Monday, December 5, 2011

As the Carousel Turns-Volume 4 2011

There was still more movement over the weekend, as more coaches were fired (some officially), and more candidates came on the scene for various jobs. Let's get caught up with our Monday edition of As the Carousel Turns!

North Carolina
James Franklin had been the top choice for team officials, but that was before Vandy locked him up to a long term contract extension that promises to completely upgrade the Commodore program, which was a long time coming. North Carolina would like to now speak with Houston Coach Kevin Sumlin, but they are a long shot at best to land him. Troy Calhoun is also playing heavily here.
Candidates: Troy Calhoun, Air Force; George Edwards, Bills DC; Skip Holtz; USF; Butch Jones, Cincinnati; Gus Malzahn, Auburn OC; Chuck Pagano, Ravens DC; Paul Rhoades, Iowa State; Everett Withers, UNC Interim HC
Our Choice: Break the bank for Malzahn at this point, as he gives UNC instant credibility on the recruiting front, and gives the fan base something to buzz about.

The Panthers are losing three key assistants to Arizona this week. Calvin Magee leaves to become the OC for Rich Rodriguez at Arizona, while Tony Dews and Tony Gibson are both likely to join the UA staff as well. No word yet as to whom Todd Graham intends to replace them with.

Penn State
All is quiet on this front as of now, but the front runner would still have to be Dan Mullen at this point. Penn State is being patient with this hire as they literally cannot afford to get this wrong.
Candidates: Dan Mullen, Mississippi State; Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern; Tim Murphy, Harvard; Gary Patterson, TCU; Darren Perry, Packers; Chris Petersen, Boise State; Paul Rhoades, Iowa State; Mark Richt, Georgia; David Shaw, Stanford
Our Choice: If you want a guy with no baggage and has a track record of getting it right, and you have a realistic shot at getting him, you go with Murphy at Harvard. Murphy is not a household name, but he should be. He runs a class organization and wins constantly, while always doing it the right way. You cannot go wrong with hom if you are Penn State.

Paul Chryst and Pat Narduzzi both played out their on-filed auditions in the Big 10 title game Saturday night. Chryst's Wisconsin Badgers won the game, and he appears to be a serious front runner for this job.
Candidates: Paul Chryst, Wisconsin; Tim Beckman, Toledo; Larry Fedora, Southern Miss; Butch Jones; Cincinnati; Todd Monken; Oklahoma State; Pat Narduzzi, Michigan State; Kevin sumlin, Houston; Willie Taggert, Western Kentucky; Kirby Wilson, Steelers
Our Choice: Chryst seems to be the guy to go to here. Narduzzi would make a solid plan B. Both know the conference, and would have the ability to succesfully recruit.

Rumors were flying all over the place yesterday that Texas intended to force Mack Brown out. There is no truth to this rumor, and MAck Brown is still entrenched at UT.

There is not much new to report on this front this morning, as the rumor mills have been quite quiet. The guy that appears to be at the center of the storm would be Florida State assitant Mark Stoops, but there has been no movement over the last 72 hours in any direction. The Jayhawks also appear to be very interested in Larry Fedora, who has a truck load of Big 12 experience while working at Oklahoma State.
Candidates: Troy Calhoun, Air Force; Dave Christensen, Wyoming; Nolan Cromwell, Rams WR Coach; Dave Doeren, Northern Illinois; Sonny Dykes, Louisiana Tech; Larry Fedora, Southern Miss; Skip Holtz, USF; June Jones, SMU; Dirk Koetter, Jaguars OC; Houston Nutt; Mark Stoops, Florida State DC; Kevin Sumlin, Houston
Our Choice: Go outside of the box and make a play for Dave Christensen. Christensen has worked wonders at Wyoming with a talent lacking roster, and was the OC at Missouri during the Tigers peak years. He knows the league, and he is not likely to get snagged out from under them. This would be a steal hire.

The Blazers made a move by hiring Arkansas OC Garrick McGee yesterday as their new head coach. This move is not likely to ensure a ton of buzz around the campus, as McGee was largely the OC in name only, running Petrino's offense with the Hogs. That being said, the Blazers were in dire need of someone who actually wanted the job, and McGee came in at the last minute. We're taking a wait and see appraoch to this hire.

