Posted on: December 10, 2010 11:56 am
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
It's time for one of those pieces of news that's more Rorschach Test than hard data: what do you see when you look at Jon Gruden chatting with Urban Meyer and Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley at an Outback Bowl function?
Do you see ...
-- Foley and Meyer making a straightforward power play for one of the perenially hottest names on the coaching circuit?
-- Foley following the lead of his peers in the Miami athletic department and gauging Gruden's interest in coming to the college game as a prelude to potentially offering him the Gator job?
-- a discussion between three lifetime football guys about football issues, maybe even issues related to Florida, but without any real expectation that Gruden would be interested in the available coaching position?
-- a brief, cordial chat between three guys who just so happened to be in the same Tampa room at the same time and just so happened to be an available high-profile football coach, a second high-profile coach football who had just resigned, and the athletic director responsible for replacing the latter with someone like the former?
Since we've got absolutely nothing to go on other than the fact that Foley, Meyer, and Gruden happened to be sharing the same space -- a space in which which all three had good reason to be, what with the Gators playing in the Outback and Gruden living in Tampa -- and a few words of conversation, it's more than a little premature to assume Foley was offering Gruden the keys to one of the richest kingdoms in all of college football.
But it also seems unlikely that Foley, who's sworn he's going to conduct an exhaustive search for the Gators' new head coach (despite needing just the one trip to Starkville, really), would be willing to chat up Gruden in a public setting and not at least float the possibility of Gruden's coming to Gainesville.
Whether Gruden would be more receptive to a ready-built program like Florida than he was the Hurricanes, well, that's another thing you might see between the blots and might not. But this much we know: Foley, Meyer, and Gruden have given us something to look at, and until the Gator search narrows or Gruden emphatically states "I'm not going to Florida," there's going to be plenty of staring.
Posted on: December 8, 2010 5:01 pm
Edited on: December 8, 2010 5:43 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Urban Meyer stepping down at Florida does not just affect the Gators football program. No, it can be felt throughout the SEC, specifically at a school like Mississippi State. Though it's still early in the process, you can bet that former Florida coordinator and current Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen's name will be coming up as a replacement for Meyer in Gainesville.
Which is just the latest twist in the roller coaster ride that Mississippi State fans have been on for the last few weeks. Now, I could sum it all up in words, but words are boring. So instead I present to you "Life As A Mississippi State Fan" in MS Paint. Because pictures are worth a thousand words, so get ready for like 1,400 more words.
Posted on: December 8, 2010 3:38 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
With the news that Urban Meyer has resigned/retired at Florida (delete as you personally see applicable), the Dan Mullen sweepstakes has a new almost-certain winner. The Gators will likely see Mullen as their Nos. 1, 1A, and 1B candidates, and there's no better fit -- and no place that can pay him more money -- for Mullen than his old stomping grounds in Gainesville. From the outside, it appears to be the kind of marriage that'll have both parties at the courthouse before anyone even knows they're courtin'.
That may be great news for Gator fans who would be happy to sacrifice Meyer if it meant replacing Steve Addazio' s hapless play-calling with Mullen's tried-and-proven offensive acumen, but it's a terrible blow for Mississippi State (who given their financial constraints will have no chance of keeping Mullen if/when the Gators come calling) and a big one for Miami as well. Depending on which reports you believe, the 'Canes had made Mullen their top candidate after being turned down by Jon Gruden , and given his offensive pedigree and performance in Starkville, he was the option with the best combination of availability and likelihood of success.
If he's off the board, where might Miami athletic director Kirby Hocutt turn? A flurry of reports out of South Florida have identified the candidates currently at the forefront of the search. (The 'Canes will apparently risk receiving another sternly-worded letter from Donald Trump , as Mike Leach is not among them.) Taking them one coach at a time, and assessing their chances of eventually taking their talents to South Beach:
Tommy Tuberville, Texas Tech: Tuberville has a strong Miami connection, having coached there for eight years and winning a national-title as a defensive coordinator under Dennis Erickson, and would certainly be capable of preserving the team's defensive improvement under Randy Shannon. He would almost certainly accept the job if offered, as whispers have indicated Tuberville has been campaigning hard for the job behind the scenes. (Then again, Tuberville's agent is infamous rumor-starter Jimmy Sexton, so take that with a grain of salt.) The problem is that Tuberville is already 56, with his best coaching days behind him, and has struggled at times putting together a working offensive staff. Would he cause enough of a splash?
Randy Edsall, UConn: Then again, if the 'Canes are seriously considering Edsall, making a splash isn't high on their list of concerns. Edsall would maintain Shannon's sense of rugged discipline, with an old-school grinding running game to match, and there's no doubt he's wrung the most out of his fledgling program. But the Huskies haven't actually been "good," even by Big East standards, as much as they have been the team least-prone to shooting itself in the foot.
