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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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Report: Kevin Sumlin emerges as USC's No. 1 target

Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin’s name is one of several that have been mentioned to replace Lane Kiffin at USC.

According to an LA Daily News report, Texas A&M's Kevin Sumlin has emerged as the top target to fill USC's coaching vacancy. (Photo: Dave Martin, AP)But according to Scott Wolf of the Los Angeles Daily News, not only is Sumlin a target, he’s emerged as Pat Haden’s top target.

As we mentioned in Thursday’s Rumor Mill, we’ve heard from a couple of sources that there is a growing rift between Sumlin and A&M athletic director Eric Hyman. Obviously, that’s just chatter, but if he is considering the USC job, that could be one of the reasons.

Sumlin, who makes $3.1 million a year at Texas A&M, has won 30 games the past 2 1/2 seasons at Houston and Texas A&M. According to Wolf, USC could potentially double that salary.

Haden’s search is still in the early stages, but he hopes to make a hire in December.

Most of the other names mentioned in connection with the SC job have NFL ties, including Colts offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton and Broncos interim coach Jack Del Rio. According to sources, Haden contacted Jon Gruden, but Gruden is thought to be focused on NFL jobs if he decides to return to the sideline.

Former Bears coach Lovie Smith has denied twice in the past month that he interviewed with USC.

In addition to Sumlin, other college coaches mentioned include Boise State coach Chris Petersen and Vanderbilt coach James Franklin.

Current Trojans coach Ed Orgeron will also be considered but is not expected to get the job.

Photo: Dave Martin, AP

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The Rumor Mill :: College Football Coaching News and Rumors – Thursday, Oct. 31

Pressure has eased on Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen after the Kentucky win, but there is still tons of chatter. As we’ve mentioned previously, if they make a move, expect ULL’s Mark Hudspeth to get first call.

Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen (Photo: Kerry Smith, AP)Mack Brown’s future at Texas could hinge on the Baylor game. A bad loss could spell the end – even if the Horns finish 9-3.

It’s no secret that their top target is Nick Saban. Other early names to watch include Art Briles, Jimbo Fisher, Charlie Strong and Jon Gruden.

Speaking of Gruden… This year could finally be the year he returns to coaching. However, the most likely landing spot may be his old stomping ground. There’s lots of chatter Gruden could return to the Raiders with full control over the front office.

Early names at Florida Atlantic include two first-year offensive coordinators with strong south Florida ties — Miami’s James Coley and Cincinnati’s Eddie Gran. Gran was a serious candidate when Carl Pelini was hired.

Expect staff changes at Appalachian State.

If a move is made to get rid if Dana Holgorsen at West Virginia, don’t be surprised if Rich Rod is a candidate to return home. It would definitely be interesting to watch the fan base’s reaction if that took place.

The Florida International job could open after just one year under Ron Turner.

There is major pressure building to oust Bo Pelini at Nebraska. He needs to win, badly. If he goes, former Husker quarterback and current Oregon offensive coordinator Scott Frost could be a candidate, although most think he needs a little more experience.

At USC, Jack Del Rio is still very much in the mix. Fresno State’s Tim DeRuyter is also getting some attention as a fall back option.

Most believe Pat Haden’s early targets will be bigger names and will likely have NFL experience.

At Toledo, second-year coach Matt Campbell has signed extension through the 2017 season.

Campbell was promoted from offensive coordinator when Tim Beckman took the job at Illinois. The Rockets are 14-7 under his watch, including a 5-3 record and 3-1 in the MAC this year.

There are lots of rumors that Boise State’s Chris Petersen may finally be ready to finally make a move.

Photo credit: Kerry Smith, AP

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