James Franklin

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The Rumor Mill :: College Football Coaching News and Rumors – Tuesday, Dec. 17

Vanderbilt’s James Franklin was asked about Texas head coaching job on Monday. Naturally, Franklin didn’t exactly deny interest.

Could Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin become a candidate for the Texas job? (Photo: Mark Humphrey, AP)“Really excited about the program-development period that we’re in right now and working with these young guys,” Franklin told the Tennessean. “Really excited about playing Houston. We’ve watched them on film. I think they’re really talented. I think it’s going to be a challenge for us. That’s what our focus is.

“Any of those other things, you know, we don’t talk about that are outside of our area of control or focus or concern. We’re focused on getting better as an organization and then getting ready for Houston.”

In other words, he’d love to have the job, but realizes he’s not in the top tier, but hopes to get a shot to convince the Longhorns he should be.

Brian Davis reports Arizona State coach Todd Graham is not a candidate at Texas.

Arizona State confirmed a written agreement between ASU president Michael Crow and former Sun Devils and current Texas AD Steve Patterson that he can’t hire any ASU coach.

The Detroit Free Press calls Michigan State coach and Lone Star State native Mark Dantonio a “dark horse” candidate for the Texas job.

USA Today reports that the six-year, $30 million contract Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin signed last week contains buyout provisions that would result in Sumlin being paid all of the money remaining on his contract if he is fired without cause at any point during the deal.

However, it requires him to pay only a $5 million buyout if he terminates the deal without cause before the Aggies’ last game of the 2016 season, including any bowl game.

Stanford coach David Shaw says that he’s not interested in leaving for the NFL.

Speaking of Stanford, sources tell us that Cardinal assistant Mike Sanford could be in line for the offensive coordinator job at Boise State.

Sources indicate that North Carolina offensive coordinator Blake Anderson’s interview for the Arkansas State head job went very well.

Anderson fits the profile the Red Wolves are looking for: young, energetic and an offensive mind.

We are also told Duke offensive coordinator Kurt Roper could become a serious candidate for the ASU job.

Other names linked to the job: Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee, Arkansas offensive coordinator Jim Chaney, former USC assistant Ed Orgeron, Arizona State offensive coordinator Mike Norvell and Cincinnati offensive coordinator Eddie Gran.

Should Anderson land the Arkansas State job, expect ULL offensive coordinator Jay Johnson and Texas co-offensive coordinator Darrell Wyatt to get serious consideration at UNC.

Sources indicate that Nebraska’s Tim Beck is still likely in the running to become Florida’s new offensive coordinator, as is UNC’s Anderson. There’s no guarantee Anderson would accept the job – even if he doesn’t land Arkansas State.

We’re now told UCLA’s Noel Mazzone and Arizona State’s Norvell are unlikely to make a move to Gainesville. Both are quite stable at their current positions.

Jason LaConfora reports that Penn State’s Bill O’Brien was close to taking the Eagles job a year ago and is now ready to return to the NFL.

ESPN reports that former USC coach Lane Kiffin is visiting Alabama this week to evaluate the Tide’s offense and “to share ideas and exchange ideas and [for] professional development.”

In other words, Saban feels sorry for him.

We’re told that Sam Houston State coach Wille Fritz is a serious candidate for the Bowling Green job and is scheduled to interview.

We are also told LSU offensive line coach Greg Studrawa is a in the mix. Studrawa is a graduate of Bowling Green and spent six seasons there as an assistant.

We continue to hear that Bo Pelini’s status remains quite shaky at Nebraska, and a recent report seems to support that notion.

Kirk Bohls reports that Mack Brown’s attorney, Joe Jamail, got a call from someone saying that he represented Nebraska and was seeking Mack’s interest.

“He’s not going to Nebraska,” Jamail said.

Nebraska athletic director Shawn Eichorst sent a one-word text message response to the Omaha World-Herald about the matter:

“Deny!”

Bohls also reports that Brown has TV offers on the table and “one of biggest California talent agencies” wanted to set up Mack meeting soon.

There are more changes for the TCU offensive staff.

Last week, Gary Patterson added Houston offensive coordinator Doug Meacham to his staff. This week it’s Texas Tech co-offensive coordinator and outside receivers coach Sonny Cumbie coming aboard.