Kevin Sumlin, Houston: Sumlin is a young, charismatic coach with an exciting up-tempo offense that ought to put butts in seats; he should be able to immediately connect wit hthe 'Canes fickle fanbase in a way the above candidates might not. But he's also by far the least proven, having made his name by maintaining Art Briles' previous good work at Houston.
Al Golden, Temple: Golden's resuscitation of the Owls is one of the most impressive feats of college coaching of the past few years, and he's young enough that he could be a cornerstone for Miami for years and years to come. But there's a strong sense -- bordering on consensus -- that Golden is waiting for Joe Paterno' s retirement for a shot at the Penn State gig. After Turner Gill' s struggles at Kansas , it's also worth wondering if rebuilding jobs in the MAC are easier than they're made it out to be.
Mike Stoops, Arizona: In what might be seen as a too-close-for-comfort parallel with the Shannon era, Stoops's steady year-by-year improvement project in Tucson took a minor step backwards this year. But Stoops' sideline antics prove he's got the energy for the job, and his reclamation job with the Wildcats has been impressive. But Miami may not be able to pay him much more than Arizona can, and there doesn't seem to be as much buzz as there is with the candidates above.
And that, for the time being, is the list (though the reports also agree that other candidates are likely on the radar screen). There's a few reasonably solid options there, and at this point you might have to consider Tuberville the favorite; he has the biggest name, the strongest ties, and likely the most intense interest. But if Mullen is truly no longer in the picture, Hocutt might also have to get creative to stave off the perception that the Gators stole his hire's thunder clean out from under him.
Tags: Al Golden, Arizona, Dan Mullen, Dan Mullen to Florida, Donald Trump, Florida, Florida coaching search, Houston, Jon Gruden, Kevin Sumlin, Kirby Hocutt, Miami, Miami coaching search, Mike Leach, Mike Stoops, Mississippi State, Randy Edsall, Randy Shannon, Steve Addazio, Temple, Texas Tech, Tommy Tuberville, UConn, Urban Meyer, Urban Meyer resigns, Urban Meyer retirement
Posted on: December 7, 2010 4:45 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Thanks to the Jon Gruden panic at Miami, the Bill McCartney escapades at Colorado , etc., the coaching search at Vanderbilt has flown mostly under the radar to date despite it being the only vacancy this offseason in the SEC (barring Dan Mullen' s hypothetical departure at Mississippi State ). That doesn't mean the Commodore brass hasn't been doing their due diligence. In fact, as this report from the Tennessean indicates , they've been extremely diligent. According to the report, the full alphabetical list of coaches contacted or coaches whose agents have been contacted by the 'Dores --and it may not be comprehensive -- is as follows:
Troy Calhoun , head coach, Air Force
Dave Doeren , defensive coordinator, Wisconsin
James Franklin, offensive coordinator, Maryland
Al Golden, head coach, Temple
Todd Graham , head coach, Tulsa
Gus Malzahn, offensive coordinator, Auburn
Greg Roman, offensive coordinator, Stanford
Don Treadwell, offensive coordinator, Michigan State
Shawn Watson, offensive coordinator, Nebraska
If that seems like a lot of candidates, Vandy Vice Chancellor of Athletics David Williams agrees with you :
Williams said he will select three candidates — maybe four — from the first round of interviews to become finalists. There would then likely be a second round of interviews.We already know a few names on the above list that won't reciprocate enough interest to make the cut -- Calhoun, Malzahn, possibly Golden -- and even though Williams said the frequency of offensive-minded coaches on the list is "just how it's gone," add that frequency to the 'Dores hopeless struggles on offense the last few years and it's easy to see Vandy leaning in that direction.
This could lead the 'Dores to Roman, who's coming off of two incredible seasons with the Cardinal, has first-hand experience dealing with the Stanford-like academic requirements at Vandy, and even got some measure of name-recognition following his nomination as a Broyles Award finalist.
But before they can settle on one candidate, the 'Dores have to settle on three or four. It's time for Williams to make that call.
Tags: Air Force, Al Golden, Auburn, Broyles Award, Colorado, Dave Doeren, Don Treadwell, Greg Roman, Gus Malzahn, James Franklin, Jon Gruden, Maryland, Miami, Miami coaching search, Michigan State, Nebraska, SEC, Shawn Watson, Stanford, Temple, Todd Graham, Troy Calhoun, Tulsa, Vanderbilt, Vanderbilt coaching search, Wisconsin
Posted on: December 3, 2010 6:48 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
Earlier today, some rumors started floating that Minnesota had interviewed Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo and considered him a finalist for the Gophers' head coaching spot. Unsurprisingly, the rumors were started by Tom Dienhart , who -- and we don't mean this as pejoratively as it probably sounds -- does this sort of thing a lot.
