USC Trojans

Tag Archives: USC Trojans

Report: Kevin Sumlin emerges as USC's No. 1 target

Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin’s name is one of several that have been mentioned to replace Lane Kiffin at USC.

According to an LA Daily News report, Texas A&M's Kevin Sumlin has emerged as the top target to fill USC's coaching vacancy. (Photo: Dave Martin, AP)But according to Scott Wolf of the Los Angeles Daily News, not only is Sumlin a target, he’s emerged as Pat Haden’s top target.

As we mentioned in Thursday’s Rumor Mill, we’ve heard from a couple of sources that there is a growing rift between Sumlin and A&M athletic director Eric Hyman. Obviously, that’s just chatter, but if he is considering the USC job, that could be one of the reasons.

Sumlin, who makes $3.1 million a year at Texas A&M, has won 30 games the past 2 1/2 seasons at Houston and Texas A&M. According to Wolf, USC could potentially double that salary.

Haden’s search is still in the early stages, but he hopes to make a hire in December.

Most of the other names mentioned in connection with the SC job have NFL ties, including Colts offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton and Broncos interim coach Jack Del Rio. According to sources, Haden contacted Jon Gruden, but Gruden is thought to be focused on NFL jobs if he decides to return to the sideline.

Former Bears coach Lovie Smith has denied twice in the past month that he interviewed with USC.

In addition to Sumlin, other college coaches mentioned include Boise State coach Chris Petersen and Vanderbilt coach James Franklin.

Current Trojans coach Ed Orgeron will also be considered but is not expected to get the job.

Photo: Dave Martin, AP

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The Rumor Mill :: College Football Coaching News and Rumors – Monday, Nov. 4

Following Saturday’s 23-20 loss to Georgia, Florida is now 4-4 on the year and this week’s Vanderbilt game looms large.

Florida coach Will Muschamp (Photo: Steve Mitchell, USA Today Sports)Multiple sources indicate they believe Will Muschamp is safe for 2014, at least for now. But a loss to the Commodores on Saturday would add pressure, big time.

If Muschamp returns (and we expect him to), expect major staff changes on the offensive side of the ball.

Dana Holgorsen and West Virginia got a much needed win over TCU on Saturday, but his status is still shaky. Most insiders believe he is in serious danger.

With his team at 4-4, the heat on Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen is rising. The Bulldogs could easily lose three of their remaining four games – and even the Arkansas game could be considered a toss-up.

Mullen is in danger of losing his job, but some believe he might be working on an exit strategy…

His name has surfaced as a potential candidate to replace the fred Paul Pasqualoni at UConn.

Former Arkansas and Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt is also interested in the job.

At Florida Atlantic, the names we hear most are former FIU head coach and current Alabama assistant Mario Cristobal, Cincinnati offensive coordinator Eddie Gran and Miami offensive coordinator James Coley.

Other names that have surfaced for the job include Ohio State defensive coordinator Luke Fickell, Texas A&M defensive coordinator Mark Snyder, former Texas defensive coordinator Manny Diaz and ex-Florida head coach Ron Zook.

CBSSports’ Jason La Canfora reported Sunday that former Bears coach Lovie Smith interviewed for the USC job. Smith denies he interviewed and says he has zero interest in the job.

Sources tell FRM that A.D. Pat Haden reached out to Jon Gruden, but that the reception was lukewarm. We’re told Gruden could end up back in Oakland where it all began.

Back to USC… The Trojans are doing exactly what we expected — looking at coaches with NFL backgrounds. We’re also told not to rule out interim coach Ed Orgeron as a serious candidate. A lot depends on oh the Trojans finish.

Florida defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin could be a serious candidate at Miami (Ohio). We’re told the RedHawks plan to stick to the their usual MO and hire an up and comer.

The heat is rising on Jim Grobe at Wake Forest. The Deacons are 4-5 and could easily finish 4-8.

Does Nebraska coach Bo Pelini have nine lives? There was some speculation that if the Huskers lost to Northwestern on Saturday that Pelini wouldn’t have a job today.

Thanks to a Ron Kellogg III-to-Jordan Westerkamp miracle Hail Mary as time expired, Pelini is safe… at least for now.

