UPDATED: The Will Muschamp era at Florida is over. Who’s likely to lead the Gators next?
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
[dropcap]O[/dropcap]n Wednesday, we reported that Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham was likely headed to the NFL.
Grantham was in consideration for both of the NFL coordinator jobs open at the time, but both of those jobs went to other candidates and Grantham announced that he will return to Athens.
Chip Kelly filled the Philadelphia opening by hiring Browns’ linebackers coach Billy Davis on Wednesday. Grantham interviewed with the Saints on Thursday, but Sean Payton hired former Dallas defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, long speculated to be the leading candidate.
Following the interview, Grantham learned that Ryan was going to be the Saints’ choice, and then announced that he would return to Georgia.
“As I said Wednesday, Georgia is a great place, my family loves it here, and I do as well,” Grantham told the Athens Banner-Herald. “This is where our heart is and today I have withdrawn from consideration for the position with the Saints. I’m excited to start preparations for another season and along with the rest of our defensive staff look forward to coaching some really good returning players as well as developing some very talented newcomers.”
Grantham coached in the NFL for 11 seasons with the Colts, Cowboys, Texans and Browns before coming to Georgia. Grantham is very well regarded in NFL circles and sources indicate that he would like to coach again at the professional level.
[dropcap]I[/dropcap]t would appear that Todd Grantham has coached his last game at Georgia.
Sources close to the situation tell us that Grantham is looking to make a change, and that he is “highly likely” to be coaching in the NFL next season.
It’s been widely reported that Grantham will interview with New Orleans Saints’ head coach Sean Payton on Thursday, but the source indicated that Grantham is more likely to join Chip Kelly’s Philadelphia Eagles staff as defensive coordinator.
Speaking to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Wednesday, Grantham dodged questions about his interest either NFL job.
“You know what? I can tell you this, that my family loves it here; I like it here a lot; and this is a very special place and I think today needs to be focused on the players we’ve got here right now and trying to get back to Atlanta,” Grantham said.
Georgia head coach Mark Richt sidestepped the possibility as well.
“I know that we’ve got great coaches on our staff and every single off-season somebody’s calling me about somebody,” Richt said. “That’s just the way it works and I think it’s a good sign. That’s just the way it works. I think we have some pretty good coaches and ones people think a lot of.”
The source indicated that Richt is aware of Grantham’s desire to leave, and has a plan in place to move quickly on a replacement. No potential candidates were mentioned, however.
On Wednesday, Payton appeared on ESPN radio’s “Mike and Mike Show” and said he planned to speak to “two to four” candidates in the coming days. Payton did not mention Grantham by name, but did say that he planned to meet with former Cowboys’ defensive coordinator Rob Ryan.
[colored_box color=”grey”]Talk about it in The Inside Scoop.[/colored_box]
Appalachian State head coach Scott Satterfield has announced that Dwayne Ledford, who is in his second year as App State University’s offensive line coach, and Frank Ponce, a longtime assistant at Florida International University, will serve as the Moutaineers’ co-offensive coordinators. … Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich has hired former Arizona Cardinals defensive line coach Ron Aiken to coach the same position for the Ducks. Aiken replaces Jerry Azzinaro, who left Oregon to join former Ducks coach Chip Kelly with the Philadelphia Eagles. Aiken spent the past six seasons with the Cardinals. He coached the defensive line at Iowa for eight season (1999-2006) and spent one year as linebackers coach at San Diego State in 1998. Aiken also had stints as a defensive assistant at Texas (1997), Vanderbilt (1995-96), and New Mexico (1991-94). … Also at Oregon, Helfrich has officially announced Scott Frost offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. This has been speculated since Helfrich was hired, but Helfrich waited until after Duke’s Matt Lubick was hired as wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator (which happened on Monday) to make the announcement. Frost, the former Nebraska quarterback, has served as the Ducks wide receivers coach since 2009. Frost broke into coaching as a graduate assistant at Nebraska in 2002 before filling the same role at Kansas State in 2006. He then spent two years Northern Iowa in 2007 before joining the Oregon staff.