Well, Navy associate SID Scott Strasemeier is on Twitter, and caught wind of Dienhart's reporting. Hilarity, as they say, ensued.
"Tom, this is not true," Strasemeier replied to Dienhart. "Coach Niumatalolo has not interviewed with Minnesota nor have we been contacted for permission."
This isn't the first time that one of Dienhart's rumors has been shot down by a school official on Twitter; just last week, Dienhart's rumor about Rich Rodriguez 's imminent firing was dismissed by Michigan AD Dave Brandon in a tweet, although it's debatable whether RichRod did himself any favors on that front yesterday.
Still, between this and the Jon Gruden follies from earlier this week, it's demonstrably important to take any rumors of coaching hires or interviews with a grain of salt -- provided that grain is the size of an ottoman. Besides, if the school's conducting its business properly, its new coach's name won't be floated until the hiring's announced.
Posted on: December 1, 2010 6:51 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
What a whirlwind few days it's been down in South Beach. We've gone from Jon Gruden is the next head coach at Miami to Jon Gruden isn't interested in Miami to Jon Gruden is interested in Miami after all and then to the final details are being hammered out. You know, unless there's a "glitch" in the proceedings.
Well, our next turn on the Gruden rollercoaster provides such a glitch. According to the Miami Herald, Gruden did in fact meet with Miami athletic director Kirby Hocutt on Wednesday morning, but it doesn't look like he's going to be accepting any offer anytime soon.
"Gruden was cordial," a member of the Miami Board of Trustees told the paper. "He listened to everything UM had to say but no offer was made. He said he didn't want to go further because he is keeping all his options open, including the NFL.
"He didn't say yes. He didn't say no. But in effect, it's probably a no because it will take months before the NFL jobs come open and UM can't wait that long.''
In other words, Mr. Gruden appreciates your interest, and he's flattered, but he's just not interested in Miami. But don't worry, it's not you, Miami, it's him. You see, this guy considers himself more of an NFL guy. Sure, he showed up to see if you were willing to pony up so much money that he'd be stupid not to accept, but you didn't, and now he'll move on to his next NFL payday.*
Don't get your feelings hurt. It's just business.
*Cue the 'Canes faithful who haven't quite accepted this yet to start with the "It's just a negotiating ploy!"
Posted on: December 1, 2010 9:27 am
Edited on: December 1, 2010 9:57 am
Posted by Chip Patterson
In the latest episode of As The Gruden Turns, Wednesday morning brings some clarification to Tuesday night's reports from Canesport.com. According to a story in the Miami Herald, a "high-level UM source" has indicated that Miami athletic director Kirby Hocutt has traveled to Tampa to meet with Jon Gruden, a meeting expected to take place on Wednesday.
Two members of Miami's Board of Trustees have indicated to the Herald that Gruden is the top choice in the search to replace Randy Shannon, but they are concerned he might decide to wait for a job in the NFL. As suggested by Sports Illustrated's Peter King, Gruden was initially uninterested in the position. But he has since begun to entertain the possibility of returning to the college sideline. The purpose of Hocutt's trip was to determine whether Gruden would take the position if offered.
The Herald also clarified that while the aforementioned actions are being taken to work on Gruden, several trustees said the process had not reached the stage of "hammering out final details" as the Canesport.com report suggested. If Gruden says no to Hocutt, Miami has begun assembling their list of next-best options. That list is reported to include Mississippi State's Dan Mullen, Stanford's Jim Harbaugh, Connecticut's Randy Edsall, Utah's Kyle Whittingham, Arizona's Mike Stoops, and at least two other names.
Posted on: November 30, 2010 9:08 pm
Edited on: November 30, 2010 9:09 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
It seems that the dance between Jon Gruden and Miami may not be done after all. Two days after Gruden released a statement saying that he was happy with his current job at ESPN, a report on Canesport.com says that Gruden and Miami are very close to a deal. In fact, the report says that the two sides are basically just hammering out the final details.
Sources have told CaneSport that final details are being hammered out and, barring a last minute glitch, Jon Gruden will be the next Miami Hurricanes football coach.
The report also says that if Gruden is hired, his brother Jay Gruden will be brought on as his offensive coordinator, and that the deal could be announced as early as Wednesday.
Still, the phrase from the report that stands out to me is "barring a last-minute glitch." That leaves an awful lot of leeway should this not come to fruition. Especially since this is the same site that pronounced Dan Mullen "Option 1A" earlier on Tuesday.
If I were a Miami fan, i wouldn't go getting my hopes up or start trying to sell Chuckie dolls in Miami jerseys just yet.