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Penn State coaching search update

Vanderbilt’s James Franklin may be the frontrunner to be the next Penn State coach, but with his NFL options still on the table, the Nittany Lions don’t appear to be done vetting candidates.

Greg Roman (left) has spent the past five seasons working for Jim Harbaugh. (Photo: AP)

Greg Roman (left) has spent the past five seasons working for Jim Harbaugh. (Photo: AP)

CBSSports.com‘s Jason La Canfora reported Wednesday that Penn State officials will interview San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman about the job.

No timeline or other details on the interview were given.

Roman has been Jim Harbaugh’s offensive coordinator the past five seasons — three with the 49ers and two at Stanford. The two seasons at Stanford are Roman’s only college coaching experience.

San Francisco faces Carolina in the divisional round of the NFL playoffs Sunday.

On Tuesday, CBSSports’ Bruce Feldman said that Vanderbilt’s Franklin had emerged as the “clear frontrunner” for the Penn State job.

Fuel was poured on the fire when word got out that Vanderbilt defensive coordinator Bob Shoop and offensive coordinator John Donovan began following Penn State commitments on Twitter.

David Williams, the man who oversees Vanderbilt athletics and Franklin’s boss, told to The Tennessean that he met with his head football coach Tuesday night, but didn’t say much else.

“I can’t shed any light on that,” Williams said. “I can only tell you that I met with James last night. I’m not going to get into details of the discussion.

“James came in yesterday from working with ESPN on the BCS Championship game and I met with him last night. I met with my football coach. I’m not going to get into details of the substance. I’ve probably already said more than I should”

Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reported Wednesday morning that the Washington Redskins still intend to interview Franklin on Thursday, and that the Cleveland Browns would likely interview Franklin as well.

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Report: Auburn's Malzahn, Vanderbilt's Franklin top candidates for Cleveland job

Auburn coach Gus Malzahn and Vanderbilt’s James Franklin are prime targets for the Cleveland Browns head coaching vacancy, according to a report from CBSSports.com’s Jason La Canfora.

Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn could be a prime candidate for the Cleveland Browns head coaching vacancy. (Photo: Dale Zanine, USA Today Sports)The Browns shocked the NFL on Monday by firing Rob Chudzinski after just one season.

According to La Canfora, team officials are “very interested” in meeting with Malzahn and Franklin as Chudzinski’s potential replacement.

The Browns are owned by Jimmy Haslam, a Knoxville, Tenn. native, University of Tennessee graduate and prominent Vols booster.

Haslam has watched the SEC success of Malzahn and Franklin very closely. Malzahn’s win over Alabama and Nick Saban – a coach Haslam and the Browns front office holds in very high regard – reportedly made a particularly strong impression.

La Canfora says the Browns are likely to hire former Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz as defensive coordinator. Schwartz was defensive coordinator for the Tennessee Titans prior to becoming the Lions coach.

The Browns have reportedly requested permission to interview Patriots offensive coordinator and Ohio native Josh McDaniels.

A pair of then-college coaches – Chip Kelly and Bill O’Brien – were top candidates in Cleveland a year ago before Chudzinski was hired. Kelly’s success in Philadelphia this season likely adds to Malzahn’s allure.

McDaniels, Malzahn, Franklin and Schwartz are all represented by Memphis agent Jimmy Sexton.

(Photo: Dale Zanine, USA Today Sports)

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