Again, very quiet at Memphis this weekend. The Tigers jumped at an intriguing prospect in Larry Porter two years ago and it was a disaster. The Tigers need someone who has a want to eb there, and has a track record of winning at previous stops, and the Tigers also need someone who is experienced in running a football organization from the top down. No more assistants with no track records of running a team. This is too important now.
Candidates: Tommy Bowden; Clint Conque, Central Arkansas; Randy Fitchner, Steelers QB Coach; Mark Hudspeth, Louisiana-Lafayette; Ross Huesman, Chattanooga; Houston Nutt; John L. Smith, Arkansas ST Coach
Our Pick: Bowden and Nutt bring instant name credit to the school, but Conque is a guy who's star appears to be rising. Bring in any of those three names, and you go down as a winner.

You can kill those Jim Tressel dreams (or nightmares). He has said no to Akron. The weekend turned up no new news on this front, but that could bear to the fact that the front running candidate is still playing football in Paul Winters. Stay tuned.
Candidates: Matt Campbell, Toledo OC; Trent Miles, Indiana State; Joe Moorhead, UConn OC; Paul Winters, Wayne State (MI)
Our Choice: Winters is a winner at D2 Wayne State, and the Warriors are still running deep in the D2 Playoffs. He appears to be the man, as Akron appears not to be discussing the job with any other candidates at this time. He would also be the right pick here.

UMass is stuck in neutral in their search, but there are intriguing candidates lined up for the Minutemen. Two former Minutemen head coaches appear interested in coming back in Don Brown and Mark Whipple, both of whom had big success at Amherst.
Candidates: Mark Bajakian, Cincinnati OC; Don Brown, UConn DC; Neal Brown, Texas Tech OC; Ben Albert, Temple LB Coach; Bill McGovern, Boston College DC; Mark Whipple, Browns QB Coach
Our Pick: Brown or Whipple both had success here, and in this case, UMass could do some good by going back to their succesful roots.

Colorado State
The Rams officially fired Steve Fairchild this weekend, although we knew that this would be coming down for quite a while. The 22-19 loss to Wyoming sealed the deal. This job could be a tough sell.
Candidates: None listed at this time
Our Pick: Go to the Big Sky to get some help with instant Northwest/Rocky Mountain credibility and make a play for Rob Ashe at Montana State, or Robin Pflugrad at Montana.

This search is officially becoming a clusterfuck of epic proportions. There are two seperate camps it appears in "Chianti" Dan Guerrero, the lame duck AD, and LA Billionaire Casey Wasserman and several UCLA power Alumni including Troy Aikman, Jonathon Ogden, and Cade McNown. Guerrero spent the weekend in Houston trying to lure Houston's Kevin Sumlin, while the Wasserman group flew to Miami to meet with Hurricane Coach Al Golden. Here's the thing. The fan base is not buzzing about either of those selections. This could go badly and lead to an internal UCLA civil war.
Candidates: Mike Bellotti; Tom Cable, Seahwaks OL Coach; Herman Edwards; Steve Mariucci; Vic Fangio, 49ers DC; June Jones, SMU; Mike McIntyre, San Jose State; DeWayne Walker, New Mexico State
Our Pick: Go outside of the family, and outside of the box. Mariucci would be a huge name move, and has the ability to recruit the right kids. I like the small school route in names like Willie Taggert, Jim Svoboda at Central Missouri, Plugrad at Montana, and Ashe at Montana State.

Arizona State
The Sun Devils waived the big white flag on Kevin Sumlin this weekend, preferring instead to turn their attention to June Jones. It appears that the  job belongs to Jones if he indeed wants it. ASU is having money problems, and they need a solid hire that is also affordable.
Candidates: Mike Bellotti; Ron English, Eastern Michigan; Larry Fedora, Southern Miss; Mark Helfrich, Oregon OC; June Jones, SMU
Our Pick: Get some bang for your buck and avoid retreads that will suck up big money. Look small school and succesful in Sam Houston State's Willie Fritz, Central Arkansas Coach Clint Conque, Pflugrad at Montana, or Ashe at Montana State.

