Coach Speak: Rumors & News

Coach Speak: Rumors & News

Alabama's DB coach resigns; Saban shuffles defensive staff

In yesterday’s Rumor Mill, we reported that Alabama defensive backs coach Greg Brown was likely to step down, and that there could be additional movement on Nick Saban’s staff.

Kevin Steele, one-time defensive coordinator at Clemson and Alabama, will coach Bama's linebackers next fall. (Photo: AP)

Kevin Steele, one-time defensive coordinator at Clemson and Alabama, will coach Bama’s linebackers next fall. (Photo: AP)

It looks like those moves are all but official now.

ESPN reports that Brown has indeed stepped down and that defensive coordinator Kirby Smart will move from linebackers coach over to the secondary.

Kevin Steele, who spent last season as director of player personnel, will take over linebacker coaching duties from Smart, rounding out the Tide’s on-field staff.

Though he was hired prior to the 2013 season to spearhead Alabama’s off-field recruiting efforts, it was only a matter of time before he returned to an on-field role.

Prior to hiring Georgia’s Todd Grantham, Bobby Petrino offered Steele the defensive coordinator job at Louisville. But with the opportunity to move back on the field, Steele decided to remain in Tuscaloosa.

Steele was previously defensive coordinator at Clemson and Alabama, and was head coach at Baylor from 1999-2002.

The 2013 season was Brown’s only one at Alabama. He was defensive coordinator at Colorado the two prior seasons and has 15 years experience coaching in the NFL.

Returning to the secondary should be easy transition Smart, who coached there previously and played safety in college.

Smart made it clear that he wasn’t happy with Alabama’s inconsistency at cornerback in 2013.

“We are not used to that,” he told the media prior to the Sugar Bowl. “We’ve kind of always had one key guy with all the first -round, second-round corners we’ve had, we’ve always had a staple guy there, then kind of an understudy that was the other one who was an up-and-coming corner.

“Hasn’t been that way this year. It’s been frustrating.”

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Florida State DC Jeremy Pruitt leaves for Georgia

Florida State defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt has accepted the same position at Georgia, according to multiple media reports.

Florida State defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt is leaving the Seminoles for the same position on Mark Richt's staff at Georgia. (Photo: Don Juan Moore, AP)Pruitt was reportedly in Athens on Tuesday meeting with Mark Richt and the UGA coaching staff.

Todd Grantham resigned Sunday as the Bulldogs’ defensive coordinator to join Bobby Petrino’s Louisville staff.

In December 2012, Pruitt left Alabama to join Jimbo Fisher’s FSU staff. Thirteen months later, the Pruitt-led Seminoles defense played a critical role in Florida State’s 34-31 win over Auburn in the BCS National Championship.

Georgia has yet to officially announce the hire and details of the contract are not yet available, but Pruitt is expected to sign a contract worth $850,000 annually.

Prior to his only season at FSU, Pruitt spent six seasons under Nick Saban at Alabama, including the final three as defensive backs coach.

Photo: Don Juan Moore, AP

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The Rumor Mill :: College Football Coaching News and Rumors – Tuesday, Jan. 14

It looks like Stanford defensive coordinator Derek Mason has emerged as the favorite to replace James Franklin at Vanderbilt.

Stanford defensive coordinator Derek Mason (Photo: Nick Ut, AP)

Stanford defensive coordinator Derek Mason (Photo: Nick Ut, AP)

Multiple sources tell us that Mason is the leading candidate for the job, and CBSSports.com’s Jeremy Fowler reports an interview is scheduled.

Alabama has hired Texas assistant (and former Crimson Tide assistant) Bo Davis to coach defensive line.

Sources tell us to expect even more movement on Nick Saban’s staff. Multiple sources indicate secondary coach Greg Brown is likely to move on. We’re also told there could be one to two other changes.

SI.com’s Pete Thamel reports longtime Penn State assistant Larry Johnson could join Urban Meyer’s staff at Ohio State.

The 61-year-old Johnson, a PSU assistant since 1996, told PennLive on Monday night he met with Franklin twice and was offered the opportunity to continue as defensive line coach at Penn State.

But, after considering the offer, LJ decided to move on. He said he has not retired and plans to continue coaching.

OSU defensive line coach Mike Vrabel joined Bill O’Brien’s Texans staff.

Speaking of the Buckeyes, Adam Caplan reports should Jim Caldwell wind up getting the Lions head coaching job, he could add former Ohio State coach Jim Tressel to his offensive staff.

The Seattle Times reports Washington’s eight new assistant coaches are guaranteed a combined salary north of $3 million in their first year on Chris Petersen’s staff, making them among the highest-paid staffs in the Pac-12 Conference.

Hot names for the UAB head coaching job include Jacksonville State head coach Bill Clark, Cincinnati offensive coordinator Eddie Gran, Hoover High School head coach Josh Niblett and former Arkansas and Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt.

Texas‘ new football coach, Charlie Strong, will be paid $5 million for the 2014 season and the school will pay Strong’s $4.375 million buyout to Louisville, according to financial terms approved Monday by the university system’s board of regents.

