Posted on: December 28, 2010 10:37 am

JoePa's wife says her husband isn't sick

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Yesterday a couple of Penn State players came forward to say that the rumors about Joe Paterno coaching his last game on New Year's Day in the Outback Bowl against Florida were false.  You would think that as players on the team, they might have an inclination if that were the case.  Of course, there's still somebody who would know better than the players, and that would be the woman who is married to Paterno, his wife Sue.

Well, much like the players, she denies the rumors.  In an interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Sue Paterno called the rumors "lies" and said that her husband's health "is just fine."  You'd think that would put an end to the speculation right there, but she did leave the window open a bit when she was asked directly whether or not her husband would be back on the Penn State sideline next season.

"We haven't talked about it," said Sue Paterno.

Her daughter, Mary Kay Hort, was then quick to add that the Outback Bowl is not Paterno's "planned last game."  Which is evident by the fact that back in November Paterno said he'd be coming back to coach in 2011 and finish out the final year of his contract. The possibility still remains that the school may ask Paterno to step down, and Sue Paterno did say that her husband is yet to talk to anyone at the school about returning next season.

Which just means that while everyone who would know can deny that Paterno is coaching his final game next week, the rumor will persist.
Posted on: December 20, 2010 3:07 pm

Dayne Crist has no plans to transfer

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Notre Dame quarterback Dayne Crist came to South Bend as the heir apparent to Jimmy Clausen, and after Clausen left following his junior season, Crist came into 2010 with the starting job.  Things didn't go all that well for Crist as a starter.  For the second straight season his year came to an early end thanks to a ruptured patellar tendon he suffered during a loss at home to Tulsa.

That's when Tommy Rees, a freshman, took over under center for the Irish and Notre Dame has gone 3-0 since with wins over Utah and USC.  Which has led to a lot of speculation in and around South Bend that Crist was going to transfer rather than come back and compete with Rees for the starting job next season.  Which is news to Crist, because he says he has no plans on going anywhere.

“I don't know where it comes from," Crist told the South Bend Tribune. "There's a ton of negativity anytime you're hurt. People just want to throw you under the rug, and I don't talk to any of those people. So I don't know where I'm supposed to be transferring to.

“They should be informing me, where I'm transferring to. (I'm hearing that) I'm switching positions (too) and quitting football. I don't know which position I'm supposed to switch to. You tell me.

“This is all new information to me, but know I'm confident in my ability, confident in the doctors and the rehab process, confident that I'm going to come out firing when I'm able to come back and they give me clearance on everything.”

If Crist does come back, and it sure sounds like he's going to, Brian Kelly is going to have a tough decision to make next season.  Crist may be older and have more experience than Rees, but it's hard to argue with the results that Rees has had on the field.  Rees did help the Irish take the lead late in the fourth quarter in the Tulsa game before the defense gave up a game-winning touchdown in the final minute, and has won every start since.

Rees has looked like anything but a freshman since becoming the starter, and he's had to do it while the Irish offense was also without its leading rusher in Armando Allen.  If I were to guess at what the situation would be next spring, while I believe there will be a competition, I'd have to think that Rees would start the competition on top with Crist having to play catch up.
Posted on: November 30, 2010 9:08 pm
Edited on: November 30, 2010 9:09 pm

Report: Gruden and Miami close to deal

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.
Posted on: November 30, 2010 1:34 pm

Report: Mullen is Option 1A for Miami

Posted by Tom Fornelli

So yesterday I told you about Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen saying that he hasn't been contacted by any schools about any head coaching jobs. He also went on to say that he is happy at Mississippi State.  Well, I also said that just because Mullen hasn't been contacted yet, that doesn't mean he won't be contacted in the near future, and that he'd be dumb not to consider any offers.

Well, bad news, Mississippi State fans.  Those sleepless nights are upon you, as according to a report on CaneSport.com, Mullen is option 1A in the Miami coaching search.

Sources have told CaneSport that they think that is Athletic Director Kirby Hocutt's ultimate vision if he can land Mullen or Gruden when they have conversations Tuesday and/or Wednesday and one of those two guys is hired as Miami's head coach.

Gruden has publicly denied interest in the job and there are questions whether Miami will have the budget to pacify a coach of Gruden's stature. At the same time, others are saying that budget issues have already been worked out and that Gruden is on the brink of being introduced as the new leader of Miami football. The Gruden speculation has created one of the craziest 48 hours in UM coaching search history. 

So right now, we are going to call Mullen and Gruden 1A and 1B and predict one of the two will land the job.

Seriously, Miami!  Let the dream of Gruden go!  Why would a coach that could get something like $5 million annually in a return to the NFL as a head coach accept $3 million to coach at Miami?  Not only would he make more money in the NFL, but he wouldn't have to recruit and he wouldn't have to deal with 18-year old kids.

Focus on Mullen.  He's just as good of an option as Gruden, if not better.  After all, we already know that Dan Mullen can do a good job on the college level, look at what he's done in the toughest conference in the country, in the toughest division.  Gruden has never been the head coach of a major college football program.
Posted on: November 29, 2010 5:13 pm

Dan Mullen hasn't been approached by anyone

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Mississippi State fans find themselves in a bit of a new position compared to what they're used to come this time of the year.  There's the one aspect of life that has the Bulldogs ranked in the top 25, and seemingly on the rise with one of the best young coaches in the country in Dan Mullen. The downside of all that, though, is that they have one of the best young coaches in the country, and early indications are that there will be plenty of schools in the market for a new head coach this season.

