The NCAA in all its supreme wisdom may have recently said OK to ‘all you can eat’ for student athletes, but Joker Phillips allegedly being photographed with a recruit at a restaurant during a recruiting dead period is not what they meant.
Florida has hired Duke’s Kurt Roper to replace Brent Pease as offensive coordinator.
He will remain on the Blue Devils staff for the Chick-fil-A Bowl against Texas A&M on Dec. 31.
A longtime protege of David Cutcliffe, Roper got his start in coaching at Tennessee, where he served as a graduate assistant from 1996-98. He followed Cutcliffe to Ole Miss and spent six years in Oxford as the Rebels went 44-29 with four bowl game victories.
In 2005, Roper coached the quarterbacks at Kentucky under Rich Brooks, followed by a second stint at Tennessee, as running backs coach in 2006-07. The former Rice defensive back followed Cutcliffe to Duke in 2008 and has been with him there since.
Roper has garnered a strong reputation for developing quarterbacks, including, along with Cutcliffe, mentoring Eli Manning at Ole Miss, Thaddeus Lewis, who was a two-time All-ACC selection, and Sean Renfree, a seventh-round NFL Draft choice last year.
Roper takes over from Pease, who was fired during the fallout of the program’s worst regular season finish (4-8) since 1979.
The Gators offense was riddled by injuries, and finished last in the SEC in total offense and scoring, and No. 110 nationally averaging a 4.79 yards per play.
Photo: Bob Donnan, AP
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.
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.
West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck issued a statement reaffirming his support of head coach Dana Holgorsen.
In the statement, Luck said, “I strongly believe in our coaching staff, including the work that our strength and conditioning staff is doing. In my opinion, continuity is the key ingredient that will bring our football program back to the high level that Mountaineer fans expect.”
In reality, there are 11.3 million reasons that Holgorsen’s job is safe — as in the amount it would cost the school to buy out his contract. Holgorsen should get his agent a nice Christmas present this year.
Miami (Ohio) has hired Notre Dame offensive coordinator Chuck Martin as head coach.
Penn State coach Bill O’Brien has fired longtime linebackers coach Ron Vanderlinden and second-year quarterbacks coach Charlie Fisher, multiple sources confirmed to Lions247.
GatorBait.net reports that while former USC coach Lane Kiffin had a strong interest in the Florida offensive coordinator job at, but says that the Gators are unlikely to hire him. Mike Mularkey, Clay Helton and Blake Anderson are among the names we continue to hear. Arizona State’s Mike Norvell and UCLA’s Noel Mazzone are other names being mentioned.
According to AP writer Mark Long, Muschamp plans to scrap the pro-style system and switch to up-tempo an offense in 2014.
Wake Forest’s Jim Grobe has resigned.
Sources tell us Ball State’s Pete Lembo, Rice’s David Bailiff, Stanford defensive coordinator Derek Mason and Tulane’s Curtis Johnson could be candidates for the job.
Multiple sources feel it’s likely June Jones will either leave SMU on his own accord or be fired. The national media is starting to report some chatter as well.
Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris and Sam Houston State head coach Willie Fritz are expected to be among the candidates to fill the job should it open.
Sources tell us that Hawaii head coach Norm Chow is weary of the job already and that the school might be happy for him to move along. There are strong rumors June Jones could return.
The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports that Tulane athletic director Rick Dickson “has worked with the Tulane Board to reconfigure football coach Curtis Johnson’s contract, as well as those of his assistants.”
Auburn’s Jay Jacobs plans a raise for Gus Malzahn.
Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon says that Brady Hoke will lead the program “well into the future.” We assume that means he’s in no danger of losing his job (not that we ever thought he was).
Hoke says he has no plans to make any staff changes, even though many think he should.
According to the Tampa Tribune’s Joey Johnston, “USF coach Willie Taggart says he doesn’t anticipate any changes to his coaching staff.”
RealDawg reports that Washington athletic director Scott Woodward was “blindsided” by Steve Sarkisian’s move to USC and that defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox, once thought to be next in line, is now unlikely to land the job.
Jim Mora would have been a candidate if he had wanted to be, but he reports indicate that he has agreed to a six year extension to stay at UCLA. Mizzou’s Gary Pinkel and Alabama offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier are also rumored to be strong candidates, along with Boise State’s Chris Petersen and Vandy’s James Franklin.
The Seattle Times reports that Sarkisian’s buyout of $1.5 million is due within 30 days. the Times also reports that Wilcox would owe “$1 million, according to his contract. That penalty is triggered only if Wilcox leaves early ‘to take a position at another Pac 12 school, with the exception of Head Coach.’”
Huskies defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi would owe $410,000 if he were to leave.
Sports Radio KJR reports that Wilcox is headed to USC with Sarkisian.
Sources tell us that a loss to South Florida this weekend could mean the end of Kyle Flood’s tenure at Rutgers.
Western Kentucky’s Bobby Petrino says he won’t “deal with speculation” when asked if he was a candidate for other jobs.
Air Force’s Troy Calhoun is keeping quiet on possible staff changes.
We continue to hear that Florida International’s Ron Turner could go back to the NFL.
UNLV has given Bobby Hauck an extension.
At USC, Ed Orgeron has resigned and offensive coordinator Clay Helton will coach the Trojans bowl game.
Virginia athletic director Craig Littlepage has again voiced his support for his embattled head football coach.
