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The Rumor Mill :: College Football Coaching News and Rumors – Wednesday, Dec. 18

Orangebloods.com reports that former Super Bowl champion head coach and current ESPN analyst Jon Gruden is open to hearing from the Texas athletic department about its football head coaching vacancy.

Could Jon Gruden have an interest in the Texas job? (Photo: Brian Blanco, AP)

Could Jon Gruden have an interest in the Texas job? (Photo: Brian Blanco, AP)

Our sources confirm that report is true. Texas’ interest in Gruden is unknown.

The Gainesville Sun’s Pat Dooley reports that Charlie Strong would not be interested in the Texas job, but our sources indicate that’s not necessarily so.

On the record, Strong gave the typical “coach speak” response.

“I don’t even think about it,” he told the Louisville Courier-Journal. “I don’t even worry about it. I have a good job here. … The only thing I can control is what’s happening right here.”

There are lots of rumors that Arizona State head coach Todd Graham could be a backup candidate at Texas — despite a legal agreement AD Steve Patterson signed when he left Arizona State for Texas that he wouldn’t hire any ASU coaches.

The guess is the two sides could come up with some sort of compensation for Graham should the ‘Horns get that far. We doubt they do.

Ex-Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe told CBS Charlotte that he’d be interested in Army job.

“Absolutely, mainly because I love the academies,” Grobe said. “I spent eleven years at the Air Force Academy with Fisher DeBerry and those kids are in my heart. I have not talked to them, so whether that’s something they would want, it’s certainly something I’m interested in.”

Sources indicate former USC offensive coordinator Clay Helton has emerged as a very strong candidate to replace the fired Brent Pease at Florida. We’re told head coach Will Muschamp is getting a lot of “not interested” as he calls around.

The Newark Star-Ledger reports that Rutgers coach Kyle Flood filled one of the three vacancies on his staff today, naming 34-year coaching veteran Mitch Browning as the team’s new offensive line coach.

Arizona State announced Wednesday morning it has promoted offensive coordinator Mike Norvell to role of Deputy Head Coach.

Sources indicate Norvell had been a top target to be the new offensive coordinator at Florida.

Arkansas State is interviewing a whole slew of candidates, so nobody seems to know where the search will end. Sources indicate they feel really good about Arizona State’s Norvell and UNC’s Blake Anderson.

CBSSports.com’s Bruce Feldman reports that Red Wolves officials spoke to Butch Davis but that he was not interested.

New UConn head coach Bob Diaco confirmed to the Hartford Courant that only offensive line coach Mike Foley had been retained.

Mike Szvetitz of the Opelika-Auburn News reports that other than the initial terms of Auburn coach Gus Malzhan’s new contract extension, no other details have been finalized – including the buyout.

Arkansas coach Brett Bielema isn’t in any hurry to hire a defensive line coach to replace Charlie Partridge, who left to be the head coach at FAU.

“I have half a dozen names that have come across my desk in the last 48 hours that are very intriguing that I’m definitely researching,” he told ArkansasNews.com. “I probably won’t bring anybody in until after the first of the year.

“I might talk to about half a dozen guys by phone, kind of off the record, and see where it’s at.”

Former Wake Forest defensive coordinator Brian Knorr joined the Air Force coaching staff on a retreat Tuesday and the is in talks to join the Falcons as a defensive assistant.

New Miami (Ohio) coach Chuck Martin has announced three additions to his coaching staff: Co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach George Barnett, co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Eric Koehler and tight ends coach Pat Welsh.

Barnett and Koehler were at Illinois State last season while Welsh was a GA at Notre Dame.

Illinois coach Tim Beckman announced that offensive coordinator Bill Cubit has agreed to a one-year contract extension that includes an increase in annual salary to $500,000 per year and keeps him on the Fighting Illini sideline through the 2015 season.

GigEm247 reports that Texas A&M co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach Marcel Yates will be defensive coordinator on Bryan Harsin’s Boise State staff.

Yates has been part of Kevin Sumlin’s staff for two seasons. He played his college ball at Boise and was defensive backs at his alma mater for nine seasons from 2003-11.

New Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson announced on Monday that Kevin Higgins, the head coach at The Citadel, will be joining the Demon Deacon coaching staff.

Higgins will serve as the assistant head coach and will coach a yet to be determined position on offense.

“I am extremely excited that Kevin Higgins has accepted our offer to join our football staff at Wake Forest,” said Clawson. “Kevin has wealth of football knowledge gained as a head coach and also through his experience in the NFL as a quarterbacks and wide receivers coach. He will be a great addition to our staff.”

Higgins was a 99-83-1 record in 16 years as a head coach. He was the head coach for seven seasons at Lehigh from 1994-2000, leading the Mountain Hawks to 56-25-1 record and three appearances in the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs.

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The Rumor Mill :: College Football Coaching News and Rumors – Tuesday, Dec. 3

West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck issued a statement reaffirming his support of head coach Dana Holgorsen.

West Virginia AD Oliver Luck (AP Photo)

West Virginia A,D. Oliver Luck says he believes in Dana Holgorsen. (Photo: AP)

In the statement, Luck said, “I strongly believe in our coaching staff, including the work that our strength and conditioning staff is doing. In my opinion, continuity is the key ingredient that will bring our football program back to the high level that Mountaineer fans expect.”

In reality, there are 11.3 million reasons that Holgorsen’s job is safe — as in the amount it would cost the school to buy out his contract. Holgorsen should get his agent a nice Christmas present this year.

Miami (Ohio) has hired Notre Dame offensive coordinator Chuck Martin as head coach.

Penn State coach Bill O’Brien has fired longtime linebackers coach Ron Vanderlinden and second-year quarterbacks coach Charlie Fisher, multiple sources confirmed to Lions247.

GatorBait.net reports that while former USC coach Lane Kiffin had a strong interest in the Florida offensive coordinator job at, but says that the Gators are unlikely to hire him. Mike Mularkey, Clay Helton and Blake Anderson are among the names we continue to hear. Arizona State’s Mike Norvell and UCLA’s Noel Mazzone are other names being mentioned.

According to AP writer Mark Long, Muschamp plans to scrap the pro-style system and switch to up-tempo an offense in 2014.

Wake Forest’s Jim Grobe has resigned.

Sources tell us Ball State’s Pete Lembo, Rice’s David Bailiff, Stanford defensive coordinator Derek Mason and Tulane’s Curtis Johnson could be candidates for the job.

Multiple sources feel it’s likely June Jones will either leave SMU on his own accord or be fired. The national media is starting to report some chatter as well.

Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris and Sam Houston State head coach Willie Fritz are expected to be among the candidates to fill the job should it open.

Sources tell us that Hawaii head coach Norm Chow is weary of the job already and that the school might be happy for him to move along. There are strong rumors June Jones could return.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports that Tulane athletic director Rick Dickson “has worked with the Tulane Board to reconfigure football coach Curtis Johnson’s contract, as well as those of his assistants.”

Auburn’s Jay Jacobs plans a raise for Gus Malzahn.

Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon says that Brady Hoke will lead the program “well into the future.” We assume that means he’s in no danger of losing his job (not that we ever thought he was).

Hoke says he has no plans to make any staff changes, even though many think he should.

According to the Tampa Tribune’s Joey Johnston, “USF coach Willie Taggart says he doesn’t anticipate any changes to his coaching staff.”

RealDawg reports that Washington athletic director Scott Woodward was “blindsided” by Steve Sarkisian’s move to USC and that defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox, once thought to be next in line, is now unlikely to land the job.

Jim Mora would have been a candidate if he had wanted to be, but he reports indicate that he has agreed to a six year extension to stay at UCLA. Mizzou’s Gary Pinkel and Alabama offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier are also rumored to be strong candidates, along with Boise State’s Chris Petersen and Vandy’s James Franklin.

The Seattle Times reports that Sarkisian’s buyout of $1.5 million is due within 30 days. the Times also reports that Wilcox would owe “$1 million, according to his contract. That penalty is triggered only if Wilcox leaves early ‘to take a position at another Pac 12 school, with the exception of Head Coach.'”

