So Michigan got their man, but could an SEC school consider parting ways with their long time head coach? Seems hard to fathom – especially a man revered in his community and who has won 74 percent of his games.
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
Boise State coach Chris Petersen was in play at USC, but has reportedly withdrawn his name from the search.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
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
[dropcap]G[/dropcap]eorgia has only had one spring practice, but the Bulldogs have already gotten their first victory of 2013.
Bulldogs wide receivers coach Tony Ball interviewed for the running backs opening at Tennessee last week and was offered the job, but turned down the offer to remain in Athens.
Mark Richt said he was “thrilled” with the decision.
“Tony’s one of the best coaches I’ve been around,” Richt told reporters following the Bulldogs’ first spring practice on Saturday. “He’s just so meticulous in his work. He’s not taking anything for granted with these kids. He’s going to teach them the fundamentals of how to play that position from the very grassroots. Every little detail you would think of, he’s going to cover it. If you’re coachable and teachable, you’re going to get better because of Coach Ball.”
Tennessee came calling after Jay Graham left for the same position at Florida State. Butch Jones also interviewed former Chicago Bears assistant Tim Spencer and West Virginia’s Robert Gillespie. When Ball said no, Jones hired Gillespie.
Ball currently has a one-year contract and earns $210,000 a year. Graham’s salary at Tennessee was to be $225,000. Though Georgia Athletic Director Greg McGarity would not confirm that Ball will receive a salary increase, it seems likely that he will soon get a new contract and raise.
Ball came to Georgia in 2006 from Virginia Tech, where he was coaching receivers, but he coached running backs his first three years in Athens. He moved back to receivers when Richt promoted Bryan McClendon (a former Bulldog wide receiver) from graduate assistant coach to running backs coach in 2009 and moved Ball.
According to Richt, that flexibility is part of what makes him so valuable.
“I also see Tony as a guy who has a great understanding of the big picture,” he said. “I think Tony understands the running game, I think he understands the passing game and he’s got some really strong leadership qualities, too. I think he’s a guy that could be a coordinator one day somewhere. But I’m really glad he’s here.”
Ball is the third Georgia assistant coach who was seriously courted by other teams since the end of the season. Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham interviewed for the same position with the New Orleans Saints and offensive coordinator Mike Bobo was offered the same job with Virginia Tech this year.
Defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator Rodney Garner left to join Gus Malzahn’s Auburn staff in December.
While the other courtings created a stir on talk radio and message boards, Ball’s flirtation with Tennessee was much more low key.
“I don’t even know if the players knew what was going on,” Richt said. “Tony’s a very private guy. But I sure am glad he’s staying.”
[dropcap]I[/dropcap]t would appear that Todd Grantham has coached his last game at Georgia.
Sources close to the situation tell us that Grantham is looking to make a change, and that he is “highly likely” to be coaching in the NFL next season.
It’s been widely reported that Grantham will interview with New Orleans Saints’ head coach Sean Payton on Thursday, but the source indicated that Grantham is more likely to join Chip Kelly’s Philadelphia Eagles staff as defensive coordinator.
Speaking to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Wednesday, Grantham dodged questions about his interest either NFL job.
“You know what? I can tell you this, that my family loves it here; I like it here a lot; and this is a very special place and I think today needs to be focused on the players we’ve got here right now and trying to get back to Atlanta,” Grantham said.
Georgia head coach Mark Richt sidestepped the possibility as well.
“I know that we’ve got great coaches on our staff and every single off-season somebody’s calling me about somebody,” Richt said. “That’s just the way it works and I think it’s a good sign. That’s just the way it works. I think we have some pretty good coaches and ones people think a lot of.”
The source indicated that Richt is aware of Grantham’s desire to leave, and has a plan in place to move quickly on a replacement. No potential candidates were mentioned, however.
On Wednesday, Payton appeared on ESPN radio’s “Mike and Mike Show” and said he planned to speak to “two to four” candidates in the coming days. Payton did not mention Grantham by name, but did say that he planned to meet with former Cowboys’ defensive coordinator Rob Ryan.
[colored_box color=”grey”]Talk about it in The Inside Scoop.[/colored_box]