The seventh week of college football means the firing season has officially begun. Sure, three coaches have already found their way to the Extinct Species List, but that’s just a warm up for what’s ahead.
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.
Vanderbilt’s James Franklin was asked about Texas head coaching job on Monday. Naturally, Franklin didn’t exactly deny interest.
“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:
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
With Bryan Harsin named head coach at his alma mater Boise State, Arkansas State defensive coordinator John Thompson has been named the Red Wolves’ interim head coach.
ASU’s last three head coaches — Ole Miss’ Hugh Freeze, Auburn’s Gus Malzhan to Auburn, and Harsin — each stayed with the school just one season before moving on to bigger and better things, which should help the school attract some interesting candidates this time around.
A couple of interesting names to keep an eye on include Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee, an Arkansas native who was with Malzahn with the Red Wolves, former USC assistant Ed Orgeron and Cincinnati offensive coordinator Eddie Gran.
Ravens assistant offensive line coach Todd Washington has been offered the USC o-line job by new Trojans coach Steve Sarkisian.
As first reported by CBS’ Bruce Feldman, Hawaii has fired defensive coordinator Thom Kaumeyer and linebackers coach Tony Tuioti.
Maryland defensive line coach Greg Gattuso has hired as head coach at Albany, according to multiple media reports.
Kate Hairopoulos of the Dallas Morning News reports that Texas A&M’s Board of Regents will hold a special conference call at 2:30 p.m. Thursday. The school’s president is seeking permission to execute a new contract with the head coach Kevin Sumlin.
Sumlin and athletic director Eric Hyman have an agreement in place for $5 million annually, up from $3.1 million per season.
Details of the contract should become available by open record request soon after details are finalized.
Iowa State offensive line coach Chris Klenakis will interview for the vacant offensive coordinator position.
Ole Miss has announced a one-year extension for Hugh Freeze. His base salary to will increase to $3 million per year. The salary pool for Freeze’s assistants will also increase by $400,000.
The offensive coordinator job at Florida remains in flux. We’re told the leading three candidates are UNC’s Blake Anderson, Arizona State’s Mike Norvell and Nebraska’s Tim Beck.
Sources indicate UCLA’s Noel Mazzone had an early interest, but decided to stay in Westwood.
Ball State offensive coordinator Rich Skrosky will be named head coach at FCS Elon.
Skrosky was an assistant at Elon from 2006-10 under former head coach Pete Lembo.
Photo: Don Ryan, AP