Huskies defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi would owe $410,000 if he were to leave.

Sports Radio KJR reports that Wilcox is headed to USC with Sarkisian.

Sources tell us that a loss to South Florida this weekend could mean the end of Kyle Flood’s tenure at Rutgers.

Western Kentucky’s Bobby Petrino says he won’t “deal with speculation” when asked if he was a candidate for other jobs.

Air Force’s Troy Calhoun is keeping quiet on possible staff changes.

We continue to hear that Florida International’s Ron Turner could go back to the NFL.

UNLV has given Bobby Hauck an extension.

At USC, Ed Orgeron has resigned and offensive coordinator Clay Helton will coach the Trojans bowl game.

Virginia athletic director Craig Littlepage has again voiced his support for his embattled head football coach.

“I firmly believe that Mike London is going to be successful here at the University of Virginia,” Littlepage said.

In other words, London and his big buyout are safe for another year.

Sources tell us that Nebraska’s Bo Pelini still might not be 100% safe.

An ugly bowl performance could make things dicey. In other words, nothing is certain. He probably makes it, but this is still one to watch.

ESPN reports that Pelini will have to pay for his latest rant:

“The Big Ten Conference on Monday issued a public reprimand of the Cornhuskers’ head coach and fined the university $10,000 for Pelini’s comments about the officiating in a loss to Iowa last week. University spokeswoman Chris Anderson said the money will come out of Pelini’s compensation.”

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Bret Bielema has a problem with Auburn's game film

Arkansas coach Bret Bielema says that Auburn isn’t playing fair when it comes to game tape.

Arkansas coach Bret Bielema (Photo: AP)“There are just some clips that haven’t — shall we say, the TV copy doesn’t match the film copy,” Bielema told reporters Monday. “And it’s something we have kind of been aware of now for the last week and half in getting our preparation.

“So we can use other film and stuff like that to make sure we are getting the full picture.”

The missing clips Bielema is referring to involve Auburn’s “swinging gate” formation used on extra points. The Tigers used the formation on extra points to convert two-point conversions early in the season.

Bielema said the Arkansas staff was not aware of the formation until it compared TV and game footage.

“So, if I hadn’t watched the TV copy, or if our guys hadn’t had a the time to go back and review, we would have never known that to happen,” Bielema said. “I’m sure it’s a glitch. I know Gus stands for everything that’s right and (has) great faith in doing things right. So I’m sure it’s just a glitch that they’ll get to the bottom of.”

Bielema brought up the matter unprompted by reporters, and, as an al.com report pointed out, he appears to have violated an SEC rule by doing so.

“If teams believe violations of the video exchange policies have occurred, it should be reported immediately to the SEC supervisor of officials and not be discussed in the media,” according to the rule in the SEC’s bylaws.

This isn’t Bielema’s first issue involving game film. Last season at Wisconsin, he refused to share film with Oregon State because the Beavers’ film of their season opener was lost due to a hurricane.

For its part, the SEC office considers any discussions concerning film discrepancies confidential and will not comment publicly, but a league source told al.com that it did not have a major issue with the film discrepancy.

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The Rumor Mill :: College Football Coaching News and Rumors – Friday, Oct. 25

Could Auburn play in the National Championship Game?

First-year Auburn coach Gus Malzahn has his team believing.

First-year Auburn coach Gus Malzahn has his team believing.

While it may seem far fetched, at least one former major college coach thinks it’s a distinct possibility.

“The way things falling out, Auburn could end up playing for the whole thing,” the coach told one member of the Rumor Mill staff today.

I laughed at first but after giving it’s some thought, it’s not as out there as you might think.

The Tigers control their own destiny, and their two toughest remaining games — Georgia and Alabama — are both at home. A win over Georgia doesn’t nearly as out of reach as it did a month ago, and while Alabama is, well, Alabama, Gus Malzhan’s offenses have caused their share of problems for Nick Saban.

