Wednesday, December 7, 2016

As the Coaching Carousel Turns: 12/7/16 Edition

Three more jobs closed up today in college football, let's take a look at what has transpired on this Wednesday, the 6th of December...

By far the biggest news of the day was the hiring of Willie Taggart from USF as the new head coach at Oregon replacing Mark Helfrich. Taggart was always the best candidate for this job, and has a track record that speaks of his success at both Western Kentucky and USF. Taggart has taken on both of those programs during some rag tag times, and led both programs to absolute glory, narrowly missing an AAC East title this season by virtue of losing to eventual AAC champ Temple during the season in which the Bulls went 10-2. If you are on Oregon fan, believe that this is a solid hire by the Ducks, and you have an offensive mind capable of getting the Ducks back on track rather quickly. I am a huge fan of this hire, but the way that the Ducks got to it was sloppy. I guess all that you can say about it is that at least it ended well.

San Jose State
The hiring of Oregon State Outside Receivers Coach Brent Brannon has left me concerned over the direction the Spartans program intends on heading in. Brannon was an OC for a short time at San Jose State before, but not when the program was at their best under Mike MacIntyre, as he left before the David Fales glory years. Brannon was a familiar face, and in my opinion, was a severely lazy hire by the program. If the Spartans wanted to severely risk making the Ron Caragher years look amazing, they certainly took a wonderful first step.

Equally as lazy was the hiring of Arizona State WR Coach Jay Norvell by the Nevada Wolfpack tonight. Norvell has never been a spectacular offensive mind, and has been looking for a head job for more than a decade before landing this gig. His stints at Oklahoma, UCLA, and Iowa were all less than something to write home about, and he has never ben taken very seriously before this job opened up. What makes it even more odd was that Norvell was just an integral part of the team that recruited Alabama transfer QB Blake Barnett to Arizona State, only to leave days later. That is hardly stand up behavior. I am seriously not a fan of Norvell, or this hire.

Jobs That Are Still Open

Georgia State
ESPN is reporting that South Carolina assistant Shawn Elliott is still very much in the mix at GSU tonight. It would also seem that half of the southern coaching profession is as well, with as many as 10-12 candidates having been named. Stay tuned.

Western Kentucky
Add Idaho's Paul Petrino to the list of candidates at WKU, which also includes current assistants Nick Holt and Tony Levine. Petrino is an interesting addition, given that Idaho is dropping to FCS football after their bowl game in the coming weeks.

Things are moving quickly here, as Luke Fickell was interviewed today, according to local media sources. Greg Schiano will likely interview fairly shortly here, but it is now being considered as a long shot with Charlie Strong being interested in this spot.

Charlie Strong is a solid candidate at USF, and may be the early leader in the hunt. Les Miles is looking to be involved as well, as may be Lane Kiffin and Schiano. Schiano had previously coached against USF during his time at Rutgers, when both were in the old Big East. Kiffin seems a long shot here, as he is everywhere, but his name popping up here makes me suspect that he is not a serious candidate at Houston.

Speaking of the Cougars, Lincoln Riley is out as a candidate almost as fast as he was in. Only Art Briles exit from this search happened quicker. Still being considered are Kiffin, Miles, Todd Orlando, and Major Applewhite.

Florida Atlantic
The latest name out there for the FAU job is Tennessee TE Coach Larry Scott, which is not a name that will strike fear into Conference USA opponents, and is nowhere near the splashy hire made by rival FIU this off season. It is starting to feel like FAU is treading water in their search, with Jim Leavitt falling short of calling this job beneath him.

More news as it happens....

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