Photo: Steve Mitchell, USA Today Sports

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Lovie Smith denies interest in USC job (again)

Almost as fast as Jason La Canfora’s report that Lovie Smith had interviewed with USC hit the airwaves, Smith reiterated that he has, in fact, not met with the school.

Smith, according to Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer, went so far as to say he has “zero interest” in the position.

Smith’s agent, his son Matt Smith, echoed the denial via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport:

 

The truth, as is often the case in these situations, probably lies somewhere in the grey area of how you define “interview” and “talked to.”

Regardless, our sources indicate that Pat Haden has his eyes on other candidates, and all of the back and forth about Smith isn’t likely to matter much anyway.

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Report: Lovie Smith interviews for USC opening

Former Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith has interviewed for the USC job, according to a report from CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora.

Former Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith is reportedly a candidate for the USC job. (Photo: Duane Burleson, AP)

Former Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith is reportedly a candidate for the USC job.

As we’ve mentioned previously, USC’s early targets are expected to be “big splash” type guys and/or those with NFL ties, and Smith fits that bill. He was let go by the Bears last season following a 10-6 season, and will likely be in the mix for NFL openings as the year goes on.

Smith’s son, who serves as his agent, denied a report last month that an interview with USC had taken place, but La Canfora cites a league source as stating that Trojans A.D. Pat Haden has spoken with Smith. USC is not commenting on the process.

As we’ve mentioned previously, former Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio has been linked to the USC opening, as has Fresno State’s Tim DeRuyter to a lesser extent.

There is lot of chatter that this could finally be the year that Jon Gruden returns to coaching, and Gruden would be Haden’s No. 1 choice. But La Canfora reports that won’t be happening, and that if Gruden does decide to return, it will be in the NFL. (As we mentioned on Thursday, we hear it could be with the Raiders.)

La Canfora also mentions Washington coach Steve Sarkisian’s name as one to watch for USC, but we consider that highly unlikely. Sarkisian has enough to worry about at UDub.

Photo: Duane Burleson, AP

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The Rumor Mill :: College Football Coaching News and Rumors – Thursday, Oct. 31

Pressure has eased on Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen after the Kentucky win, but there is still tons of chatter. As we’ve mentioned previously, if they make a move, expect ULL’s Mark Hudspeth to get first call.

Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen (Photo: Kerry Smith, AP)Mack Brown’s future at Texas could hinge on the Baylor game. A bad loss could spell the end – even if the Horns finish 9-3.

It’s no secret that their top target is Nick Saban. Other early names to watch include Art Briles, Jimbo Fisher, Charlie Strong and Jon Gruden.

Speaking of Gruden… This year could finally be the year he returns to coaching. However, the most likely landing spot may be his old stomping ground. There’s lots of chatter Gruden could return to the Raiders with full control over the front office.

Early names at Florida Atlantic include two first-year offensive coordinators with strong south Florida ties — Miami’s James Coley and Cincinnati’s Eddie Gran. Gran was a serious candidate when Carl Pelini was hired.

Expect staff changes at Appalachian State.

If a move is made to get rid if Dana Holgorsen at West Virginia, don’t be surprised if Rich Rod is a candidate to return home. It would definitely be interesting to watch the fan base’s reaction if that took place.

The Florida International job could open after just one year under Ron Turner.

There is major pressure building to oust Bo Pelini at Nebraska. He needs to win, badly. If he goes, former Husker quarterback and current Oregon offensive coordinator Scott Frost could be a candidate, although most think he needs a little more experience.

At USC, Jack Del Rio is still very much in the mix. Fresno State’s Tim DeRuyter is also getting some attention as a fall back option.

Most believe Pat Haden’s early targets will be bigger names and will likely have NFL experience.

At Toledo, second-year coach Matt Campbell has signed extension through the 2017 season.

Campbell was promoted from offensive coordinator when Tim Beckman took the job at Illinois. The Rockets are 14-7 under his watch, including a 5-3 record and 3-1 in the MAC this year.

There are lots of rumors that Boise State’s Chris Petersen may finally be ready to finally make a move.

Photo credit: Kerry Smith, AP

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The Rumor Mill :: College Football Coaching News and Rumors – Monday, Oct. 28

It’s not exactly at shock that Bo Pelini’s Nebraska is going to lose at least four games this season (he always does), but we really didn’t expect one of them to be Minnesota.

