Urban Meyer is now 50 years old. That’s clearly something to celebrate, especially when you’ve had as many “conditions” as he’s had.
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.
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.
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
There’s certainly been no shortage of names mentioned as possible replacements for Mack Brown at Texas, and depending on who you ask, everyone seems to have a theory as to which direction the Longhorns will ultimately go.
HookEm247 reports that Texas is actively considering four candidates: Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher, Auburn’s Gus Malzahn, Ohio State’s Urban Meyer and the 49ers’ Jim Harbaugh.
While it may seem odd to think the Longhorn brass will be willing to wait on two coaches in Fisher and Malzahn who have games on Jan. 7 and Harbaugh, whose team could make a deep run in the NFL playoffs, it’s important to remember that Monday marked the opening of a recruiting dead period that runs until the end of the AFCA Convention on Jan. 15.
Still, it’s difficult to imagine a coach winning the national title and being announced as the head coach of another college team a few days later.
Both Malzahn and LSU’s Les Miles have shot down Texas rumors over the past 24 hours.
“I’m a good fit for the Auburn Tigers, that’s why I signed the contract the day before the SEC championship,” Malzahn told AuburnUndercover. “Like I said before I’m tickled to death to be here.”
The first-year Auburn coach signed a letter of agreement on a six-year contract extension Dec. 6 that will pay him $3.85 million in 2014 with a $250,000 raise each year.
Miles told The Advocate that he doesn’t want to hear his name mentioned with the Texas job.
“Oh please,” he said. “Oh please. Let’s not kick my name around.”
As far Harbaugh, NFL sources seem to think the possibility of him leaving the pros for a college job is a pipe dream. The same goes for Steelers coach Mike Tomlin.
Michael Silver reported Sunday on NFL Network’s “NFL GameDay Morning” that Harbaugh has told his superiors with the San Francisco 49ers that he’s staying with the 49ers.
Another source apparently told NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport that Rapoport has a better chance of coaching Texas next year than Harbaough. (As NFL.com points out, Rapoport doesn’t know what a zone defense is.)
A source close to Tomlin, meanwhile, told Rapoport that that Tomlin’s inclusion on the list is “absurd.”
Tomlin’s name occasionally has been rumored for college jobs, but there has been no indication that he wants to move on from his job with Pittsburgh, and he is expected to return as the Steelers coach next season.
Sources continue to to tell us not to completely rule out Nick Saban, even though he seemingly ruled himself out Sunday.
“I knew that if Mack stepped down, there would probably be an opportunity, but it wasn’t something I was interested in doing, not at this stage in my career,” Saban said.
We’d be surprised to see Saban make a jump now – especially after Sunday’s statement. Still, don’t think for a second that Texas has given up, and you can expect them to offer Saban a ton of money – even more than the $7.5 million he’s rumored to have agreed to at Alabama.
We wouldn’t rule it out completely, but we believe it to be highly unlikely he’d leave, at least at this point. But remember, this is the same guy who as the Dolphins coach said, “I’m not going to be the Alabama coach.”
Other names floating around include Mike Gundy and Chip Kelly. Both have either looming (Gundy) or past (Kelly) NCAA issues.
Kelly is on the verge of winning the NFC East with the Eagles and shot down reports linking him to the job. “I haven’t to talked to anybody,” he said Monday. “It’s just speculation. I havent spoken to anybody, nor will I speak to anybody.”
All sorts of names like Art Briles and David Shaw are also making the rounds. The bottom line is it’s early. And nobody knows where this search ends up.
If it drags into January, you can probably assume it’s one of the coaches in the BCS National Championship Game or an NFL guy.
The only other reason would be incompetence. And who could possibly think that that anyone at Texas was incompetent after the past several days?
Photo: Steve Cannon, AP
If Auburn fans were pulling hardest against Ohio State during Saturday’s Big Ten Championship Game, the Florida Gators came in a close second.
After a tumultuous final year in Gainesville, there’s no love lost between the Gators fan base and Meyer, and Florida players both past and present took to Twitter to show their excitement at the Buckeyes’ expense.
