Here’s what you need to know and what’s really important after two weeks of college football.
Orangebloods.com reports that former Super Bowl champion head coach and current ESPN analyst Jon Gruden is open to hearing from the Texas athletic department about its football head coaching vacancy.
Our sources confirm that report is true. Texas’ interest in Gruden is unknown.
The Gainesville Sun’s Pat Dooley reports that Charlie Strong would not be interested in the Texas job, but our sources indicate that’s not necessarily so.
On the record, Strong gave the typical “coach speak” response.
“I don’t even think about it,” he told the Louisville Courier-Journal. “I don’t even worry about it. I have a good job here. … The only thing I can control is what’s happening right here.”
There are lots of rumors that Arizona State head coach Todd Graham could be a backup candidate at Texas — despite a legal agreement AD Steve Patterson signed when he left Arizona State for Texas that he wouldn’t hire any ASU coaches.
The guess is the two sides could come up with some sort of compensation for Graham should the ‘Horns get that far. We doubt they do.
Ex-Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe told CBS Charlotte that he’d be interested in Army job.
“Absolutely, mainly because I love the academies,” Grobe said. “I spent eleven years at the Air Force Academy with Fisher DeBerry and those kids are in my heart. I have not talked to them, so whether that’s something they would want, it’s certainly something I’m interested in.”
Sources indicate former USC offensive coordinator Clay Helton has emerged as a very strong candidate to replace the fired Brent Pease at Florida. We’re told head coach Will Muschamp is getting a lot of “not interested” as he calls around.
The Newark Star-Ledger reports that Rutgers coach Kyle Flood filled one of the three vacancies on his staff today, naming 34-year coaching veteran Mitch Browning as the team’s new offensive line coach.
Arizona State announced Wednesday morning it has promoted offensive coordinator Mike Norvell to role of Deputy Head Coach.
Sources indicate Norvell had been a top target to be the new offensive coordinator at Florida.
Arkansas State is interviewing a whole slew of candidates, so nobody seems to know where the search will end. Sources indicate they feel really good about Arizona State’s Norvell and UNC’s Blake Anderson.
CBSSports.com’s Bruce Feldman reports that Red Wolves officials spoke to Butch Davis but that he was not interested.
New UConn head coach Bob Diaco confirmed to the Hartford Courant that only offensive line coach Mike Foley had been retained.
Mike Szvetitz of the Opelika-Auburn News reports that other than the initial terms of Auburn coach Gus Malzhan’s new contract extension, no other details have been finalized – including the buyout.
Arkansas coach Brett Bielema isn’t in any hurry to hire a defensive line coach to replace Charlie Partridge, who left to be the head coach at FAU.
“I have half a dozen names that have come across my desk in the last 48 hours that are very intriguing that I’m definitely researching,” he told ArkansasNews.com. “I probably won’t bring anybody in until after the first of the year.
“I might talk to about half a dozen guys by phone, kind of off the record, and see where it’s at.”
Former Wake Forest defensive coordinator Brian Knorr joined the Air Force coaching staff on a retreat Tuesday and the is in talks to join the Falcons as a defensive assistant.
New Miami (Ohio) coach Chuck Martin has announced three additions to his coaching staff: Co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach George Barnett, co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Eric Koehler and tight ends coach Pat Welsh.
Barnett and Koehler were at Illinois State last season while Welsh was a GA at Notre Dame.
Illinois coach Tim Beckman announced that offensive coordinator Bill Cubit has agreed to a one-year contract extension that includes an increase in annual salary to $500,000 per year and keeps him on the Fighting Illini sideline through the 2015 season.
GigEm247 reports that Texas A&M co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach Marcel Yates will be defensive coordinator on Bryan Harsin’s Boise State staff.
Yates has been part of Kevin Sumlin’s staff for two seasons. He played his college ball at Boise and was defensive backs at his alma mater for nine seasons from 2003-11.
New Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson announced on Monday that Kevin Higgins, the head coach at The Citadel, will be joining the Demon Deacon coaching staff.
Higgins will serve as the assistant head coach and will coach a yet to be determined position on offense.
“I am extremely excited that Kevin Higgins has accepted our offer to join our football staff at Wake Forest,” said Clawson. “Kevin has wealth of football knowledge gained as a head coach and also through his experience in the NFL as a quarterbacks and wide receivers coach. He will be a great addition to our staff.”
