Jameis Winston had the Heisman wrapped up in 2013. He has a chance to repeat as the nation’s best player but odds are against it.
Florida State defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt has accepted the same position at Georgia, according to multiple media reports.
Todd Grantham resigned Sunday as the Bulldogs’ defensive coordinator to join Bobby Petrino’s Louisville staff.
In December 2012, Pruitt left Alabama to join Jimbo Fisher’s FSU staff. Thirteen months later, the Pruitt-led Seminoles defense played a critical role in Florida State’s 34-31 win over Auburn in the BCS National Championship.
Georgia has yet to officially announce the hire and details of the contract are not yet available, but Pruitt is expected to sign a contract worth $850,000 annually.
Prior to his only season at FSU, Pruitt spent six seasons under Nick Saban at Alabama, including the final three as defensive backs coach.
Photo: Don Juan Moore, AP
It looks like Stanford defensive coordinator Derek Mason has emerged as the favorite to replace James Franklin at Vanderbilt.
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.
Boise State coach Chris Petersen was in play at USC, but has reportedly withdrawn his name from the search.
ESPN’s Joe Schad reports that Petersen withdrew his name “after mutual interest.”
FightOn247 reported on Sunday that Ed Orgeron or Vanderbilt’s James Franklin would likely next in line should Petersen decline, while ESPN reported that the Trojans were down to Petersen and Franklin.
According to ESPN L.A.’s Arash Markazi, Franklin and Petersen have been on Pat Haden’s short list for awhile with Franklin in the lead. Markazi also reports that USC is prepared to make Orgeron the highest paid assistant and an associate head coach.
ESPN L.A. also reported that Washington coach Steve Sarkisian interviewed with Haden over the weekend, but Sarkisian says that no interview took place.
Oakland Raiders assistant and Wyoming alum Ted Gilmore is also rumored to be a candidate.
Should Fritz head to Wyoming, look for Texas co-OC Darrell Wyatt to get serious consideration to replace Fritz.
Texas A&M and head coach Kevin Sumlin have agreed to a six year deal worth $5 million per year. ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reports that Sumlin has agreed to not pursue any NFL jobs as part of his new contract.
We continue to hear Kyle Flood is in serious jeopardy at Rutgers. Flood says he’s not at all concerned with his future.
If Flood is fired between now and Feb. 1, he is owed an $850,000 buyout.
Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads announced that offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Courtney Messingham and running backs coach Kenith Pope have been let go.
We continue to hear that the situation at Texas remains very fluid. A win at Baylor and the Longhorns gain at least a share of the Big 12.
Would Texas force Mack Brown out after a 9-3 campaign and a Big 12 Championship? Most of our sources don’t think so. However, a bad loss to Baylor and it could be time to turn the page.
At TCU, multiple sources tell us to expect major changes on the offensive side of the ball.
Florida Head coach Will Muschamp fired offensive coordinator Brent Pease and offensive line coach Tim Davis.
We’ve heard all sorts of names over the past few days. Possibilities at offensive coordinator include Mike Mularkey, Lane Kiffin, Clay Helton and James Coley, among others.
Offensive line candidates are rumored to range from Neil Callaway to Stacy Searles to Joe Wickline.
New Mexico State fired defensive coordinator David Elson.
Another Ohio State assistant is rumored to be a candidate for the FAU job.
It was reported a couple of weeks ago that Buckeyes defensive coordinator Luke Fickell had interviewed for the job. At the time, Urban Meyer said he didn’t, but Fickell’s name has been hot ever since.
Now, sources indicate Buckeyes assistant head coach and running backs coach Stan Drayton could be a candidate.
FAU athletic director Pat Chun has told associates he wants to hire someone who can recruit Florida (a smart move), and Drayton has had recruiting success wherever he’s been.
Chun spent almost his entire career at Ohio State and apparently that’s all he knows. He has even enlisted Meyer and A.D. Gene Smith to assist in his search.
So, Drayton fills two requirements: He works at Ohio State and he was a Florida with Meyer. Two boxes checked. Could he be the guy?
Luke Stampini of 247Sports reported Monday morning that Western Kentucky offensive coordinator Jeff Brohm could interview for the the FAU position.
Georgia’s Mark Richt has confirmed that defensive coordinator Todd Grantham will be back next season.
Charlie Weis‘ job at Kansas is safe. Athletic director Sheahon Zenger is confident that Weis has the program moving in the right direction.
Illinois athletic director Mike Thomas tells WCIA Channel 3 TV that Tim Beckman will return next season.
UCLA has fired running backs coach Steve Broussard. Sources indicate that USC running backs coach Tommie Robinson could be on UCLA’s radar.
Photo: Otto Kitsinger, AP
Ball State’s Pete Lembo is a hot name. His Cardinals are 9-2 and won nine games last year.
We’re told Lembo could be a serious candidate at both UConn and Wake Forest.
Sources indicate that Virginia coach Mike London is likely to return in 2014.
His saving grace? An $8.06 million buyout.
It would also cost the Cavs an additional $3.12 million to dump his staff. That’d over $11 million paid to coaches not to coach. That’s unlikely to happen at a place like Virginia.
There’s a ton of chatter about Wake Forest’s Jim Grobe. Multiple sources tell us that Grobe could retire or be pushed out. The Deacons are currently 4-7.
Michigan native Jerry Glanville says he’s the man for the Eastern Michigan job. Glanville lives in Atlanta, but he’d love the opportunity to return his home state and believes the Eagles can win.
