Shawn Eichorst

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The Rumor Mill :: College Football Coaching News and Rumors – Tuesday, Dec. 17

Vanderbilt’s James Franklin was asked about Texas head coaching job on Monday. Naturally, Franklin didn’t exactly deny interest.

Could Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin become a candidate for the Texas job? (Photo: Mark Humphrey, AP)“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:

“Deny!”

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

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Nebraska's Bo Pelini gets defensive following 38-17 loss to Iowa

Bo Pelini went on the defensive following Nebraska’s 38-17 loss to Iowa on Friday.

Nebraska coach Bo Pelini (Photo: Doug McSchooler, AP)Pelini bristled at a question about his job status, but said he’s not concerned.

“If they want to fire me, go ahead,” Pelini told reporters following the game. “I believe in what I’ve done. I don’t apologize to you. I don’t apologize to anybody, myself or this staff.

“My record, our record since I’ve been here, speaks for itself. And this program is heading in a good direction.”

The numbers don’t exactly back him up.

With the loss, Pelini’s team finished the regular season 8-4 and 5-3 in the Big Ten. It was the Huskers’ fewest regular-season wins since 2008, his first year. Nebraska lost three home games for the first time since 2007 under Bill Callahan.

Despite a 57-24 in six seasons at Nebraska, Pelini has come under heavy fire in the wake of ugly losses to UCLA and Minnesota. An audio recording of a profanity-laden tirade against Cornhuskers fans that went public in September isn’t helping matters.

Pelini’s temper was on full display Friday, and he was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct after he protested a third-quarter pass-interference call. He didn’t mince words when asked about the call in the postgame press conference.

“I’ve never seen anything like that before,” Pelini said. “I’ve done a lot worse than that, and I saw (Iowa coach) Kirk Ferentz over on the other side acting a lot worse than I act. I didn’t see a flag come out on him.

“The bottom line is they knew they blew the call. They blew it. They blew that call over there on that third down. And everybody in the stadium knew it. They didn’t man up enough to pick that flag up.”

The question now becomes whether first-year athletic director Shawn Eichorst will decide to go in another direction. Pelini, who makes nearly $3 million a year, is under contract through 2017.

The general feeling has been that things were 50-50 with a 9-3 regular season. At 8-4, the odds probably aren’t nearly that good.

Still, the fact remains that six offensive linemen missed time with injuries, and fourth-year starting quarterback Taylor Martinez was limited to four games with a mysterious foot injury. Backup Tommy Armstrong Jr. missed the Iowa game with an ankle injury, forcing third-stringer Ron Kellogg III into action.

Pelini wouldn’t respond to questions about whether or not he had done enough to save his job.

“You know what? People are gonna say what they want to say,” he said. “I really don’t care. If they want someone — if somebody wants someone else — so be it. I’ll move on.

“I know what I know, and I believe in what we’re doing. I believe in how we’re doing it. We do it the right way here. That’s about it. That’s all you can do.”

Photo: Doug McSchooler, AP

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