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The Rumor Mill :: College Football Coaching News and Rumors – Tuesday, Jan. 14

It looks like Stanford defensive coordinator Derek Mason has emerged as the favorite to replace James Franklin at Vanderbilt.

Stanford defensive coordinator Derek Mason (Photo: Nick Ut, AP)

Stanford defensive coordinator Derek Mason (Photo: Nick Ut, AP)

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.

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Petrino to be named Louisville coach Thursday

The stage is set for Bobby Petrino’s return to Louisville.

Western Kentucky coach Bobby Petrino will be named the new Louisville head football coach on Thursday. (Photo: Hans Pennink, AP)The former Cardinals coach is expected to officially be named as Charlie Strong’s successor at a Thursday press conference.

The school told media Wednesday that the athletic department’s Personnel Committee would a hold a special meeting in the athletic director’s suite of the football stadium. A press conference is scheduled roughly a half hour later.

Petrino landed at Western Kentucky after scandal cost him his job at Arkansas in 2012. Following a motorcycle accident that spring, it was discovered that Petrino was riding with his mistress, Jessica Dorrell, who he had hired for a position within the football program.

When Petrino’s personal and professional relationships with Dorrell became public, Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long abruptly fired Petrino, despite a 34-17 record.

Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich interviewed seven candidates for the job, including Colorado State coach Jim McElwain, Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi, Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris, Stanford defensive coordinator Derek Mason, and Strong’s two coordinators – Vance Bedford and Shawn Watson.

Petrino was coach of the Cardinals from 2003-06, and compiled a 41-9 record.

Photo: Hans Pennink, AP

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