“I firmly believe that Mike London is going to be successful here at the University of Virginia,” Littlepage said.
In other words, London and his big buyout are safe for another year.
Sources tell us that Nebraska’s Bo Pelini still might not be 100% safe.
An ugly bowl performance could make things dicey. In other words, nothing is certain. He probably makes it, but this is still one to watch.
ESPN reports that Pelini will have to pay for his latest rant:
“The Big Ten Conference on Monday issued a public reprimand of the Cornhuskers’ head coach and fined the university $10,000 for Pelini’s comments about the officiating in a loss to Iowa last week. University spokeswoman Chris Anderson said the money will come out of Pelini’s compensation.”
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
Florida has fired offensive coordinator Brent Pease and offensive line coach Tim Davis.
Pease became the primary scapegoat for the Gators’ offensive woes, and he moves were expected. The firings were announced one day after the Gators (4-8) finished the program’s first losing season since 1979.
“I have a lot of respect for Coach Pease and Coach Davis,” coach Will Muschamp said in a statement. “They are both good football coaches and even better people.
“There have been a lot of unfortunate circumstances this year, but that is part of the game sometimes. I want to thank each of them for their contributions to the program both on and off the field.”
A Florida offense ravaged by injuries finished the season ranked 112th in total offense. The Gators managed just 279 yards in a 26-20 loss to lower-division Georgia Southern on Nov. 23 followed by 193 in the season-ending 37-7 loss to Florida State.
Both Pease, who replaced Charlie Weis prior to the 2012 season, and Davis received raises in May. Peasereceived an additional $100,000 per year while Davis was given an $25,000 a year raise.
Florida owes Pease about $1.2 million for the remaining two years on his contract.
Former USC coach Lane Kiffin is rumored to be a candidate to replace Pease.
Former Florida quarterback Kerwin Bell, now head coach at Jacksonville University, is another name that has been mentioned. Fellow ex-Gator player Mike Mularkey is also rumored to be interested in the job.
Veteran assistant Neil Callaway, now at Western Kentucky, is considered a popular pick to replace Davis as offensive line coach.
Photo: UF Sports Information
We’ve heard rumblings over the past several days that Rutgers coach Kyle Flood could be in trouble, and we added him to this week’s Hot Seat list.
Now, the Asbury Park Press reports the situation for Flood might be even worse than we thought. Athletics director Julie Hermann is already under investigation and most agree if she goes, so does Flood.
Flood would be owed $850,000 if he is fired before Feb. 1, 2014. Keep an eye on this one.
With Rutgers headed to the B1G, the Scarlet Knights may want to start with a clean slate… or an old one. Greg Schiano anyone?
Mack Brown is only a few wins away from passing Darrell Royal on Texas‘ all-time Texas wins list. In fact, he probably hits the mark next season – if he returns.
Even though UT megabooseter Joe Jamail says that Brown will decide when he retires, sources continue to tell us this is likely his last season in Austin.
If Brown goes, who takes his place? As you’ve no doubt heard numerous times, Alabama coach Nick Saban tops the Longhorns’ wish list. Earlier this week, Saban’s wife Terry told the Wall Street Journal that the couple intends to retire in Tuscaloosa, but the Sabans certainly aren’t above changing their minds.
If Saban does stay put, we continue to hear that Jimbo Fisher, Charlie Strong, Jon Gruden and Art Briles could all be in play.
Briles stated last week, that he “cannot envision” talking with other schools at season’s end, but sources indicate he’d still likely listen to Texas.
Another name that has surfaced is Steelers coach Mike Tomlin. Tomlin last coached in college at Cincinnati in 1999-2000, where he was on staff with Jimbo Fisher. Ian Rappaport reported a couple of weeks ago that Tomlin’s job in Pittsburgh is safe for 2014.
Sources indicate Tomlin may be ready to move on – and that he’d have a keen interest in Texas.
Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy’s name is also making the rounds, both publicly and privately. Many believe he could emerge as a prime candidate at Texas.
At Florida, the Orlando Sentinel reports that Will Muschamp will return as coach in 2014, but that there will be “significant changes” on the staff. Sources tell us the two most likely sacrifices are offensive coordinator Brent Pease and offensive line coach Tim Davis.
Pease said today he believes he deserves to return.
You may remember Davis from his off-season spat with his former boss, Nick Saban.
ESPN’s Brett McMurphy reports that FAU coach Carl Pelini was fired for not reporting conduct of staff and not for using illegal drugs. Here’s an excerpt from a letter that interim president Dennis J. Crudele sent to Pelini:
“FAU did not terminate your employment because of a finding that you used illegal drugs. Accordingly to clarify these significant points … your resignation is withdrawn and your separation is converted to a termination with cause based on our finding that you failed to timely report certain conduct of a member of your staff, as required by your contract.”
We continue to hear that Ohio State defensive coordinator Luke Fickell is a serious candidate. FAU AD Pat Chun said he would like to name the Owls’ next football coach by Dec. 8.
Stephen F. Austin has fired coach J.C. Harper.
James Madison fired head coach Mickey Mathews.
According to the Daily News-Record, “JMU might be interested in as its new coach are Oakland Raiders quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo, Arizona co-offensive coordinator Rod Smith and Virginia Tech tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator Bryan Stinespring.”
Elon has fired coach Jason Swepson. Swepson went 10-24 in three seasons.