Sources indicate offensive line coach Joe Wickline and quarterbacks coach Shawn Watson are likely to run the Longhorns’ offense together.

Horns247 reports Les Koenning Jr., Joker Phillips and Mike Groh are the three leading contenders for the wide receivers position. The receivers job is the last vacant spot on the Longhorns’ staff.

Dawgs247 reports Florida State’s Jeremy Pruitt has emerged as the leader to replace Todd Grantham as Georgia’s defensive coordinator.

DuckTerritory reports that Oregon will hire longtime assistant Don Pellum as its new defensive coordinator and that the Ducks will look to hire Philadelphia Eagles assistant Erik Chinander to fill out the staff.

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UMass hires Mark Whipple as head coach

Bobby Petrino’s return to Louisville won’t mark the only FBS head coach making his second stop at a former school.

UMass has named former Minutemen coach Mark Whipple to replace Charley Molnar. (Photo: AP)UMass has hired Mark Whipple, who coached the Minutemen from 1998-2003, to replace Charley Molnar.

Whipple’s UMass teams compiled a 49–26 record, including a 1-AA (FCS) National Championship in his first season and two more playoff appearances.

He left UMass to become quarterbacks coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Most recently, Whipple was the Cleveland Browns quarterbacks coach in 2011-12.

The Chicago Bears’ starting quarterback in 1977-78m Whipple is 121–59 in sixteen seasons as a head coach, including stints at Brown and Division II New Haven.

UMass relieved Charley Molnar as head coach following back-to-back 1-11 seasons.

Photo: AP

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Report: Saban officially hires Kiffin as Bama's offensive coordinator

As we mentioned first on Tuesday, Alabama’s Nick Saban had a backup plan when Crimson Tide offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier bolted for Michigan, and now he’s made it official.

Alabama has hired former USC head coach Lane Kiffin as the Crimson Tide's offensive coordinator. (Photo: Danny Moloshok, AP) Saban has hired former USC head coach Lane Kiffin to replace Nussmeier, according to an ESPN report.

Last month, Saban made headlines when he brought Kiffin in to share ideas with the Tide offensive staff.

“Lane is a really good offensive coach, and I’ve always had a tremendous amount of respect for him,” Saban said at the time. “Just to come in and brainstorm a little bit to get some professional ideas with our guys is a really positive thing.”

ESPN reports that Kiffin agreed to a 3-year deal, and the contract is being completed.

Kiffin, who was fired as coach at USC in September after a 62-41 loss at Arizona State, was 28-15 record in three-plus seasons with the Trojans. He went 7-6 in his only season at Tennessee and 5-15 in two seasons with the Oakland Raiders.

Prior to becoming the Raiders’ coach, Kifffin spent six seasons as an assistant at USC, the last two as the Trojans’ offensive coordinator.

Photo: Danny Moloshok, AP

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Western Kentucky names Jeff Brohm head coach

Western Kentucky didn’t waste any time hiring a replacement for Bobby Petrino.

Western Kentucky named offensive coordinator Jeff Brohm as the school's new head football coach, replacing Bobby Petrino who departed for Louisville. (Photo: Brandon Carter, WKU Herald)The Hilltoppers named Jeff Brohm, WKU’s offensive coordinator last season, their next head coach Friday afternoon.

School officials didn’t expect Petrino to be around long, and Brohm had been unofficially promised the job when he arrived as offensive coordinator.

Western Kentucky led the Sun Belt in yards per play (6.29) and ranked No. 29 nationally. The unit broke 18 single-season school records including total offense, individual passing yards and individual rushing yards.

The team finished 8-4, with a 4-3 record in Sun Belt play, but did not receive an invitation to play a bowl game.

Brohm is a former Louisville quarterback began his college coaching career with the Cardinals under Petrino in 2003. He remained on staff through 2008, remaining through the transition from Petrino to Steve Kragthorpe.

He left to join Howard Schnellenberger at FAU, followed by short stints at Illinois (2010-11) and UAB (2012).

Brohm then rejoined Petrino at Western Kentucky prior to the 2013 season, serving as assistant head coach and offensive coordinator.

Photo: Brandon Carter, WKU Herald

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UAB head coach Garrick McGee bolts to become Louisville OC

It’s not everyday that an FBS program loses its head coach to become a coordinator at another college program.

UAB head coach Garrick McGee is leaving the Blazers to become offensive coordinator at Louisville. (Photo: Mark Humphrey, AP)But then again, UAB isn’t your everyday FBS program.

According to ESPN’s Joe Schad, Blazers coach Garrick McGee is stepping down to re-unite with Bobby Petrino as Louisville’s offensive coordinator.

McGee coached under Petrino at Arkansas, first as quarterbacks coach (2008-2009) and later offensive coordinator (2010-2011).

McGee went just 3-9 and 2-10 in two seasons at UAB and was already under fire there.

The Blazers have just three winning seasons in 18 years at the Division I level, with the last coming in 2004 under Watson Brown.

Photo: Mark Humphrey, AP

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