Cumbie will share the co-offenisve coordinator title with Meacham. The former Texas Tech signal caller will also coach quarterbacks.

Many Red Raiders fans are scratching their heads at what appears to be a lateral move away from his alma mater, but Cumbie will no doubt get a much bigger hand in TCU’s offense than he did at Tech, where Kliff Kingsbury is the chief offensive architect.

FCS powerhouse North Dakota State wasted no time in replacing head coach Craig Bohl, who last week became head coach at Wyoming.

The Bison elevated defensive coordinator Chris Klieman to their head coaching position on Sunday. The 47-year-old Klieman, who turned down a chance to join Bohl at Wyoming, has spent three seasons at NDSU, the last two as defensive coordinator.

His units have been at the top of the FCS statistically and are allowing just 11 points per game this season.

Photo: Mark Humphrey, AP

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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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Names to watch: Washington Huskies

Steve Sarkisian’s exit to USC has left Washington searching for a new head coach.

Vanderbilt's James Franklin could be a good fit for the Huskies. (Photo: Mark Humphrey, AP)

Vanderbilt’s James Franklin could be a good fit for the Huskies. (Photo: Mark Humphrey, AP)

Though Sarkisian was only 34-29 during his time in Seattle, he inherited a program that had gone 18-53 in the six seasons prior to his arrival.

In short, Sarkisian left the program in much better shape than it was prior to his arrival.

With upgrades to Husky Stadium and other facilities, a strong alumni and solid recruiting bases, and a talent-filled roster, the Washington job is a much stronger draw than it might appear on the surface.

That in mind, here are a few early names to watch:

James Franklin (Head coach, Vanderbilt)

Though Vanderbilt claims that Franklin was never contacted by USC, he looks like a better match for Washington anyway. Franklin loves Nashville and has done a nice job both selling it for recruiting and getting the city behind the program. There’s little doubt he could do some serious damage with the city of Seattle and the Husky program at his disposal. Franklin’s turnaround with the ‘Dores has been nothing short of remarkable, and Washington appears to be a more natural fit with much higher upside than his present situation.

Jim Mora, Jr. (Head coach, UCLA)

While Mora, Jr. might seem like a stretch, he was a walk-on defensive back for the Huskies and and served as a GA there in 1984. There’s also the draw of being coach at a “football school,” which Washington is — despite some recent success on the hardwood — and something that UCLA will never be. Add the lure of being the city/state’s main college team — which, again, UCLA simply won’t ever be — and it doesn’t seem so unlikely.

Doug Nussmeier (Offensive coordinator, Alabama)

Nussmeier is a West Coast native (from of the Portland suburb of Lake Oswego), and was the Huskies’ offensive coordinator from 2009-11. After winning a national title in his first season at Alabama, Nussmeier directed a Tide offense that scored 38.8 points per game in 2013. If Washington doesn’t hire Wilcox but decides to target an up-and-coming assistant, he’s likely to get a long look.

Chris Petersen (Head coach, Boise State)

Living in Los Angeles and the USC fishbowl would be a lot of for anyone, and was almost certainly too much for Petersen given his son’s health situation. But Seattle and the UDub seems like a much more natural transition. The chatter has long been that this would be the year Petersen finally makes a move from Boise, and there simply aren’t many jobs that make more sense for Petersen and his family — both in terms of football and family — than Washington.

Gary Pinkel (Head coach, Missouri)

Pinkel is a Don James disciple and two-time Huskies assistant (first in 1976 and then again from 1979-1990), so athletic director Scott Woodward won’t have to sell hard to convince him of Washington’s potential. Despite Pinkel’s success in Columbia, Washington is a better job than Missouri and the idea of competing year in and year out in the Pac-12 is undoubtedly less stressful than the SEC. Did his time on the hot seat last year leave Pinkel with enough bad feelings to make a move westward?

Justin Wilcox (Defensive coordinator, Washington)

Though it’s been reported that Wilcox is “likely” to join Sarkisian in Pasadena, that’s only if he doesn’t land the Washington head job. Wilcox is an Oregon alum that was defensive coordinator at Tennessee in 2011-12 before joining Sarkisian’s staff. If Wilcox doesn’t get the job and winds up at USC, expect assistants and ace recruiters Peter Sirmon and Tosh Lupoi to follow.

