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The Rumor Mill :: College Football Coaching News and Rumors – Monday, Oct. 21

Sources indicate that even if the NFL comes calling, expect Charlie Strong to stay put in college.

Sources indicate that even if the NFL comes calling, expect Charlie Strong to stay put in college.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Sunday that Louisville’s Charlie Strong and Stanford’s David Shaw have been tabbed by the NFL’s recently formed advisory panel to help to identify potential minority coaching candidates.

According to Schefter, the league “will be an upset if Strong is not a leading candidate for various NFL head coaching openings this winter.”

Not so fast.

Sources close to Strong indicate he’s inclined to stay in college — no matter what the NFL’s advisory panel suggests.

The 53-year old Strong is in his fourth season at Louisville and signed an eight-year extension worth $3.7 million per year in late January. The Cardinals are 31-15 during Strong’s tenure, including a 6-1 mark this season.

At Florida, sources in Gainesville indicate Will Muschamp is currenly not in danger of losing his job, regardless of how the Gators finish. Of course, things change quickly in college football. We do expect a staff shakeup on the offensive side.

Speaking of Florida, this was the week Ron Zook was fired in year three. Zook’s record was 20-13 overall and 14-7 in the SEC. Muschamp’s record is 22-11 overall and 13-8 in the SEC. Let that simmer for a minute…

Despite three wins in a row including a Red River Rivalry triumph over arch-rival Oklahoma, we’re told Mack Brown is still not out of the woods at Texas. An 8-4 record might not be enough, perhaps even 9-3 if that loss is a blowout to Baylor.

If the Longhorns do make a change, look for Nick Saban to get the first call. Jimbo Fisher, Art Briles and Charlie Strong are also likely to make the initial list of candidates.

Keep an eye on West Virginia, Virginia, Oklahoma State and Mississippi State. They could all open.

Eastern Michigan and UNLV are in serious jeopardy.

At USC, we’re told to keep an eye on coaches with an NFL background. Also, don’t rule out Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin.

Photo credit: Keith Srakocic, AP

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Kiffin promotes Helton to OC; hires three

Lane Kiffin's 2013 coaching staff is complete. (Photo: Louis Sinco/LA Times)

Lane Kiffin’s 2013 coaching staff is complete. (Photo: Louis Sinco/LA Times)

[dropcap]U[/dropcap]SC’s coaching staff is set.

Lane Kiffin promoted Clay Helton to offensive coordinator and announced the hiring of three new assistants. Mike Summers will be offensive line coach, while Tommie Robinson will coach running backs and Mike Ekelar will coach linebackers.

Helton has been the Trojans’ quarterbacks coach the past three seasons. He added the passing game coordinator title in 2012.

Summers spent the past three seasons as Kentucky’s offensive line and running game coordinator. Before Kentucky, he was hired by Bobby Petrino in 2003, and coached with Petrino until 2009 through stops at Lousiville, the Atlanta Falcons and Arkansas. He accepted a position to re-join Petrino at Western Kentucky in January.

Robinson spent the past three seasons as the Arizona Cardinals’ running backs coach. He joined the Cardinals after working the previous three seasons as running backs coach at Miami (Fla.).

Ekeler spent the past two seasons on Kevin Wilson’s staff at Indiana. Before that, he was linebackers coach at Nebraska for three seasons (2008-10).

James Cregg will remain as offensive line coach working alongside Summers, while associate head coach and special teams coordinator John Baxter will add the tight ends to his coaching duties.

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Report: Indiana's Mike Ekeler will be linebackers coach at USC

According to reports, Indiana's Mike Ekeler will be the new linebackers coach at USC. (Photo: Lincoln Journal-Star)

According to reports, Indiana’s Mike Ekeler will be the new linebackers coach at USC. (Photo: Lincoln Journal-Star)

[dropcap]I[/dropcap]ndiana co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Mike Ekeler will be the linebackers coach at USC.

Gerard Martinez of USCFootball reported via Twitter that Ekeler had been offered the position and accepted.

Ekeler spent the past two seasons on Kevin Wilson’s Hoosier staff. Before that, he was linebackers coach at Nebraska for three seasons (2008-10).

Ekeler will replace Scottie Hazelton, who left in January to become defensive coordinator at Nevada.

He earned $306,600 last year at Indiana.

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Report: Summers hired as USC offensive line coach

USC will hire Mike Summers as offensive line coach. (Photo: Benjamin Krain/Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)

USC will hire Mike Summers as offensive line coach. (Photo: Benjamin Krain/Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)

[dropcap]M[/dropcap]ike Summers will be hired as USC’s offensive line coach, according to Bruce Feldman of CBSSports.com.

Summers spent the past three seasons as Kentucky’s offensive line and running game coordinator. Before Kentucky, he was hired by Bobby Petrino in 2003, and coached with Petrino until 2009 through stops at Lousiville, the Atlanta Falcons and Arkansas. He accepted a position to re-join Petrino at Western Kentucky in January.

He coached alongside USC wide receivers coach Tee Martin during the 2010-11 seasons.

James Cregg, the Trojans’ offensive line coach the past three seasons, will remain on staff.

Summers made $289,700 last season with the Wildcats.

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FSU: Fisher meets with Johnson, no offer made

USC quarterbacks coach Tee Martin's name has been linked with the opening at FSU. (Photo: Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports)

Tee Martin’s name has been linked with the opening at FSU. (Photo: Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports)

[dropcap]W[/dropcap]e reported on Wednesday that Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher was meeting with ex-UCLA and San Francisco 49er offensive coordinator Mike Johnson about the FSU quarterbacks coach opening.

