at North Carolina, where he will be reunited with new Athletic Director Bubba Cunningham, who he worked with at Tulsa.

KIRBY SMART, 35, Alabama Defensive Coordinator

This Season: 11-1, 7-1 SEC

Past Coaching Experience: Florida State GA (2002-03), LSU DBs (2004), Georgia RBs (2005), Miami Dolphins Safeties (2006), Alabama DC (2007-Present)

What you need to know: The Nick Saban continues to grow with five head coaches having served under him - Mark Dantonio (Michigan State), Derek Dooley (Tennessee), Jimbo Fisher (Florida State), Mike Haywood and, most recently Will Muschamp (Florida) - and Kirby Smart looks to be the next in line. In 2009, Alabama’s BCS National Championship season, Smart won the Broyles Award as the top assistant coach in the nation. This season, the Crimson Tide leads the nation in total defense and scoring defense. There are two things to keep in mind for Smart. First, Alabama is likely headed to the BCS National Championship this season, so it remains to be seen in what capacity he and his potential staff would serve if he would take the Ole Miss job. Second, Mark Richt has two years left on his contract at Georgia, Smart’s alma mater, so that job looms in the future.