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The Rumor Mill :: College Football Coaching News and Rumors – Monday, Dec. 2

Boise State coach Chris Petersen was in play at USC, but has reportedly withdrawn his name from the search.

Boise State coach Chris Petersen has withdrawn his name from the USC job. (Photo: AP)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.

Wyoming has fired head coach Dave Christensen. Sources tell us that Sam Houston State coach Willie Fritz is considered a serious candidate to replace him.

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

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The Rumor Mill :: College Football Coaching News and Rumors – Thursday, Nov. 21

Now that Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops has tied Barry Switzer for the school wins record, many insiders think he might be ready for a change.

It looks like Oklahoma coach  Bob Stoops will be back with the Sooners next season. (Photo: Alonzo Adams, AP)

It looks like Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops will be back with the Sooners next season. (Photo: Alonzo Adams, AP)

There was some Florida chatter a couple of weeks ago and some USC chatter before that. Will Muschamp is likely to stay in place in Gainesville and you hear a lot of other names associated with USC.

Stoops won’t leave unless it’s a place where he can win as big as he has at Oklahoma, and there aren’t many of those places. That means the odds are good he’s still coaching the Sooners in 2014.

Multiple sources believe that Vanderbilt’s James Franklin could be on the move after the season.

Franklin has been rumored to be a second tier candidate at USC. With the job he’s done with the Commodores, he’s sure to have other opportunities.

Charlie Weis’ seat at Kansas is a little cooler after beating West Virginia to end a 27-game conference losing streak. Weis probably makes it to 2014. It’s hard to see the Jayhawks dumping two consecutive coaches after only two seasons.

The heat on Hawaii coach Norm Chow continues to rise. The Warriors are now 0-9 and a winless campaign is certainly possible. It’s wait and see, but this one could pop open.

Speaking of the Mountaineers, there’s a growing chorus of calls for Dana Holgorsen’s head on a platter.

His buyout that is reportedly $11.3 million, and that’s going to be hard for West Virginia to swallow. Fact is, that buyout probably saves him, but what if he loses to 1-9 Iowa State to close the season?

As for Holgorsen, he’s clearly frustrated with the program’s facilities.

There are lots of rumors flying about Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads. However, most believe Rhoads makes it, but makes significant staff changes. Still, a loss to Kansas Saturday could damage his chances of survival.

Indiana is 4-6 with games against Ohio State and Purdue remaining. Most insiders believe Kevin Wilson will return in 2014 – if he beats the Boilermakers in the season finale. With a loss in that one, things get very interesting.

There have been rumors and reports for weeks that Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin is a serious candidate for the USC job.

We’ve heard from a couple of sources that he could be in play with the Houston Texans, should they decide to dump Gary Kubiak at season’s end. The Houston Chronicle now reports that Sumlin would be a “prime candidate.”

With Washington State on the verge of its first bowl berth since 2003, head coach Mike Leach was awarded a new contract extension that keeps his salary at $2.25 million per year and keeps him in Pullman until at least 2018.

The Cougars went 3-9 last season and are 5-5 in Leach’s second year.

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Jack Del Rio interviewed for USC job

Broncos interim coach Jack Del Rio interviewed for the USC head coaching vacancy on Nov. 1, according to multiple reports.

Denver Broncos interim coach Jack Del Rio interviewed for the USC coaching job on Nov. 1. (Photo: Gregory Bull, AP)Del Rio, who played linebacker at USC during the early 1980s, met with athletic director Pat Haden during Denver’s bye week.

Broncos GM John Elway confirmed that Haden asked permission to interview Del Rio. The interview took place one day before news surfaced that Denver head coach John Fox needed to undergo heart surgery, which elevated Del Rio to the interim job.

Del Rio was 68–71 in nine seasons as the Jacksonville Jaguars head coach.

Trojans assistant Ed Orgeron became USC’s interim coach after Lane Kifin’s firing and is a candidate to become full time coach. The former Ole Miss head coach has led USC to a 5-1 record, including a 20-17 upset win against No. 10 Stanford on Saturday night.

Other names mentioned in conjunction with the USC opening include Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin, Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton, Boise State coach Chris Petersen and Vanderbilt’s James Franklin.

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

Photo: Gregory Bull, AP

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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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