The Rebels went with a solid move by hiring Arkansas State Coach Hugh Freeze. Freeze has been succesful every place that the has coached, and is coming off a Sun Belt Championship Season at Arkansas State. He is well thought of throughout the Southeast, and will up the Rebel profile immediately with offensive players.

Arkansas State
With Freeze leaving after just one season, ASU has been left in the lurch. The talent base is there, and a (fragile) foundation has been built. A careful hire here is a must.
Candidates: None at this time.
Our Pick: Have to be careful here. Conque at Central Arkansas, Fritz at Sam Houston State; Jeff Monken at Georgia Southern; Joey Jones at South Alabama. These are all names that you need to look at, but don't be afraid to reach out to someone like Houston Nutt.

Florida Atlantic
FAU moved quickly in hiring Nebraska DC Carl Pelini this weekend. Pelini could be a huge hit here, and brings some serious clout to South Florida. Moves on staff announcements coming up.

Fresno State
The Bulldogs felt as if they were stuck in neutral, and so fired Pat Hill after 15 seasons. I don't necessarily agree with this move, but what's done is done. The Bulldogs now must move forward with a vengeance if they want to be a player in the Mountain West next fall.
Candidates: Jim McElwain, Alabama OC
Our Pick: McElwain is a name with a history here, but go another direction. Rick Neuheisel could actually fit here, as could any of the Big Sky names listed, including Eastern Washington Coach Beau Baldwin.

FCS Moves

Weber State
A new name that popped up is Arkansas ST Coach John L. Smith. No hire has been made yet.
Our Pick: Paul Wulff was fired at Washington State last week, but has a track record of success in the Big Sky at Eastern Washington. Wulff brings instant credibility to the Wildcats.

The school has a policy of not discussing their coaching searches, so I struck out there. Jim Hofher and Pete Mangurian are names mentioned in reports. The schol intends to wrap things up by December 15th.
Our Pick: Ray Friore, Penn DC...He knows the league, and is a solid defensive coach. With the right OC hire, he could turn this ship around quickly.

Eastern Illinois
The Panthers are down to their final four candidates, and they are currently interviewing. All of them have FBS experience as assistants, but head coaching experience does not appear to be a worry.
Our Pick: Dino Babers, Baylor WR Coach

No real news out of Fordham this weekend. All is quiet, with no stirring or buzz around this job.
Our Pick: Peter Rossomondo, New Haven...Undertsands the Northeast scene, and drove the Chargers to the NCAA D2 quarterfinals. His season is complete, and he has the ability to build, and do it quickly.

The Spiders have all sorts of candidates lined up according to various reports, but most of those are smoke creens. Richmond is vehemently closed mouthed about this search process.
Our Pick: Chuck Friore, Stony Brook...Runs a system similar to what the SPiders are good at, which is power run and hard core defense. Stony Brook is coing off of a Big South title, and just wrapped up a playoff appearance.

Southeast Louisiana
Ron Roberts, Delta State Head Coach has apparently jumped to the top of the list here. Hal Mumme prooved that you could win here, but the Lions need someone who can do it the right way. Roberst would be an ideal fit, and is solid in Southeast circles.
Our Pick: Roberts...major winner at DSU, and brings some championship stock to a struggling program.

South Dakota
The Coyotes hit a major home run bby hiring former Montana and Wyoming Coach Joe Glenn this weekend. Glenn was a big time winner at Montana, and ran into apathy at Wyoming before being fired there. Still a solid coach, and he can turn USD into a winner in the MVC immediately.

Western Carolina
The Catamounts are way deep in the hole right now, and they need a complete rebuilding project to be put in place, including image. OUr source has informed us that former WCU OC Kurt Bethard is in play here. Bethard wants the job, and has a history here, so it all plays well with the local fan base.
Our Pick: Bethard is solid, and we also like North Greenville coach Jamey Chadwell, who has built up a power on the D2 level.

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