UF kicker Brad Phillips (@sirkicksalot97):
— Brad Phillips (@Sirkicksalot97) December 8, 2013
Linebacker Kent Taylor (@kenttaylor18):
— Kent Taylor (@kenttaylor18) December 8, 2013
Ex-Gator and current Miami Dolphin Jelani Jenkins (@jelanijenkins3):
Ahhh I can rest easy now #phinsup
— Jelani Jenkins (@jelanijenkins3) December 8, 2013
A couple of the most pointed tweets have since been deleted.
Florida wide receiver Quinton Dunbar (@QuintonDunbar1):
Lol lets see if Urban Meyer play sick again #UnLoyal
Gators offensive guard Jon Halapio (@Jhalapio67), who later said the tweet wasn’t directed at Meyer/Ohio State:
Boise State coach Chris Petersen was in play at USC, but has reportedly withdrawn his name from the search.
ESPN’s Joe Schad reports that Petersen withdrew his name “after mutual interest.”
FightOn247 reported on Sunday that Ed Orgeron or Vanderbilt’s James Franklin would likely next in line should Petersen decline, while ESPN reported that the Trojans were down to Petersen and Franklin.
According to ESPN L.A.’s Arash Markazi, Franklin and Petersen have been on Pat Haden’s short list for awhile with Franklin in the lead. Markazi also reports that USC is prepared to make Orgeron the highest paid assistant and an associate head coach.
ESPN L.A. also reported that Washington coach Steve Sarkisian interviewed with Haden over the weekend, but Sarkisian says that no interview took place.
Oakland Raiders assistant and Wyoming alum Ted Gilmore is also rumored to be a candidate.
Should Fritz head to Wyoming, look for Texas co-OC Darrell Wyatt to get serious consideration to replace Fritz.
Texas A&M and head coach Kevin Sumlin have agreed to a six year deal worth $5 million per year. ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reports that Sumlin has agreed to not pursue any NFL jobs as part of his new contract.
We continue to hear Kyle Flood is in serious jeopardy at Rutgers. Flood says he’s not at all concerned with his future.
If Flood is fired between now and Feb. 1, he is owed an $850,000 buyout.
Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads announced that offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Courtney Messingham and running backs coach Kenith Pope have been let go.
We continue to hear that the situation at Texas remains very fluid. A win at Baylor and the Longhorns gain at least a share of the Big 12.
Would Texas force Mack Brown out after a 9-3 campaign and a Big 12 Championship? Most of our sources don’t think so. However, a bad loss to Baylor and it could be time to turn the page.
At TCU, multiple sources tell us to expect major changes on the offensive side of the ball.
Florida Head coach Will Muschamp fired offensive coordinator Brent Pease and offensive line coach Tim Davis.
We’ve heard all sorts of names over the past few days. Possibilities at offensive coordinator include Mike Mularkey, Lane Kiffin, Clay Helton and James Coley, among others.
Offensive line candidates are rumored to range from Neil Callaway to Stacy Searles to Joe Wickline.
New Mexico State fired defensive coordinator David Elson.
Another Ohio State assistant is rumored to be a candidate for the FAU job.
It was reported a couple of weeks ago that Buckeyes defensive coordinator Luke Fickell had interviewed for the job. At the time, Urban Meyer said he didn’t, but Fickell’s name has been hot ever since.
Now, sources indicate Buckeyes assistant head coach and running backs coach Stan Drayton could be a candidate.
FAU athletic director Pat Chun has told associates he wants to hire someone who can recruit Florida (a smart move), and Drayton has had recruiting success wherever he’s been.
Chun spent almost his entire career at Ohio State and apparently that’s all he knows. He has even enlisted Meyer and A.D. Gene Smith to assist in his search.
So, Drayton fills two requirements: He works at Ohio State and he was a Florida with Meyer. Two boxes checked. Could he be the guy?
Luke Stampini of 247Sports reported Monday morning that Western Kentucky offensive coordinator Jeff Brohm could interview for the the FAU position.
Georgia’s Mark Richt has confirmed that defensive coordinator Todd Grantham will be back next season.
Charlie Weis‘ job at Kansas is safe. Athletic director Sheahon Zenger is confident that Weis has the program moving in the right direction.
Illinois athletic director Mike Thomas tells WCIA Channel 3 TV that Tim Beckman will return next season.
UCLA has fired running backs coach Steve Broussard. Sources indicate that USC running backs coach Tommie Robinson could be on UCLA’s radar.
Photo: Otto Kitsinger, AP