Higgins was a 99-83-1 record in 16 years as a head coach. He was the head coach for seven seasons at Lehigh from 1994-2000, leading the Mountain Hawks to 56-25-1 record and three appearances in the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs.
It was just a matter of time before Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi’s name started being mentioned for this year’s head coach openings.
Jeremy Fowler of CBS Sports reports that UConn has requested an interview Narduzzi about the Huskies’ coaching vacancy.
We reported yesterday that should Texas dump Mack Brown, they could pursue some big names like Nick Saban, Jim Harbaugh or Jimbo Fisher.
Now, sources close to the situation tell us a decision on Brown is likely to drag out for a few days. Most believe Brown won’t go willingly. In other words, if Texas wants to make a change, it could be ugly.
The Orlando Sentinel reports that Florida State may still be vulnerable to losing Jimbo Fisher, even though he has agreed to a contract extension.
CBS’ Jason La Canfora reports the Redskins could pursue Baylor coach Art Briles when Mike Shanahan is officially shown the door.
The Dallas Morning News says that Briles is likely to stay in Waco.
Rumors continue to circulate that the Texans could pursue Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin.
Wake Forest has interviewed Bowling Green coach Dave Clawson. Clawson’s team won the MAC title by defeating Northern Illinois on Friday.
New Wyoming coach Craig Bohl will be paid a base salary of $750,000 a year at the start with the opportunity to earn up to $1.2 million with incentives. His contract is for five years.
CBSSports.com’s Bruce Feldman reports that Arkansas State coach Bryan Harsin is interviewing for the Boise State job today.
The Idaho Statesman reports that Broncos linebackers coach Bob Gregory will also interview for the job. Gregory and associate head coach Chris Strausser are believed to be the only two in-house candidates being considered.
Other candidates include Washington defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox, Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter and Harsin. All three have ties to Boise State.
Jon Gruden won’t pursue any NFL or college jobs and is committed to ESPN for 2014.
We’ve heard rumblings over the past several days that Rutgers coach Kyle Flood could be in trouble, and we added him to this week’s Hot Seat list.
Now, the Asbury Park Press reports the situation for Flood might be even worse than we thought. Athletics director Julie Hermann is already under investigation and most agree if she goes, so does Flood.
Flood would be owed $850,000 if he is fired before Feb. 1, 2014. Keep an eye on this one.
With Rutgers headed to the B1G, the Scarlet Knights may want to start with a clean slate… or an old one. Greg Schiano anyone?
Mack Brown is only a few wins away from passing Darrell Royal on Texas‘ all-time Texas wins list. In fact, he probably hits the mark next season – if he returns.
Even though UT megabooseter Joe Jamail says that Brown will decide when he retires, sources continue to tell us this is likely his last season in Austin.
If Brown goes, who takes his place? As you’ve no doubt heard numerous times, Alabama coach Nick Saban tops the Longhorns’ wish list. Earlier this week, Saban’s wife Terry told the Wall Street Journal that the couple intends to retire in Tuscaloosa, but the Sabans certainly aren’t above changing their minds.
If Saban does stay put, we continue to hear that Jimbo Fisher, Charlie Strong, Jon Gruden and Art Briles could all be in play.
Briles stated last week, that he “cannot envision” talking with other schools at season’s end, but sources indicate he’d still likely listen to Texas.
Another name that has surfaced is Steelers coach Mike Tomlin. Tomlin last coached in college at Cincinnati in 1999-2000, where he was on staff with Jimbo Fisher. Ian Rappaport reported a couple of weeks ago that Tomlin’s job in Pittsburgh is safe for 2014.
Sources indicate Tomlin may be ready to move on – and that he’d have a keen interest in Texas.
Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy’s name is also making the rounds, both publicly and privately. Many believe he could emerge as a prime candidate at Texas.
At Florida, the Orlando Sentinel reports that Will Muschamp will return as coach in 2014, but that there will be “significant changes” on the staff. Sources tell us the two most likely sacrifices are offensive coordinator Brent Pease and offensive line coach Tim Davis.
Pease said today he believes he deserves to return.
You may remember Davis from his off-season spat with his former boss, Nick Saban.
