The march towards the first College Football Playoff is on. How does the college football landscape look after week 1? Clemson is bad, South Carolina is worse, and Lane Kiffin is always a dumpster fire waiting to happen…plus much more.
Jimbo Fisher may very well be the head coach of the reigning National Champs, but Art Briles thinks he’s basically silly.
The Baylor head man, who is Texan through and through, seemed to take some exception to Jimbo Fisher’s demand that the Big 12 play a championship game.
A report surfaced Monday that Louisville’s Charlie Strong met with Texas officials regarding the Longhorns’ head coaching vacancy, but a source close to the situation tells Football Rumor Mill that is not true. At least not yet.
Orangebloods.com’s Chip Brown reported that Texas athletic director Steve Patterson met with Strong at an undisclosed location.
While the situation could certainly change, our sources say that Strong did not meet with Patterson on Tuesday and was not scheduled to interview Tuesday night.
Brown reports that Patterson has also already met with Vanderbilt coach James Franklin and wants to talk to Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio.
Other names mentioned with the Texas opening include Baylor’s Art Briles and Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher.
Earlier on Monday, word leaked that Fisher had signed a new contract, but don’t assume that will keep him with the Seminoles. Sources indicate he remains a legitimate candidate.
There’s certainly plenty of smoke that Penn State’s Bill O’Brien is primed for a return to the NFL.
It’s been making the news rounds the past couple of weeks, and now ESPN reports that O’Brien has emerged as the overwhelming favorite to become the next coach of the Houston Texans, and the two sides are working to get a deal in place within the next week.
Lions247 reports Brooklyn (N.Y.) Abraham Lincoln five-star defensive tackle and Nittany Lions commit Thomas Holley spoke with O’Brien Saturday night regarding the ESPN report that O’Brien was in the process of working on a deal to become the Houston Texans next head coach.
“I just off the phone with him,” Holley told 247Sports Luke Stampini. “He said he isn’t going. It’s not true.”
The Houston Chronicle’s John McClain reports that Texans owner Bob McNair said the search for the team’s next head coach “isn’t over.”
“The process continues,” he said. “We have other interviews scheduled next week. It isn’t over.”
CBSSports reports Chargers offensive coordinator and former Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt will be given strong consideration for the Texans job.
Reports surfaced Friday that Washington defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox was expected to accept the same position on Steve Sarkisian’s USC staff.
Now, DuckTerritory is reporting that Oregon has targeted Wilcox to replace the longtime outgoing DC Nick Aliotti. If the Ducks miss on Wilcox, they more than likely promote John Neal to the position.
There are all sorts of rumors flying around linking Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly to the Detroit Lions job. However, it looks as if Kelly is likely to stay put.
Jets linebackers coach Brian VanGorder will become Notre Dame’s new defensive coordinator. VanGorder was defensive coordinator at Auburn, Georgia and the Atlanta Falcons.
Multiple sources tell us North Carolina assistant Walt Bell will be the new offensive coordinator at Arkansas State. He had been considered a leading candidate to take over for the departed Blake Anderson, but it looks like Bell will instead join Anderson instead.
InsideCarolina reports that Bell is receiving a two-year contract at $225,000 per year in his new position at Arkansas State, which is less than what UNC offered.
UNC head coach Larry Fedora could look to his former offensive coordinator and current Texas co-OC Darrell Wyatt as his next play caller.
Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith told the Toledo Blade there are no plans to renegotiate with head coach Urban Meyer before next season, but he knows Ohio State “will have to face that music down the road.”
At Texas, there’s a lot of smoke around Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher. If the Texas search drags until the BCSNCG, the speculation surrounding Fisher could reach a fever pitch.
Fisher hasn’t even issued a non-denial denial, saying only, “I’m going to talk about our team. That’s all I’m talking about. I ain’t getting into all the rumors.”
At some point, those rumors are likely to become a distraction for the Seminoles, who will play for the National Championship on January 6th.
The Dallas News reports Longhorns athletic director Steve Patterson has begun to focus on at least a handful of candidates including Fisher, Baylor’s Art Briles. Vanderbilt’s James Franklin and Louisville’s Charlie Strong are also considered to be in the mix.
The News also reports that Alabama’s Nick Saban is a possibility, although that may be a long shot. Other candidates could also emerge.
Horns247 reports that Fisher’s counterpart in the National Championship Game, Auburn’s Gus Malzahn, is not a candidate at Texas.
Mack Brown is contractually obligated to receive at least $500,000 annually through 2020, but Texas’ soon-to-be former head football coach is pushing for a lot more.
Don Evans, a former UT regent and one-time U.S. Secretary of Commerce, is involved with Brown’s buyout negotiations with school officials, said Joe Jamail, Brown’s attorney and Texas benefactor.
UCF head coach George O’Leary confirmed on Saturday that he has hired Paul Ferraro as the Knights new defensive coordinator.
Ferraro coached under O’Leary as a graduate assistant at Syracuse in 1983 and also coached defensive backs on O’Leary’s staff at Georgia Tech in 1999-2000.
The Gainesville Sun’s Robbie Andreu reports new Florida offensive coordinator Kurt Roper will make $600,000 a year. The length of the contract is unknown.
Sources tell us that West Virginia offensive line coach Ron Crook could be the leading candidate to take over the same job at Wake Forest.
Crook is a West Virginia native who arrived in Morgantown via Stanford prior to the 2013 season.
Photo: Gene J. Puskar, AP
There’s certainly been no shortage of names mentioned as possible replacements for Mack Brown at Texas, and depending on who you ask, everyone seems to have a theory as to which direction the Longhorns will ultimately go.
HookEm247 reports that Texas is actively considering four candidates: Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher, Auburn’s Gus Malzahn, Ohio State’s Urban Meyer and the 49ers’ Jim Harbaugh.