Are there enough "Bo-lievers" to save the Nebraska coach?

Are there enough “Bo-lievers” to save the Nebraska coach?

Maybe we shouldn’t have been surprised. @GarrettGordon reports this is the fifth consecutive season a ranked Nebraska team has lost to an unranked opponent.

Pelini entered the season on the hot seat after last season’s meltdown in the B1G Championship Game when his team gave up 70 to Wisconsin.

Then, in September, an audio tape surfaced where Pelini ripped both the media and Cornhuskers’ fans after a 2011 game. The best line was reserved for the Husker faithful: “It took everything in my power to not say, ‘F— you, fans. F— all of you.’ F— ‘em.”

Nebraska can beat every opponent left on it’s schedule. The Huskers could also lose four more. More than likely, they’ll split the difference and end up with four losses just as they have in each of the past five seasons under Pelini.

We think that gets him fired.

Dana Holgorsen won ten games in his first season at West Virginia — but that was in the Big East.

In 2012, WVU moved to the Big 12 and the record dropped to 7-6. The Mountaineers are now 3-5 and could potentially lose out.

Sources tell us that 5-7 probably earns Holgorsen a pink slip. The only wild card is A.D. Oliver Luck. As we mentioned yesterday, he very well could be headed to Texas.

How does that affect Holgorsen? we don’t know yet but it’s an interesting wildcard.

Mack Brown helped his cause once again with an impressive win over TCU. The Longhorns figure to throttle both Kansas and West Virginia over the next two weeks to get to 7-2.

Then, the rubber meets the road.

Texas ends the season with Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and at Baylor.

The Baylor game could very well decide the Big 12. A Longhorns win and it’s hard to see a change. A bad loss makes the situation much more dicey.

Despite big wins in the last two, this soap opera is a long way from over.

USC wants (and needs?) to make a big splash with their hire. Mike Riley’s name was floating around last week, and Jack Del Rio was hot for awhile. So were Kevin Sumlin and James Franklin.

We think Pat Haden is likely doing due diligence on several candidates and will move quickly once the season ends to fill the position.

Virginia A.D. Craig Littlepage announced less than two weeks ago that coach Mike London would return next season, but we all now how much mid-season declarations of safety mean.

Littlepage made those statements before the Wahoos lost to Duke and Georgia Tech, bringing the losing streak to five, and UVa’s overall record to 2-6. With games against Clemson, at North Carolina and Miami, and the season finale vs. Virginia Tech remaining, winning one more to finish 3-9 may be a stretch.

Sources close to London indicate they believe the Cavs coach is safe for another season. Others aren’t so sure.

Regardless of what Littlepage said publicly, we’re told London is not out the woods. A 2-10 season almost has to bring a change, so there’s a good chance this one opens.

We’ve heard rumblings that Kansas could replace Charlie Weis after just two seasons, and those rumors are picking up steam.

The Jayhawks fired a religious fanatic after two seasons and replaced him with Satan’s brother.

Perhaps KU should try looking for someone a little more “normal”?

We told you about the hell Southern Miss is in in Friday’s Rumor Mill, and after this weekend, the Golden Eagles have now lost 19 straight. This week was a 55-14 thrashing by North Texas, on Homecoming no less…

Quick Hitters

Iowa State: We’re told, at a minimum, to expect staff changes.

North Texas: Lots of chatter here. Some think Dan McCarney could hang it up after the season.

Purdue: Look for staff changes. Possibly several.

Florida Atlantic: Expect staff changes on the defensive side of the ball.

Photo credit: Nati Harnik, AP

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The Rumor Mill :: College Football Coaching News and Rumors – Friday, Oct. 25

Could Auburn play in the National Championship Game?

First-year Auburn coach Gus Malzahn has his team believing.

First-year Auburn coach Gus Malzahn has his team believing.

While it may seem far fetched, at least one former major college coach thinks it’s a distinct possibility.

“The way things falling out, Auburn could end up playing for the whole thing,” the coach told one member of the Rumor Mill staff today.

I laughed at first but after giving it’s some thought, it’s not as out there as you might think.