The Auburn players apparently don’t think it’s crazy, either.

“I think we can win it all. You know?” defensive end Dee Ford said earlier this week. “There’s no reason to say that we can’t. We said we wanted to have the biggest turnaround in college football. Why not win it all?”

Still, a road win over a Texas A&M team that is porous (to put it nicely) on defense is a long way from playing for the National Championship. This was, after all, a team that was 3-9 last season and had clearly quit competing for Gene Chizik late in the year.

The Tigers should get a win Saturday at home against Florida Atlantic, but they still have to travel to Fayetteville — a place where Auburn has historically struggled even when it has won — where they’ll face an Arkansas team that should be hungry for a big win for first-year coach Bret Bielema.

The Tigers also must also go to Knoxville to face a Tennessee Vols team that may present the biggest challenge left on the regular season schedule not named Alabama.

Regardless of whether or not Coach is right and the Tigers end up playing for the title, there’s no denying that the turnaround  Malzahn has orchestrated thus far on the Plains has been remarkable.

It will be very interesting to watch how it plays out the rest of the way to say the least.

Southern Miss now boasts the nation’s longest losing streak. 18 games. As Mississippi sportswriting legend Rick Cleveland recently pointed out, it has been 670 days since the Golden Eagles have tasted gridiron victory. It takes more than one bad season under a new coach to get that bad.

It takes a few years of bad recruiting. It takes an incompetent president and an ill equipped, ego-centric, uninformed and incompetent athletic director, a bunch of meddling boosters and a host of other factors.

Southern Miss used to play toe to toe with the Alabamas, Auburns and Nebraskas of the world. Now? The Golden Eagles are stuck in a conference with UAB, Rice, UTSA, FAU, FIU, MTSU and the like — and losing.

Meanwhile, former conference foes Tulane, East Carolina, Tulsa, SMU and others are either playing in or set to play in the revamped AAC (former Big East), while former rival Louisville is headed to the ACC.

Southern Miss currently has 23 freshmen on the two-deep depth chart. Seventeen of those are true freshmen. Of the 19 offensive linemen signed in 2009 and 2010, only four remain on the team.

Southern Miss bypassed purgatory and went straight to hell — and the Golden Eagles may be there for quite some time.

Not surprisingly, Oregon State coach Mike Riley’s name has again been mentioned in connection with the USC job. Keep in mind, Riley has turned down both USC and Alabama (his alma mater) in the past.

Has there been a guy over the past 11 seasons who has done a better job? Oregon State used to be considered the worst job in the Pac, but not anymore.

Riley has compiled a 79-54 record since he returned in Corvalis is 2003. The Beavers are off to a 6-1 start this season after an opening day loss to Eastern Michigan and a slew of injuries. The schedule gets tougher down the stretch, but Riley will likely have them in every game.

Could the Corvalis native end up back at USC after all these years? Scott Wolf of the LA Daily News reports that he asked Riley directly a couple years ago if he would ever return to USC. “You never know,” he said.

Our sources view a move as possible, but unlikely.

Dan Mullen got a much needed win over Kentucky tonight. The Bullies are now 4-3 and will need to win two more to be bowl-eligible. South Carolina, Texas A&M, Alabama, Arkansas and Ole Miss remain. Frankly, it’s hard to find two wins in that group.

As we’ve noted previously, if he goes winless with some bad losses, he could be in big trouble. Could being the operative word.

Our guess is that he wins one and returns for 2014.

How do coaches grade film after a game? Here’s some interesting insight from former Florida and Illinois coach Ron Zook via 247sports’ site AuburnUndercover:

“Everybody grades differently, but we used to always have an assignment and a technique grade for every single play. We always added a hustle grade…

The assignment: What was the player’s assignment and then the technique in which he performed that assignment? Not every player is going to be involved in every single play. If he’s lined up right, carries out the assignment and his responsibility – and does it with the correct technique and does it with hustle, then usually we are going to give him a plus.

What you’re going to do is take the number of plays that you have and divide it by the number of minus plays and come up with a grade.”