While it may seem odd to think the Longhorn brass will be willing to wait on two coaches in Fisher and Malzahn who have games on Jan. 7 and Harbaugh, whose team could make a deep run in the NFL playoffs, it’s important to remember that Monday marked the opening of a recruiting dead period that runs until the end of the AFCA Convention on Jan. 15.
Still, it’s difficult to imagine a coach winning the national title and being announced as the head coach of another college team a few days later.
Both Malzahn and LSU’s Les Miles have shot down Texas rumors over the past 24 hours.
“I’m a good fit for the Auburn Tigers, that’s why I signed the contract the day before the SEC championship,” Malzahn told AuburnUndercover. “Like I said before I’m tickled to death to be here.”
The first-year Auburn coach signed a letter of agreement on a six-year contract extension Dec. 6 that will pay him $3.85 million in 2014 with a $250,000 raise each year.
Miles told The Advocate that he doesn’t want to hear his name mentioned with the Texas job.
“Oh please,” he said. “Oh please. Let’s not kick my name around.”
As far Harbaugh, NFL sources seem to think the possibility of him leaving the pros for a college job is a pipe dream. The same goes for Steelers coach Mike Tomlin.
Michael Silver reported Sunday on NFL Network’s “NFL GameDay Morning” that Harbaugh has told his superiors with the San Francisco 49ers that he’s staying with the 49ers.
Another source apparently told NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport that Rapoport has a better chance of coaching Texas next year than Harbaough. (As NFL.com points out, Rapoport doesn’t know what a zone defense is.)
A source close to Tomlin, meanwhile, told Rapoport that that Tomlin’s inclusion on the list is “absurd.”
Tomlin’s name occasionally has been rumored for college jobs, but there has been no indication that he wants to move on from his job with Pittsburgh, and he is expected to return as the Steelers coach next season.
Sources continue to to tell us not to completely rule out Nick Saban, even though he seemingly ruled himself out Sunday.
“I knew that if Mack stepped down, there would probably be an opportunity, but it wasn’t something I was interested in doing, not at this stage in my career,” Saban said.
We’d be surprised to see Saban make a jump now – especially after Sunday’s statement. Still, don’t think for a second that Texas has given up, and you can expect them to offer Saban a ton of money – even more than the $7.5 million he’s rumored to have agreed to at Alabama.
We wouldn’t rule it out completely, but we believe it to be highly unlikely he’d leave, at least at this point. But remember, this is the same guy who as the Dolphins coach said, “I’m not going to be the Alabama coach.”
Other names floating around include Mike Gundy and Chip Kelly. Both have either looming (Gundy) or past (Kelly) NCAA issues.
Kelly is on the verge of winning the NFC East with the Eagles and shot down reports linking him to the job. “I haven’t to talked to anybody,” he said Monday. “It’s just speculation. I havent spoken to anybody, nor will I speak to anybody.”
All sorts of names like Art Briles and David Shaw are also making the rounds. The bottom line is it’s early. And nobody knows where this search ends up.
If it drags into January, you can probably assume it’s one of the coaches in the BCS National Championship Game or an NFL guy.
The only other reason would be incompetence. And who could possibly think that that anyone at Texas was incompetent after the past several days?
Photo: Steve Cannon, AP
It was just a matter of time before Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi’s name started being mentioned for this year’s head coach openings.
Jeremy Fowler of CBS Sports reports that UConn has requested an interview Narduzzi about the Huskies’ coaching vacancy.
We reported yesterday that should Texas dump Mack Brown, they could pursue some big names like Nick Saban, Jim Harbaugh or Jimbo Fisher.
Now, sources close to the situation tell us a decision on Brown is likely to drag out for a few days. Most believe Brown won’t go willingly. In other words, if Texas wants to make a change, it could be ugly.
The Orlando Sentinel reports that Florida State may still be vulnerable to losing Jimbo Fisher, even though he has agreed to a contract extension.
CBS’ Jason La Canfora reports the Redskins could pursue Baylor coach Art Briles when Mike Shanahan is officially shown the door.
The Dallas Morning News says that Briles is likely to stay in Waco.
Rumors continue to circulate that the Texans could pursue Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin.
Wake Forest has interviewed Bowling Green coach Dave Clawson. Clawson’s team won the MAC title by defeating Northern Illinois on Friday.
New Wyoming coach Craig Bohl will be paid a base salary of $750,000 a year at the start with the opportunity to earn up to $1.2 million with incentives. His contract is for five years.
CBSSports.com’s Bruce Feldman reports that Arkansas State coach Bryan Harsin is interviewing for the Boise State job today.
The Idaho Statesman reports that Broncos linebackers coach Bob Gregory will also interview for the job. Gregory and associate head coach Chris Strausser are believed to be the only two in-house candidates being considered.
Other candidates include Washington defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox, Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter and Harsin. All three have ties to Boise State.
Jon Gruden won’t pursue any NFL or college jobs and is committed to ESPN for 2014.
Even though Baylor coach Art Briles signed an extension in November, the National Football Post reports that he could be a prime candidate to replace former Texans coach Gary Kubiak, who was fired on Friday.
Briles has strong connections to Houston, having both played at coached at the University of Houston. In addition, Briles recruited Texans quarter-back Case Keenum out of high school to play for the Cougars.
Because Baylor is a private university, details of Briles’ contract are not available, but it is believed he has smaller buyouts that would allow him to go to the NFL or to the University of Texas.
McNair said during a press conference Friday that coaches with previous experience tended to have more success than coaches who were elevated from a coordinator position or other spot.
The NFP report also points out that former Bears coach Lovie Smith, a Texas native, also meets that criteria.
Photo: Tony Gutierrez, AP