The Tigers control their own destiny, and their two toughest remaining games — Georgia and Alabama — are both at home. A win over Georgia doesn’t nearly as out of reach as it did a month ago, and while Alabama is, well, Alabama, Gus Malzhan’s offenses have caused their share of problems for Nick Saban.

The Auburn players apparently don’t think it’s crazy, either.

“I think we can win it all. You know?” defensive end Dee Ford said earlier this week. “There’s no reason to say that we can’t. We said we wanted to have the biggest turnaround in college football. Why not win it all?”

Still, a road win over a Texas A&M team that is porous (to put it nicely) on defense is a long way from playing for the National Championship. This was, after all, a team that was 3-9 last season and had clearly quit competing for Gene Chizik late in the year.

The Tigers should get a win Saturday at home against Florida Atlantic, but they still have to travel to Fayetteville — a place where Auburn has historically struggled even when it has won — where they’ll face an Arkansas team that should be hungry for a big win for first-year coach Bret Bielema.

The Tigers also must also go to Knoxville to face a Tennessee Vols team that may present the biggest challenge left on the regular season schedule not named Alabama.

Regardless of whether or not Coach is right and the Tigers end up playing for the title, there’s no denying that the turnaround  Malzahn has orchestrated thus far on the Plains has been remarkable.

It will be very interesting to watch how it plays out the rest of the way to say the least.

Southern Miss now boasts the nation’s longest losing streak. 18 games. As Mississippi sportswriting legend Rick Cleveland recently pointed out, it has been 670 days since the Golden Eagles have tasted gridiron victory. It takes more than one bad season under a new coach to get that bad.

It takes a few years of bad recruiting. It takes an incompetent president and an ill equipped, ego-centric, uninformed and incompetent athletic director, a bunch of meddling boosters and a host of other factors.

Southern Miss used to play toe to toe with the Alabamas, Auburns and Nebraskas of the world. Now? The Golden Eagles are stuck in a conference with UAB, Rice, UTSA, FAU, FIU, MTSU and the like — and losing.

Meanwhile, former conference foes Tulane, East Carolina, Tulsa, SMU and others are either playing in or set to play in the revamped AAC (former Big East), while former rival Louisville is headed to the ACC.

Southern Miss currently has 23 freshmen on the two-deep depth chart. Seventeen of those are true freshmen. Of the 19 offensive linemen signed in 2009 and 2010, only four remain on the team.

Southern Miss bypassed purgatory and went straight to hell — and the Golden Eagles may be there for quite some time.

Not surprisingly, Oregon State coach Mike Riley’s name has again been mentioned in connection with the USC job. Keep in mind, Riley has turned down both USC and Alabama (his alma mater) in the past.

Has there been a guy over the past 11 seasons who has done a better job? Oregon State used to be considered the worst job in the Pac, but not anymore.

Riley has compiled a 79-54 record since he returned in Corvalis is 2003. The Beavers are off to a 6-1 start this season after an opening day loss to Eastern Michigan and a slew of injuries. The schedule gets tougher down the stretch, but Riley will likely have them in every game.

Could the Corvalis native end up back at USC after all these years? Scott Wolf of the LA Daily News reports that he asked Riley directly a couple years ago if he would ever return to USC. “You never know,” he said.

Our sources view a move as possible, but unlikely.

Dan Mullen got a much needed win over Kentucky tonight. The Bullies are now 4-3 and will need to win two more to be bowl-eligible. South Carolina, Texas A&M, Alabama, Arkansas and Ole Miss remain. Frankly, it’s hard to find two wins in that group.

As we’ve noted previously, if he goes winless with some bad losses, he could be in big trouble. Could being the operative word.

Our guess is that he wins one and returns for 2014.

How do coaches grade film after a game? Here’s some interesting insight from former Florida and Illinois coach Ron Zook via 247sports’ site AuburnUndercover:

“Everybody grades differently, but we used to always have an assignment and a technique grade for every single play. We always added a hustle grade…

The assignment: What was the player’s assignment and then the technique in which he performed that assignment? Not every player is going to be involved in every single play. If he’s lined up right, carries out the assignment and his responsibility – and does it with the correct technique and does it with hustle, then usually we are going to give him a plus.

What you’re going to do is take the number of plays that you have and divide it by the number of minus plays and come up with a grade.”

Photo credit: Todd J. Van Emst, Auburn Media Relations

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