Photo credit: Todd J. Van Emst, Auburn Media Relations

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The Coaching Wire: Friday, Feb. 22, 2013

Steve Clinkscale has left Illinois to join Tommy Tuberville's Cincinnati staff. (Photo: Al Behrman/AP)

Steve Clinkscale has left Illinois to join Tommy Tuberville’s Cincinnati staff. (Photo: Al Behrman/AP)

[dropcap]I[/dropcap]llinois cornerbacks coach Steve Clinkscale is leaving to join Tommy Tuberville’s staff at Cincinnati.

The move was rumored earlier this week, but the deal was finally completed on Friday. Clinkscale joined Tim Beckman’s Illini staff in January 2012 and after spending three seasons at Toledo. He coached cornerbacks his last two years with the Rockets.

Prior to Toledo, Clinkscale spent one year at Western Carolina (2008) and seven seasons at Division II Ashland (2001-07). In his only season at Western Carolina, Clinkscale worked with the Catamount defensive backs in addition to serving as Western’s academic liaison.

Clinkscale is a native of Youngstown, Ohio. He earned $150,000 at Illinois last year.


Kotelnicki promoted to defensive coordinator at North Dakota

North Dakota head coach Chris Mussman promoted Josh Kotelnicki to defensive coordinator. He has been the team’s special teams coordinator and linebackers coach the past five seasons. Kotelnicki, who also holds the title of assistant head coach, takes over for Mike Mannausau who became UND’s Champions Club Executive Director. Kotelnicki has one prior season as a defensive coordinator at the collegiate level, serving in that post at Truman State during the 2006 season. Kotelnicki was a standout linebacker for the Fighting Sioux and a team captain on the 2001 Division II National Championship team.


Gus Malzahn adds another off-the-field staff member

Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn has added another off-the-field staff member. Eric Link, who coached tight ends the past two seasons at Montana State, will join Malzahn’s staff in an unspecified role. Link also coached the Bobcats’ special teams in 2012. This will be Link’s second stint at Auburn. He served as special teams quality control on the Tigers’ 2010 BCS National Championship team.

Link was Gene Chizik’s assistant director of football operations at Iowa State in 2007-08 and was an offensive line graduate assistant with the Cyclones in 2006. In between Iowa State and his first move to Auburn, he was offensive line coach and run game coordinator at Keller (Tex.) High School. A three-year starter at Drake, Link was a graduate assistant there working with the defensive line in 2004 and was the Bulldog’s defensive line coach in 2005.


Curt Baldus joins Coastal Carolina staff

Coastal Carolina coach Joe Moglia has hired Curt Baldus to coach specialists and assist with defense. Baldus spent the past five seasons at Nebraska as a graduate assistant (2008-10) and defensive and special teams intern (2011-12). It was the second stint with the Huskers for Baldus, who served as an offensive intern in 2006. Baldus spent the 2007 season at Buffalo, working with the offensive line, kickers and punters. He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at St. Cloud State from 2002-04.

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Bisaccia 'embarrassed' about short stint at AU

Cowboys' assistant Rich Bisaccia says that he is embarrassed by his short stint at Auburn.

Cowboys’ assistant Rich Bisaccia says that he is embarrassed by his short stint at Auburn.

[dropcap]R[/dropcap]ich Bisaccia’s stint as part of Gus Malzahn’s staff at Auburn only lasted 22 days, and Bisaccia says that’s not something he’s proud of.

Bisaccia accepted a position as Auburn’s assistant head coach, running backs coach and special teams coordinator and had begun recruiting for the Tigers when Jason Garrett convinced him to join the Dallas Cowboys’ staff.

“This is probably the most exciting time of my life in professional football, to be a part of Jason Garrett and the Dallas Cowboys organization,” Bisaccia told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram . “A little embarrassed about how it happened, about having to go through Auburn and only spending 22 days there. That’s not really my style. I’ve actually been really proud of some of the long stays I’ve had at particular places but for it to work out like this and have an opportunity like this I feel blessed in one way and certainly fortunate.”