Which means that Mullen's name is going to be coming up in a lot of rumors over the next couple of months, and Mississippi State fans will have a lot of trouble sleeping while they wonder whether or not the coach who seems to have the program finally heading in the right direction is about to jump ship. Though, if it makes those fans feel any better, Mullen did go on the radio on Monday and say that he hasn't been contacted by any school about any job openings.

“Here’s what happens," said Mullen. "One, it’s a good thing for myself and it’s a good thing for Mississippi State because it means we’re winning. Speculation only comes when you win. But, for us right now, I think a lot of that stuff gets overblown. I’ve been an assistant coach for a long time, and I don’t hear the speculation about what’s going on and what he’s going to do and all these different jobs that are supposedly being thrown your way. I only ever really got one phone call. I have not been approached by anybody at this point and my wife and I, we’re very very happy here at Mississippi State.”

Of course, just because nobody has called Mullen yet, that doesn't mean the phone won't be ringing eventually.  And if the right program calls, Mullen would have to be stupid not to consider it.  Yes, he has done a nice job at Mississippi State, but the task of bringing that program to a level in which it can compete with Alabama and LSU on an annual basis in the SEC West is not going to be easy.

So the question for Mullen will be -- throwing money aside -- would he be happy with 8-4 and 9-3 seasons in the SEC, or would he want to go somewhere else with a chance to get to a BCS game or a national championship?
Posted on: November 28, 2010 11:44 pm

So about that Gruden to Miami rumor...

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Squash it.  Squash it like a palmetto bug beneath your foot.  

The rumor of the day had been that Jon Gruden, a former NFL head coach that won a Super Bowl with the Buccaneers and currently works for ESPN, was going to be taking over for Randy Shannon at Miami.  It was all the rage on Twitter, and even the Sun-Sentinel reported that Gruden had contacted the school about the job opening.

Well, that may all be true, but as of Sunday night, Gruden finally spoke publicly.  He's not going to be taking the job at Miami.

"I am committed to MNF & to ESPN," said Gruden in a statement released on Sunday night. "I enjoy working with Mike [Tirico], [Ron Jaworski] and our entire crew and am just trying to get better at this job."

Doesn't sound like the words of a man who is on the verge of signing a contract with Miami in the near future, does it?  Of course, there will be those Miami fans who were so excited about the idea that will tell themselves that Gruden never said he ISN'T going to Miami in his statement, and that this is just a ploy to get more money and blah blah blah.

Listen, he's not coming. I'm sorry, I know you got excited by the idea, but it's just not happening. Things are going to be okay, I promise.  Miami is still a nice destination for a head coach, you'll be able to find somebody.  Besides, did you really want Gruden?  I mean, did you want to subject yourself to having to hear about THIS GUY and THIS GUY and how they're a FOOTBALL PLAYER every day for the next few years?

No.  Of course you didn't.
Posted on: November 28, 2010 6:39 pm
Edited on: November 28, 2010 7:07 pm

Rumors swirl around Jon Gruden and Miami

Posted by Tom Fornelli

From the sound of things, the Miami Hurricanes may not be without a head coach for very long.  After announcing that Randy Shannon had been fired following Saturday's loss to South Florida, there are rumors out of Miami that former NFL coach and current ESPN analyst Jon Gruden is going to take over at Miami.

Now, it's important to point out here that neither Gruden nor Miami have said anything about this rumor.  It all started out as a solitary tweet on Sunday afternoon that quickly became an internet and Twitter wildfire.  Still, according to a report in the Sun-Sentinel, Gruden has reached out to Miami to talk about the job.

According to a UM source, former NFL coach Jon Gruden initiated contact with the university to express his desire for the job and that the interest in mutual. Hocutt said there's no timeline on the hire and that money will not be an issue in the selection.

Now, just because both sides are reportedly interested, that doesn't mean Gruden is going to be the next head coach at Miami.  Often times there's interest on behalf of both parties, but then once contract details begin getting hammered out, that interest can sometimes wane.

Still, the fact that this was reported in the Sun-Sentinel lends a lot more credibility to the rumor than a single tweet ever could.  There definitely appears to be some smoke here.

Whatever ends up happening, it's pretty obvious that 'Canes fans have already begun fantasizing about the possibilities.

Posted on: November 28, 2010 3:39 pm
Edited on: November 28, 2010 5:20 pm

Bill Lynch done at Indiana

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Update: Bill Lynch has indeed been fired, as Fred Glass made the announcement on Sunday evening.

It sounds like the Bill Lynch era at Indiana is coming to an end.  It seems that not even winning the Old Oaken Bucket back from Purdue could save Lynch's job, as the Hoosiers finished their season at 5-7 on Saturday.

More importantly, the Hoosiers finished 1-7 in Big Ten play.

According to Tom Dienhart, Indiana AD Fred Glass has called for a press conference at 5pm EST to discuss the future of the college football program.

Schools generally don't call press conferences to announce that they aren't going to be firing anybody.  Still, there is no official word yet, but there was this tweet from Indiana cornerback Andre Kates(I'll just give it one large SIC right here).

"Whoaaaaaa my coaches @ IU just got fired?????"

If Lynch is fired, he'll be the second coach to lose his job in the Big Ten this season, and depending on how things shake out at Michigan in coming weeks, he may not be the last.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com