In fine fashion, it was announced that Alabama and USC (yes, THAT USC, not the bogus USC in the SEC) would be kicking off the 2016 season in Dallas at the Jerry-Dome. Alabama has sort of made a habit of these types of games under Saban.
The annals of college football are filled with the tales coaches profess as facts and sworn oaths, some taller than others, but all tales nonetheless. Really, what would college football be without the little white lies, half-truths, boldface lies, and misdirection of coaches? — A lot less fun. After all, this is footballrumormill.com. We exist because of these very things!
Let’s take a glance at some of the more memorable ‘coaches having difficulty with the truth’ scenarios of the recent past. We begin with Pete Carroll and whether or not he would have stayed at USC if he knew the severity of the NCAA sanctions headed to Trojan land. Carroll told the Los Angeles Times he would have.
How many footballs does Nick Saban’s contract buy? Answer—194,341 official game balls from Dick’s.
In yesterday’s Rumor Mill, we reported that Alabama defensive backs coach Greg Brown was likely to step down, and that there could be additional movement on Nick Saban’s staff.
It looks like those moves are all but official now.
ESPN reports that Brown has indeed stepped down and that defensive coordinator Kirby Smart will move from linebackers coach over to the secondary.
Kevin Steele, who spent last season as director of player personnel, will take over linebacker coaching duties from Smart, rounding out the Tide’s on-field staff.
Though he was hired prior to the 2013 season to spearhead Alabama’s off-field recruiting efforts, it was only a matter of time before he returned to an on-field role.
Prior to hiring Georgia’s Todd Grantham, Bobby Petrino offered Steele the defensive coordinator job at Louisville. But with the opportunity to move back on the field, Steele decided to remain in Tuscaloosa.
Steele was previously defensive coordinator at Clemson and Alabama, and was head coach at Baylor from 1999-2002.
The 2013 season was Brown’s only one at Alabama. He was defensive coordinator at Colorado the two prior seasons and has 15 years experience coaching in the NFL.
Returning to the secondary should be easy transition Smart, who coached there previously and played safety in college.
Smart made it clear that he wasn’t happy with Alabama’s inconsistency at cornerback in 2013.
“We are not used to that,” he told the media prior to the Sugar Bowl. “We’ve kind of always had one key guy with all the first -round, second-round corners we’ve had, we’ve always had a staple guy there, then kind of an understudy that was the other one who was an up-and-coming corner.
“Hasn’t been that way this year. It’s been frustrating.”
It looks like Stanford defensive coordinator Derek Mason has emerged as the favorite to replace James Franklin at Vanderbilt.
Multiple sources tell us that Mason is the leading candidate for the job, and CBSSports.com’s Jeremy Fowler reports an interview is scheduled.
Alabama has hired Texas assistant (and former Crimson Tide assistant) Bo Davis to coach defensive line.
Sources tell us to expect even more movement on Nick Saban’s staff. Multiple sources indicate secondary coach Greg Brown is likely to move on. We’re also told there could be one to two other changes.
SI.com’s Pete Thamel reports longtime Penn State assistant Larry Johnson could join Urban Meyer’s staff at Ohio State.
The 61-year-old Johnson, a PSU assistant since 1996, told PennLive on Monday night he met with Franklin twice and was offered the opportunity to continue as defensive line coach at Penn State.
But, after considering the offer, LJ decided to move on. He said he has not retired and plans to continue coaching.
OSU defensive line coach Mike Vrabel joined Bill O’Brien’s Texans staff.
Speaking of the Buckeyes, Adam Caplan reports should Jim Caldwell wind up getting the Lions head coaching job, he could add former Ohio State coach Jim Tressel to his offensive staff.
The Seattle Times reports Washington’s eight new assistant coaches are guaranteed a combined salary north of $3 million in their first year on Chris Petersen’s staff, making them among the highest-paid staffs in the Pac-12 Conference.
Hot names for the UAB head coaching job include Jacksonville State head coach Bill Clark, Cincinnati offensive coordinator Eddie Gran, Hoover High School head coach Josh Niblett and former Arkansas and Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt.
Texas‘ new football coach, Charlie Strong, will be paid $5 million for the 2014 season and the school will pay Strong’s $4.375 million buyout to Louisville, according to financial terms approved Monday by the university system’s board of regents.
Sources indicate offensive line coach Joe Wickline and quarterbacks coach Shawn Watson are likely to run the Longhorns’ offense together.
Horns247 reports Les Koenning Jr., Joker Phillips and Mike Groh are the three leading contenders for the wide receivers position. The receivers job is the last vacant spot on the Longhorns’ staff.
Dawgs247 reports Florida State’s Jeremy Pruitt has emerged as the leader to replace Todd Grantham as Georgia’s defensive coordinator.
DuckTerritory reports that Oregon will hire longtime assistant Don Pellum as its new defensive coordinator and that the Ducks will look to hire Philadelphia Eagles assistant Erik Chinander to fill out the staff.
As we mentioned first on Tuesday, Alabama’s Nick Saban had a backup plan when Crimson Tide offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier bolted for Michigan, and now he’s made it official.