- Stanford: Head coach David Shaw has promoted Mike Bloomgren to offensive coordinator. Bloomgren has spent the past two seasons as run game coordinator. Former running backs coach Mike Sanford will take over Stanford’s quarterbacks and wide receivers.Replacing Sanford as running backs coach is former Cardinal quarterback Tavita Pritchard, who the last two years served as a defensive assistant and working under defensive coordinator Derek Mason.
- Arkansas State: Former Boise State defensive back Gerald Alexander confirmed via Twitter that he will be a graduate assistant at Arkansas State. Other former Broncos on Bryan Harsin’s staff include Bush Hamden (wide receivers), Jeff Pitman (Strength Coach), and Lee Marks (Assistant Strength Coach).
- Auburn: Former Arkansas State defensive line coach Kenny Ingram will join Gus Malzahn’s staff at Auburn in an off-the-field role. Ingram came to Arkansas State as interim defensive line coach to help the Red Wolves prepare for the 2012 GoDaddy.com Bowl. Prior to Arkasnsas State, Ingram coached linebackers at Memphis from 2006-09 and served as defensive coordinator during the 2009 season. He coached defensive line at Tennessee State in 2005. Ingram coached at Melrose High in Memphis between 2001-04 and is credited with returning the program to prominence. He was the head coach from 2002-04 and posted a 37-4 overall record after serving as assistant head coach and defensive coordinator from 2001-02. Ingram played defensive end at ASU from 1989-92. As we reported last week, Malzahn also hired for Arkansas State cornerbacks coach David Gunn in an off-the-field role.
- Virginia: Bruce Feldman of CBSSports.com is reporting that UVa offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Bill Lazor is leaving to join Chip Kelly’s staff with the Philadelphia Eagles. Lazor served as QB coach for the Seattle Seahawks and Washington Redskins before to coming to Virginia in 2010. UPDATE: Virginia has confirmed Lazor’s departure in a release.
- Morehead State: Rod West, who spent the past two seasons as an assistant at Texas A&M-Commerce, has been hired as the defensive backs coach and special teams coordinator at Morehead State. Prior to his stint at TAMU-Commerce, West coached at Division II schools Morehouse (2011) and was a graduate assistant at Delta State (2010). West, who was a two-year starter at Alabama State, began his coaching career in 2009 at Kentucky Christian (NAIA).
[dropcap]O[/dropcap]regon has named offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich as head coach. Helfrich replaces Chip Kelly, who last week left to become the Philadelphia Eagles coach.
The 39-year old Helfrich spent the past four seasons under Kelly’s tutelage. Though he did not have play-calling responsibility, Helfrich was considered Kelly’s right-hand man offensively and was intimately involved in game-planning.
Helfrich has strong ties to Oregon – both the state and the university.
A native of Coos Bay, Ore., Helfrich was a record-setting quarterback at Southern Oregon University, an NAIA school in Asland. After graduating from SOU in 1995, Helfrich served as Southern Oregon’s first-ever Graduate Assistant in 1996. He then moved to Austria to be player/coach for the Vienna Vikings in the winter of 1997. When Helfrich returned to the U.S., Mike Belottti offerred him the chance to became G.A. at Oregon (1997) and he jumped at the opportunity.
Following a season at Oregon, Helfrich would spend the next 11 seasons tutoring quarterbacks at the FBS (Division I) level.
At Oregon, Helfrich worked closely with then OU offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter. When Koetter was hired as head coach at Boise State in 1998, Helfrich followed to coach quarterbacks and again when Koetter was hired at Arizona State in 2001.
In 2006, Helfrich was hired by Dan Hawkins at Colorado, and served as offensive coordinator there until he joined Kelly’s staff at Oregon in 2009.