According to the Detroit Free Press, other candidates for the EMU job include former Eagles quarterback Ron Adams, ex-Michigan running back Tyrone Wheatley, now an assistant with the Buffalo Bills, former Miami (Ohio) coach Mike Haywood, and Notre Dame offensive coordinator Chuck Martin, previously with Grand Valley State.
At Georgia, there are lots of rumors flying around Athens that the Bulldogs could make some defensive staff changes.
We continue to hear that Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin is going to get looks from the NFL. It’s expected to be a big year for coaching changes in the Not-For-Long league, and the timing might be right for Sumlin to exit College Station.
We’ve been told privately some sources have told us there could be a few staff changes at Northwestern. The Chicago Sun-Times makes that sound very possible.
Akron has extended Terry Bowden’s contract. The Zips are 4-7, but that’s still the school’s most wins in five seasons.
We’re hearing varying opinions on how much trouble Nebraska’s Bo Pelini is in. After sampling several coaches this week, the consensus seems tobe that Pelini keeps his job at 9-3. If the Huskers have a meltdown against Iowa then things get a little more dicey, but for his part, Pelini says he’s not coaching for his job.
At Indiana, we continue to hear that Kevin Wilson is likely to return, but to expect major staff changes on defense. Wilson says his program is making progress.
We’re hearing that Iowa State’s Paul Rhoads will return, but again, expect a major staff shakeup. Rhoads said this week he feels his job “absolutely not” in danger.
It’s been a rough year for Georgia’s Justin Scott-Wesley.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Scott-Wesley turned himself in on an arrest warrant Thursday afternoon. He cited the night before for possession of less than an ounce of marijuana and possession/use of a drug object.
The citation was issued by a university police officer who responded to a call reporting the odor of marijuana coming from a dorm room.
Scott-Wesley reportedly consented to search his room and glass pipe and marijuana “grinder” were located in a desk drawer. No significant quantities of marijuana were found but the residue in the grinder resulted in the possession charges, according to the report.
“I’m disappointed in the news about Justin,” Bulldogs coach Mark Richt said in a statement. “We will discipline him according to our policy. We will also educate him, provide him counsel so he can learn from this, and be able to move forward in a very positive direction. I’m confident he will respond properly to the correction process.”
At the time of his injury, Scott-Wesley was second on the team with 16 receptions for 311 yards.
Photo credit: Donn Rodenroth, Macon Telegraph
Steve Spurrier went 9-4 and won the Gator Bowl in his third season at Florida. The HBC won 9 and 10 his first years.
Ron Zook went 7-4 and was fired in the middle of his third season. However, it was obvious that he had recruited great players and it’d only be a matter of time before they’d compete for championships. (Zook recruited 22 of 24 starters on Urban Meyer’s 2006 National Championship team.) Zook’s tenure ended as the Gators beat FSU in Tallahassee, something even Steve Spurrier never did.
Urban Meyer went 9-4 in his third season. That’s after winning 9 in his first and the national championship in his second.
Will Muschamp went 7-6 in his first season, 11-2 in his second and is currently 4-3 in the middle of his third. The Gators gave one away at Miami, didn’t play well at LSU and were blown out at Mizzou. With Georgia, Vandy, South Carolina, Georgia Southern and FSU remaining, it’s not out of the question that Florida could have it’s first losing season since 1979.
Sources inside the program tell us there’s a lot of division on the team and teammates beginning to point fingers. Florida AD Jeremy Foley gave Muschamp a vote of confidence earlier this week, saying his coach is “not going anywhere.” For what it’s worth, he told Ron Zook he was “in the circle” and on “on the same team” the Friday before he fired him. So, his public support for Muschamp should be taken with a grain of salt.
We talked with a number of coaches this week and they all told us the same thing. They don’t see a lot of “energy” on the sideline and they don’t see the kinds of playmakers Florida has had in the past.
Muschamp deserves another year to get it fixed — but expect staff changes if he does. The head coach gave offensive coordinator Brent Pease a half-hearted vote of confidence this week, saying “This is the same staff that came a game away from playing for national championship, OK.” Well, Greg Davis was fired at Texas four seasons after winning the national championship and one season after winning 13 games and playing for another.
Assuming Muschamp is around after this season, Foley will insist on staff changes and you can take that to the bank. Sources close to Foley tell us he has had thoughts that maybe he pulled the plug too soon on Zook — and that he seems determined to give Muschamp a longer leash.
However, if the Gators implode down the stretch, don’t be shocked to see Foley do what Foley does best: protect himself. Just ask Ron Zook.
There has been chatter around Central Florida coach George O’Leary for some time. He had a player die on his watch and the Knights landed on NCAA probation. That’s not to mention his prickly personality — he’s not exactly warm and fuzzy. But fast forward to the present and UCF could land in a BCS Bowl as winners of the new AAC.
Duke has never been to back to back bowls, but David Cutcliffe has the Blue Devils one win away from being bowl-eligible for the second consecutive year. Things may look better now with Hugh Freeze at the helm, but maybe firing him at Ole Miss one season removed from winning ten games wasn’t such a smart move after all.
After a one-year respite, there are rumblings again at Georgia. If the Bulldogs lose to Florida, watch out. One prominent coach told us today that the coach that loses that game could lose his job. Cocktails, anyone?
Photo credit: Dave Martin, AP