Lane Kiffin

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Boise State coach Chris Petersen was in play at USC, but has reportedly withdrawn his name from the search.

Boise State coach Chris Petersen has withdrawn his name from the USC job.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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OC Brent Pease, Tim Davis out at Florida; Lane Kiffin possible replacement

Florida has fired offensive coordinator Brent Pease and offensive line coach Tim Davis.

Florida offensive coordinator Brent Pease

Florida offensive coordinator Brent Pease

Pease became the primary scapegoat for the Gators’ offensive woes, and he moves were expected. The firings were announced one day after the Gators (4-8) finished the program’s first losing season since 1979.

“I have a lot of respect for Coach Pease and Coach Davis,” coach Will Muschamp said in a statement. “They are both good football coaches and even better people.

“There have been a lot of unfortunate circumstances this year, but that is part of the game sometimes. I want to thank each of them for their contributions to the program both on and off the field.”

A Florida offense ravaged by injuries finished the season ranked 112th in total offense. The Gators managed just 279 yards in a 26-20 loss to lower-division Georgia Southern on Nov. 23 followed by 193 in the season-ending 37-7 loss to Florida State.

Both Pease, who replaced Charlie Weis prior to the 2012 season, and Davis received raises in May. Peasereceived an additional $100,000 per year while Davis was given an $25,000 a year raise.

Florida owes Pease about $1.2 million for the remaining two years on his contract.

Former USC coach Lane Kiffin is rumored to be a candidate to replace Pease.

Former Florida quarterback Kerwin Bell, now head coach at Jacksonville University, is another name that has been mentioned. Fellow ex-Gator player Mike Mularkey is also rumored to be interested in the job.

Veteran assistant Neil Callaway, now at Western Kentucky, is considered a popular pick to replace Davis as offensive line coach.

Photo: UF Sports Information

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Orgeron: 'I don't really care' that Jack Del Rio interviewed for USC job

USC’s turnaround under interim coach Ed Orgeron has been remarkable, and the former Ole Miss head coach has made no secret that he wants the job full time.

Ed Orgeron USC Trojans head coaching jobHours after Orgeron led the Trojans to an upset win over Stanford on Saturday night, word leaked that SC athletic director Pat Haden had interviewed Denver Broncos defensive coordinator and interim head coach Jack Del Rio during the team’s bye week.

Orgeron learned about Del Rio’s interview through the media, but he told reporters that it doesn’t bother him in the least.

“That’s the first that I’ve heard about that, and I really don’t care,” Orgeron told the media on Sunday. “I know (Haden) has a job to do, and I know he’s going to go out there and interview the best guys available for USC.”

The excitement Orgeron is building has certainly caught Haden’s attention.

“What Ed has done has been absolutely remarkable,” Haden said Tuesday night during a radio interview with KFWB-AM. “He is clearly in our eyesight. We understand. It’s not just the fans.

“We’re sophisticated enough and know enough about this to understand the attributes that he has, and he’s a known quantity.”

For whatever it’s worth, Orgeron has the support of his former boss.

According to the LA Daily News’ Scott Wolf, Lane Kiffin was asked by AM 710 radio who the Trojans should hire and gave Orgeron an emphatic endorsement.

“That’s easy. That’s already done. It should be Ed Orgeron.”

But what if Haden goes in a different direction? Kiffin doesn’t think Orgeron would hang around as an assistant.

“It wouldn’t work,” he said.

Kiffin also predicted that the Trojans would win their final three games.

Photo: Don Ryan, AP

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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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The Rumor Mill :: College Football Coaching News and Rumors – Tuesday, Oct. 22

It’s not exactly a secret that Bo Pelini is in trouble at Nebraska.

Nebraska coach Bo Pelini (Photo: Doug McSchooler, AP)

Things look shaky for Nebraska coach Bo Pelini.

The situation isn’t wholly about wins and losses. He has won a lot of games, but has yet to win anything of real significance. His personality has also rubbed a lot of people the wrong way, and that combination is not a good one.

Even though it was a “no brainer” in the eyes of most fans, the general consensus among the coaching fraternity is that it was hard to justify Lane Kiffin’s firing. Kiffin won 8, 10, 7 and was fired after a 3-2 start — all while on NCAA probation.

The way they see it, Kiffin’s team had 55 scholarships vs. everyone else’s 85, and USC athletics director Pat Haden loved him in August.

