Todd Graham

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The Rumor Mill :: College Football Coaching News and Rumors – Wednesday, Dec. 18

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.

Could Jon Gruden have an interest in the Texas job? (Photo: Brian Blanco, AP)

Could Jon Gruden have an interest in the Texas job? (Photo: Brian Blanco, AP)

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.

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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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Bo Graham expected to be named Arizona State running backs coach

Arizona State coach Todd Graham is expected to name his son Bo as the Sun Devils' running backs coach. (Photo: USA Today Sports)

Todd Graham is expected to name his son Bo as Arizona State’s running backs coach. (Photo: USA Today Sports)

[dropcap]A[/dropcap]rizona State head coach Todd Graham won’t have to look far to fill the remaining spot on his staff.

Graham is expected to name his son, Bo Graham, running backs coach, according to a source.

Bo was Arizona State’s on-campus recruiting coordinator in 2012.

Todd Graham dismissed offensive line coach Bob Connelly last week. Chris Thomsen, who was hired as running backs coach in January, will coach the offensive line. He coached the offensive line at Texas Tech in 2012.

Thomsen was originally hired by Graham in December 2011 but left less than three months later to join Tommy Tuberville’s Red Raider staff staff. Graham hired Thomsen again after Tuberville went to Cincinnati.

Before that, Thomsen spent the previous seven seasons as head coach at Division II Abilene Christian. He was an offensive line coach at Central Arkansas and Abilene Christian as an assistant prior to becoming a head coach.

The younger Graham was running backs coach at Tulsa under his father in 2007-08. He was also a member of his Pittsburgh staff in 2010.

Longtime Oklahoma assistant Jackie Shipp was hired as defensive line coach earlier this month, replacing Ron West, who left for North Carolina.

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Report: Arizona State offensive line coach Bob Connelly dismissed

Arizona State offensive line coach Bob Connelly has reportedly been let go. (Photo: Dave Seibert/The Republic)

Arizona State offensive line coach Bob Connelly has reportedly been let go. (Photo: Dave Seibert/The Republic)

[dropcap]A[/dropcap]rizona State head coach Todd Graham has let go offensive line coach Bob Connelly.

Doug Haller of The Arizona Republic confirmed the news via Twitter.

According to Haller, Sun Devil assistant Chris Thomsen is the likely replacement. Thomsen was hired by Graham for the second time in January. His title had been running backs coach.

Thomsen was originally hired by Graham in December 2011 but left ASU the following February to become offensive line coach at Texas Tech, where he spent the 2012 season.

Whether Thomsen switches to the offensive line will depend on who Graham chooses to hire. He is reportedly considering both offensive line and running back candidates.

Connelly joined Graham’s staff in Dec. 2011 after spending four seasons at UTEP. He was the Miners’ offensive Line and also held the associate head coach and co-cffensive coordinator titles.

Prior to UTEP, Connelly was at UCLA for one season (2007) after four years at Alabama.

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Will ex-Oklahoma assistant Jackie Shipp join the Arizona State staff?

Ex-Oklahoma assistant Jackie Shipp is the leading candidate to join the staff at Arizona State.

Ex-Sooner Jackie Shipp (left) is the leading candidate to join the staff at Arizona State.

[dropcap]I[/dropcap]t looks like ex-Oklahoma defensive line coach Jackie Shipp won’t be out of work long.

Shipp, who was reportedly set to interview for a spot on Purdue’s staff this week, is the leading candidate for the opening at Arizona State, according to a source. Though nothing is finalized, the source says that a deal is “close” to being done.

Shipp was an original member of Bob Stoops’ Oklahoma staff hired in 1999. A standout linebacker for the Sooners from 1980-83, he was a first-round draft pick of the Miami Dolphins and spent five seasons in the NFL.

He would replace former ASU co-defensive coordinator and defensive line coach Ron West who left earlier this month for the same position at North Carolina.

Other names mentioned in connection with the Arizona State opening are West Virginia co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Keith Patterson and Memphis linebackers coach Galen Scott, who both served as assistants on Graham’s staff at Tulsa.

Patterson and Graham have a long history. The two coached together at Tulsa from 2003-05, and Patterson was named co-defensive coordinator when Graham took over as the Golden Hurricanes’ head coach in 2007. He served in that capacity until Graham left for Pitt following the 2010 season, and joined Graham for his short-lived tenure there.

Money is likely the biggest hurdle to Patterson joining the Arizona State staff, as he is set to make $351,000 next year at West Virginia. West’s salary at Arizona State was $300,000.

Scott coached under Graham at Tulsa for two seasons. In 2008, he coached linebackers and safeties and moved to cornerbacks coach in 2009. He earned $210,000 last year at Memphis.

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