ESPN’s Brett McMurphy reports that FAU coach Carl Pelini was fired for not reporting conduct of staff and not for using illegal drugs. Here’s an excerpt from a letter that interim president Dennis J. Crudele sent to Pelini:
“FAU did not terminate your employment because of a finding that you used illegal drugs. Accordingly to clarify these significant points … your resignation is withdrawn and your separation is converted to a termination with cause based on our finding that you failed to timely report certain conduct of a member of your staff, as required by your contract.”
We continue to hear that Ohio State defensive coordinator Luke Fickell is a serious candidate. FAU AD Pat Chun said he would like to name the Owls’ next football coach by Dec. 8.
Stephen F. Austin has fired coach J.C. Harper.
James Madison fired head coach Mickey Mathews.
According to the Daily News-Record, “JMU might be interested in as its new coach are Oakland Raiders quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo, Arizona co-offensive coordinator Rod Smith and Virginia Tech tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator Bryan Stinespring.”
Elon has fired coach Jason Swepson. Swepson went 10-24 in three seasons.
Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin’s name is one of several that have been mentioned to replace Lane Kiffin at USC.
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
Following Saturday’s 23-20 loss to Georgia, Florida is now 4-4 on the year and this week’s Vanderbilt game looms large.
If Muschamp returns (and we expect him to), expect major staff changes on the offensive side of the ball.
Dana Holgorsen and West Virginia got a much needed win over TCU on Saturday, but his status is still shaky. Most insiders believe he is in serious danger.
With his team at 4-4, the heat on Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen is rising. The Bulldogs could easily lose three of their remaining four games – and even the Arkansas game could be considered a toss-up.
Mullen is in danger of losing his job, but some believe he might be working on an exit strategy…
His name has surfaced as a potential candidate to replace the fred Paul Pasqualoni at UConn.
Former Arkansas and Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt is also interested in the job.
At Florida Atlantic, the names we hear most are former FIU head coach and current Alabama assistant Mario Cristobal, Cincinnati offensive coordinator Eddie Gran and Miami offensive coordinator James Coley.
Other names that have surfaced for the job include Ohio State defensive coordinator Luke Fickell, Texas A&M defensive coordinator Mark Snyder, former Texas defensive coordinator Manny Diaz and ex-Florida head coach Ron Zook.
CBSSports’ Jason La Canfora reported Sunday that former Bears coach Lovie Smith interviewed for the USC job. Smith denies he interviewed and says he has zero interest in the job.
Sources tell FRM that A.D. Pat Haden reached out to Jon Gruden, but that the reception was lukewarm. We’re told Gruden could end up back in Oakland where it all began.
Back to USC… The Trojans are doing exactly what we expected — looking at coaches with NFL backgrounds. We’re also told not to rule out interim coach Ed Orgeron as a serious candidate. A lot depends on oh the Trojans finish.
Florida defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin could be a serious candidate at Miami (Ohio). We’re told the RedHawks plan to stick to the their usual MO and hire an up and comer.
The heat is rising on Jim Grobe at Wake Forest. The Deacons are 4-5 and could easily finish 4-8.
Does Nebraska coach Bo Pelini have nine lives? There was some speculation that if the Huskers lost to Northwestern on Saturday that Pelini wouldn’t have a job today.
Thanks to a Ron Kellogg III-to-Jordan Westerkamp miracle Hail Mary as time expired, Pelini is safe… at least for now.
Photo: Steve Mitchell, USA Today Sports
Former Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith has interviewed for the USC job, according to a report from CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora.
As we’ve mentioned previously, USC’s early targets are expected to be “big splash” type guys and/or those with NFL ties, and Smith fits that bill. He was let go by the Bears last season following a 10-6 season, and will likely be in the mix for NFL openings as the year goes on.
Smith’s son, who serves as his agent, denied a report last month that an interview with USC had taken place, but La Canfora cites a league source as stating that Trojans A.D. Pat Haden has spoken with Smith. USC is not commenting on the process.
As we’ve mentioned previously, former Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio has been linked to the USC opening, as has Fresno State’s Tim DeRuyter to a lesser extent.
There is lot of chatter that this could finally be the year that Jon Gruden returns to coaching, and Gruden would be Haden’s No. 1 choice. But La Canfora reports that won’t be happening, and that if Gruden does decide to return, it will be in the NFL. (As we mentioned on Thursday, we hear it could be with the Raiders.)
La Canfora also mentions Washington coach Steve Sarkisian’s name as one to watch for USC, but we consider that highly unlikely. Sarkisian has enough to worry about at UDub.
Photo: Duane Burleson, AP