Saban has hired former USC head coach Lane Kiffin to replace Nussmeier, according to an ESPN report.
Last month, Saban made headlines when he brought Kiffin in to share ideas with the Tide offensive staff.
“Lane is a really good offensive coach, and I’ve always had a tremendous amount of respect for him,” Saban said at the time. “Just to come in and brainstorm a little bit to get some professional ideas with our guys is a really positive thing.”
ESPN reports that Kiffin agreed to a 3-year deal, and the contract is being completed.
Kiffin, who was fired as coach at USC in September after a 62-41 loss at Arizona State, was 28-15 record in three-plus seasons with the Trojans. He went 7-6 in his only season at Tennessee and 5-15 in two seasons with the Oakland Raiders.
Prior to becoming the Raiders’ coach, Kifffin spent six seasons as an assistant at USC, the last two as the Trojans’ offensive coordinator.
Photo: Danny Moloshok, AP
There’s certainly plenty of smoke that Penn State’s Bill O’Brien is primed for a return to the NFL.
It’s been making the news rounds the past couple of weeks, and now ESPN reports that O’Brien has emerged as the overwhelming favorite to become the next coach of the Houston Texans, and the two sides are working to get a deal in place within the next week.
Lions247 reports Brooklyn (N.Y.) Abraham Lincoln five-star defensive tackle and Nittany Lions commit Thomas Holley spoke with O’Brien Saturday night regarding the ESPN report that O’Brien was in the process of working on a deal to become the Houston Texans next head coach.
“I just off the phone with him,” Holley told 247Sports Luke Stampini. “He said he isn’t going. It’s not true.”
The Houston Chronicle’s John McClain reports that Texans owner Bob McNair said the search for the team’s next head coach “isn’t over.”
“The process continues,” he said. “We have other interviews scheduled next week. It isn’t over.”
CBSSports reports Chargers offensive coordinator and former Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt will be given strong consideration for the Texans job.
Reports surfaced Friday that Washington defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox was expected to accept the same position on Steve Sarkisian’s USC staff.
Now, DuckTerritory is reporting that Oregon has targeted Wilcox to replace the longtime outgoing DC Nick Aliotti. If the Ducks miss on Wilcox, they more than likely promote John Neal to the position.
There are all sorts of rumors flying around linking Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly to the Detroit Lions job. However, it looks as if Kelly is likely to stay put.
Jets linebackers coach Brian VanGorder will become Notre Dame’s new defensive coordinator. VanGorder was defensive coordinator at Auburn, Georgia and the Atlanta Falcons.
Multiple sources tell us North Carolina assistant Walt Bell will be the new offensive coordinator at Arkansas State. He had been considered a leading candidate to take over for the departed Blake Anderson, but it looks like Bell will instead join Anderson instead.
InsideCarolina reports that Bell is receiving a two-year contract at $225,000 per year in his new position at Arkansas State, which is less than what UNC offered.
UNC head coach Larry Fedora could look to his former offensive coordinator and current Texas co-OC Darrell Wyatt as his next play caller.
Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith told the Toledo Blade there are no plans to renegotiate with head coach Urban Meyer before next season, but he knows Ohio State “will have to face that music down the road.”
At Texas, there’s a lot of smoke around Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher. If the Texas search drags until the BCSNCG, the speculation surrounding Fisher could reach a fever pitch.
Fisher hasn’t even issued a non-denial denial, saying only, “I’m going to talk about our team. That’s all I’m talking about. I ain’t getting into all the rumors.”
At some point, those rumors are likely to become a distraction for the Seminoles, who will play for the National Championship on January 6th.
The Dallas News reports Longhorns athletic director Steve Patterson has begun to focus on at least a handful of candidates including Fisher, Baylor’s Art Briles. Vanderbilt’s James Franklin and Louisville’s Charlie Strong are also considered to be in the mix.
The News also reports that Alabama’s Nick Saban is a possibility, although that may be a long shot. Other candidates could also emerge.
Horns247 reports that Fisher’s counterpart in the National Championship Game, Auburn’s Gus Malzahn, is not a candidate at Texas.
Mack Brown is contractually obligated to receive at least $500,000 annually through 2020, but Texas’ soon-to-be former head football coach is pushing for a lot more.
Don Evans, a former UT regent and one-time U.S. Secretary of Commerce, is involved with Brown’s buyout negotiations with school officials, said Joe Jamail, Brown’s attorney and Texas benefactor.
UCF head coach George O’Leary confirmed on Saturday that he has hired Paul Ferraro as the Knights new defensive coordinator.
Ferraro coached under O’Leary as a graduate assistant at Syracuse in 1983 and also coached defensive backs on O’Leary’s staff at Georgia Tech in 1999-2000.
The Gainesville Sun’s Robbie Andreu reports new Florida offensive coordinator Kurt Roper will make $600,000 a year. The length of the contract is unknown.
Sources tell us that West Virginia offensive line coach Ron Crook could be the leading candidate to take over the same job at Wake Forest.
Crook is a West Virginia native who arrived in Morgantown via Stanford prior to the 2013 season.
Photo: Gene J. Puskar, AP