Johnson left Tallahassee without a job offer, and Fisher is apparently meeting with another candidate today. This would be a break Fisher’s usual protocol of meeting with one candidate before making a hire.

One name that has been linked to the job is USC quarterbacks coach Tee Martin. Randy Sanders, Martin’s quarterback coach during his playing days at Tennessee, is now running backs coach at FSU.

Florida State may have difficulty making Martin a competitive financial offer, however. USC is a private school and does not release details of assistant coach salaries, but Martin is rumored to make in the $300,000 range.

Martin turned down an opportunity to join Butch Jones‘ staff at his alma mater in January.

Former Florida State offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach James Coley left for Miami in January. He will serve as play caller on Al Golden’s staff, something that Fisher was not ready to turn over to Coley at FSU.

Fisher has not decided whether the new quarterbacks coach will also carry the offensive coordinator title, according to a source.

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Alabama or USC: Could Pat Hill be returning to the college game?

Pat Hill could be in line to return college coaching as offensive line coach at Alabama or USC. (Photo: Bryan Cole/The Collegian-Fresno State)

Pat Hill could be in line to return college coaching as offensive line coach at Alabama or USC. (Photo: Bryan Cole/The Collegian-Fresno State)

[dropcap]C[/dropcap]ould Pat Hill be returning to the college game?

It looks like a strong possibility.

Hill, the former Fresno State head coach, was fired in December 2011 after 15 seasons with the Bulldogs. He spent last season as the Atlanta Falcons’ offensive line coach.

The Falcons offensive line performed well and Hill admits he had fun coaching in the professional ranks, but sources indicate that he is itching to be a college head coach again and his best route may be a return through college.

Enter Nick Saban and Alabama, who just so happens to have a coaching history with Hill and is in need an offensive line coach following Jeff Stoutland’s departure to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Hill has tremendous respect for Saban, dating back to the early 90s when they both coached under Bill Belicheck on the Cleveland Browns’ staff. Saban and Hill were in Cleveland together from 1992-94 with Saban as defensive coordinator and Hill the offensive line and tight ends coach.

Just after Stoutland left for Philadelphia, Saban reached out to Arkansas offensive line coach Sam Pittman but was rebuffed. Sources indicate that he’s also spoken to Hill and that a deal could be currently in the works.

If nothing happens with Alabama, USC may also be a possibility. Speculation is rampant that USC is in the market for an offensive line coach, with current Trojan offensive line coach James Cregg being reassigned to tight ends coach or let go entirely.

Lane Kiffin recently tried to hire Oregon State offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh but was turned down.

Like Saban, Kiffin also has a history with Hill. Kiffin served as a GA on Hill’s staff at Fresno State in 1997-98, and hosted Hill during his first spring practice as the Trojans’ coach in 2010.

Hill recently told the Fresno Bee that he enjoyed his season in Atlanta and away from the limelight.

“I had a lot of fun, and I didn’t have to talk to the media once,” he said with a laugh.

“I’ll be here for another season, for sure.”

That was before the Alabama or USC job openings were known. Could a job the caliber of Alabama or USC be enough to change his mind?

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OC Kennedy Polamalu out at USC; Tedford a possibility?

Kennedy Polamalu is the fourth USC coach gone since the Trojans' Sun Bowl loss to Georgia Tech. (Photo: Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports)

Kennedy Polamalu is the fourth USC coach gone since the Trojans’ Sun Bowl loss to Georgia Tech. (Photo: Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports)

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he fallout from USC’s disappointing 7-6 season continues.

Multiple media outlets are reporting that Trojan offensive coordinator and running backs coach Kennedy Polamalu will not return next season.

Polamalu, who played fullback and linebacker at USC from 1982-85, is the the fourth Trojan coach to depart since the embarrassing Dec. 31 Sun Bowl loss to Georgia Tech.

Monte Kiffin, former assistant head coach for defense, resigned and is now the Dallas Cowboys’ defensive coordinator. Linebackers coach Scottie Hazelton is defensive coordinator at Nevada and secondary coach Marvin Sanders was fired.

Polamalu, who was in his second stint as a USC assistant, joined Lane Kiffin’s staff in 2010. At that time, Polamalu was set to coach his first season with the Tennessee Titans when Kiffin hired him, a move that angered then-Titans coach and USC alum Jeff Fisher and prompted a lawsuit from the Titans. From 2000-2003, Polamalu coached running backs and special teams under Paul Hackett and Pete Carroll.

USCFootball.com reported that one source said Polamalu’s departure had been in the works for the past month. He did not attend USC’s Signing Day dinner Wednesday evening.

According to Gary Klein of the Los Angeles Times, Polamalu said just days before the Sun Bowl that he had no intentions to leave.

“Until someone says, ‘Hey, I don’t want you here, you know, then I’ll maybe go and work on the academic side of the building,” he said. “It’s going to take a lot because this is where I want to be.”

Though Polamalu carried the offensive coordinator title, Kiffin maintained play calling duties. Kiffin gave Polamalu and quarterbacks coach Clay Helton added responsibility during Sun Bowl preparations, but Kiffin still called the plays.

Polamalu noted that while he would love to call the plays, he wasn’t optimistic that it would ever happen.

“I have a little personality flaw,” Polamalu said of his offensive philosophy. “I want to be real physical.”

The USCFootball.com report states that Helton may be given the offensive coordinator title. However, one source told CoachScoop that frustrated administrators are pressuring Kiffin to look outside the program for help on offense, perhaps to former Cal head coach Jeff Tedford.

Trojan players past, present and future took to Twitter to express frustration and disappointment with the decision.

Former USC running back reactions:

 

 

Current USC player reactions:

 

 

 

 

USC running back signee reactions:

 

 

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