Haden was appealing the NCAA sanctions and complaining about the hardships the scholarship reductions have caused the same week he fires Kiffin for not winning enough games. Amongst coaches, that generated a collective “Huh?” and will likely cause at least some potential replacements to think a little longer before taking the job.

Elsewhere in the Pac-12… We’re not sure how many games Washington has to win for Steve Sarkisian to keep his job, but one thing is clear: he’s in trouble. The Huskies are 4-3 and the opening win over Boise doesn’t look so impressive anymore.

Three consecutive losses — the last two by 21 and 29 — do not bode well. Upcoming games vs. Cal and Colorado look like wins, but UCLA, Oregon State and Washington State will tell the tale, and he needs a strong finish. Seven (or fewer) regular seasons wins could get him fired.

Dana Holgorsen is in jeopardy at West Virginia. It certainly looks like he’s going to win fewer games each consecutive season. After winning 10 in 2011, the Mountaineers won seven last season and are 3-3 with a tough schedule ahead this year. Add in off-the-field and personal issues that plagued his early time in Morgantown and things don’t look good.

You can also add Mississippi State to the watch list. Though one source said earlier this week that Dan Mullen was safe, multiple others see it differently. Apparently, Mullen has rubbed some folks the wrong way and made his share of enemies in Starkville.

If that wasn’t enough, the natives are plenty restless about his team’s performance on the field. At 3-3 with road games against South Carolina and Texas A&M plus home games vs. Alabama and arch-rival Ole Miss still on the docket, there will be plenty of sleepless nights ahead for Mullen.

What’s perhaps even worse for Mullen, State fans love Mark Hudspeth, who served as the Bulldogs wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator under Mullen in 2009-10 and is currently head coach at Louisiana-Lafayette.

Hudspeth’s Ragin’ Cajuns went 9-4 each of the past two seasons and currently sit at 4-2 with a slew of probable wins on the schedule. Chances are, he’ll look like an even more enticing candidate come December.

Also keep an eye on Minnesota. Jerry Kill has done a great job, but his health may force a change there.

Photo credit: Doug McSchooler, AP

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Kiffin promotes Helton to OC; hires three

Lane Kiffin's 2013 coaching staff is complete. (Photo: Louis Sinco/LA Times)

Lane Kiffin’s 2013 coaching staff is complete. (Photo: Louis Sinco/LA Times)

[dropcap]U[/dropcap]SC’s coaching staff is set.

Lane Kiffin promoted Clay Helton to offensive coordinator and announced the hiring of three new assistants. Mike Summers will be offensive line coach, while Tommie Robinson will coach running backs and Mike Ekelar will coach linebackers.

Helton has been the Trojans’ quarterbacks coach the past three seasons. He added the passing game coordinator title in 2012.

Summers spent the past three seasons as Kentucky’s offensive line and running game coordinator. Before Kentucky, he was hired by Bobby Petrino in 2003, and coached with Petrino until 2009 through stops at Lousiville, the Atlanta Falcons and Arkansas. He accepted a position to re-join Petrino at Western Kentucky in January.

Robinson spent the past three seasons as the Arizona Cardinals’ running backs coach. He joined the Cardinals after working the previous three seasons as running backs coach at Miami (Fla.).

Ekeler spent the past two seasons on Kevin Wilson’s staff at Indiana. Before that, he was linebackers coach at Nebraska for three seasons (2008-10).

James Cregg will remain as offensive line coach working alongside Summers, while associate head coach and special teams coordinator John Baxter will add the tight ends to his coaching duties.

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Report: Indiana's Mike Ekeler will be linebackers coach at USC

According to reports, Indiana's Mike Ekeler will be the new linebackers coach at USC. (Photo: Lincoln Journal-Star)

According to reports, Indiana’s Mike Ekeler will be the new linebackers coach at USC. (Photo: Lincoln Journal-Star)

[dropcap]I[/dropcap]ndiana co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Mike Ekeler will be the linebackers coach at USC.

Gerard Martinez of USCFootball reported via Twitter that Ekeler had been offered the position and accepted.

Ekeler spent the past two seasons on Kevin Wilson’s Hoosier staff. Before that, he was linebackers coach at Nebraska for three seasons (2008-10).

Ekeler will replace Scottie Hazelton, who left in January to become defensive coordinator at Nevada.

He earned $306,600 last year at Indiana.

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