Bisaccia coached special teams for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 2002-10. He met Garrett in 2004 when Garrett was a backup quarterback for the Bucs. Bisaccia will be reunited with Tampa coaches Monte Kiffin and Rod Marinelli in Dallas.

Bisaccia spent the past two seasons as the San Diego Chargers’ special teams coordinator and assistant head coach.

Prior to his work in the NFL, Bisaccia coached at Ole Miss, Clemson and South Carolina.

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Signing Day Winner: Rodney Garner, Auburn

Head coaches may get the glory at the press conferences, but its the assistant coaches whose year-round grind that builds the relationships that ultimately make National Signing Day either a success or failure. Today, we’re recognizing some assistants whose hard work paid off with huge Signing Day hauls.-CoachScoop (Note: These profiles are focused on assistants who had particular success on National Signing Day. We’ll release our ranking of the naton’s top recruiters later this week.)

Auburn assistant Rodney Garner was one of Signing Day's big winners. (Photo: Albert Cesare/Opelika-Auburn News)

Auburn assistant Rodney Garner was one of Signing Day’s big winners. (Photo: Albert Cesare/Opelika-Auburn News)

[dropcap]W[/dropcap]hen Rodney Garner left Georgia to join Gus Malzahn’s staff at Auburn, lots of Bulldog fans said there was nothing to worry about. The 46-year old Garner was getting long in the tooth and had lost the energy that made him one of the nation’s elite recruiters for more than two decades, they said.

On Signing Day, Garner showed everyone just how wrong they were.

Garner hauled in five-star defensive tackle Montravius Adams (6-4, 310) from Dooly County High in Vienna, Ga. – beating his former school – and flipped consensus four-star defensive end Elijah Daniel (6-4, 250) from Ole Miss.

Adams is the nation’s No. 10 recruit according to the 247Composite rankings, which averages rankings across the major recruiting services. Auburn was in great position to land Adams before the Tigers’ 3-9 season and the firing of the entire coaching staff. With the turmoil at Auburn, Clemson and Georgia then pulled way out front, and in recent weeks, it looked like the Bulldogs were the favorite.

Enter Garner, who had developed a strong relationship with Adams when he was at Georgia. After an official visit to Auburn last weekend, the Tigers were firmly back in the mix, and were ultimately able to land him on Signing Day.

Daniel is the nation’s No. 50 recruit in the 247Composite. Daniel was born in Alabama and moved to Indiana in the third grade, and took a national approach to recruiting before focusing his sights on the SEC. He took official visits to Marshall (where his brother Armonze plays), Ole Miss and Arizona State before committing to the Rebels.

Daniel wasn’t even mentioned as a possibility for Auburn before Garner’s arrival, but Garner was relentless in working to get an official visit, and he ultimately dropped a planned visit to Florida and went to Auburn the final weekend before Signing Day.

That hard work paid off for Garner and the Tigers on Wednesday when Daniel spurned his pledge to the Rebels and inked with Auburn.

Garner also played a key role in Auburn landing five-star defensive end Carl Lawson, the nation’s No. 21-ranked prospect. Lawson committed to Auburn early in the process, but like most of the Tiger commits, he began to look around following the coaching staff’s departure.

Since Georgia chose not recruit the 6-foot-3, 245-pound Alpharetta, Ga. product until late in the process, Garner’s hiring was initially thought to be a liability with Lawson, but Garner worked hard to mend fences with Lawson and his family, and the Tigers were able to hang on. Lawson re-affirmed his commitment to the Tigers on Monday.

Even though Signing Day has passed, Garner’s impact on the 2013 class could be bigger still. He is lead recruiter for four-star defensive tackle Toby Johnson (6-4, 305) of Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College. Johnson, who visited Auburn officially last weekend, will go to Mississippi State next weekend before announcing his decision on Feb. 19.

Auburn’s class is currently ranked No. 10 by Rivals.com. It began the day No. 13.

[colored_box color=”grey”]Talk about Rodney Garner’s Signing Day victories in The Inside Scoop.[/colored_box]

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