I’m telling ya, this guy Jon Gruden might be in Buffs coaching mix

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Yes, we understand that this is likely a Minnesota-esque pipe dream, but I’m telling ya we’ve been waiting for this guy to come on somebody’s radar for a job at the collegiate level so we could use that headline.

And trust me, this guy is on somebody’s radar.  Well, at least for a minute he is.

It’s been just eight hours or so since Dan Hawkins was officially relieved of his duties as Colorado’s head coach, and already lists of potential replacements have begun cropping up.  According to Kyle Ringo of the Boulder Daily CameraTroy Calhoun, Brent Venables, Mike Bellotti, Les Miles, Bill McCartney and, yes, that guy Jon Gruden are a few of the names known to be on Colorado’s radar.

Of course, it’s one thing to have a wish list of potential head-coaching replacements.  It’s another matter entirely to have a realistic list of candidates to work from.  And, based the words of the athletic department’s boss at the press conference announcing Hawkins’ firing, you can already cross a couple of names off the Daily Camera‘s initial offering based on financial considerations alone.

According to athletic director Mike Bohn, Colorado is “not a $4 million institution… I would be surprised [if] we are in a $2 million-plus marketplace” as a salary for the next head coach.  With that as a baseline, the Buffs can all but forget about Miles, Bellotti and, yes, Gruden.

Air Force’s Troy Calhoun and Oklahoma defensive coordinator/associate head coach Brent Venables, on the other hand, would seem to fall in CU’s price range, although it’s always possible a well-heeled supporter or supporters of the football program could step up and toss their checkbooks into the financial mix for a school whose athletic department has seen its fair share of monetary struggles the past couple of years.

And then there’s Bill McCartney.  The 70-year-old former CU head coach is the school’s all-time leader in wins, but has not been involved in the game at any significant level since 1994.  He’s been rumored the past couple of months to be a potential option — at least for the short-term — for the school, and Bohn confirmed Tuesday that McCartney “is a viable candidate for us to consider.”

McCartney himself said shortly after Hawkins’ firing became official that he has an interest in the job.

“If Colorado was interested in me, I would definitely be interested in returning,” the former coach told the Denver Post.

For what it’s worth, we’ve been told that Houston’s Kevin Sumlin is the favorite amongst several people associated with the athletic department, although whether those individuals have enough pull with the higher-ups who will actually pull the trigger on a hiring remains to be seen.

Another name to remember is Mark Mangino.  The former Kansas coach has been connected to the Gophers opening — we’ve been told he’s already spoken to the search firm conducting Minnesota’s search — and will no doubt get at least a look from Colorado’s search committee.

SMU confirms hiring of Sonny Dykes as new head coach

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After a year away from the head-coaching game, Sonny Dykes is back in it.

Not long after reports had surfaced earlier Monday, SMU confirmed a short time ago that Dykes has been named as the football program’s new head football coach.  Dykes replaces Chad Morris, who left for the same job at Arkansas late last week.

“I can’t tell you how excited I am to be introduced as the Head Coach at SMU,” a lengthy statement from Dykes began. “This is home and this is a program I grew up watching. I watched Mustang legends compete and I could always see myself putting on that iconic pony. Today, I’m proud to do just that.

“Coach Morris did great things here and I am fortunate that I have been selected to take the foundation Chad and his staff put in place and take it to a new level. And, make no mistake – That is what we plan to do.”

Prior to 2017, Dykes had spent the previous seven seasons as a head coach — four at Cal (2013-16) and three at Louisiana Tech (2010-12).  After being fired by the former school, he was considered a candidate for the offensive coordinator position at Arizona State.  Family issues, however, made TCU a better fit as he spent this past season as an offensive analyst with the Horned Frogs.

A native of Texas who played college baseball for Texas Tech, Dykes has gone 41-45 as a head coach — 22-15 at Louisiana Tech, 19-30 at Cal.

In Morris’ third season at SMU, the 7-5 Mustangs are bowl-eligible for the first time since 2012.

Florida DL Taven Bryan declares for NFL Draft

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The Dan Mullen era has everyone excited in Gainesville, but one key contributor won’t stick around to see it.

Defensive lineman Taven Bryan announced Monday he will leave school to enter his name in the 2018 NFL Draft. According to the statement released on his Twitter account, it sounds as if he made his mind up during the Jim McElwain and Randy Shannon regimes and nearly returned upon Mullen’s arrival.

Bryan ranked fifth on the team with 40 tackles while also recording six TFL and four sacks, just half a sack off the team lead.

A native of Casper, Wyo., Bryan will attempt to become just the third Wyoming native to be among the ranks of active NFL players.

SMU reportedly tabs former Cal, La Tech head coach Sonny Dykes as new head coach

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Sonny Dykes will take over as SMU’s head coach, according to multiple reports. The move was first reported by FotballScoop on Monday morning, and since confirmed by ESPN and Sports Illustrated.

Dykes takes over for Chad Morris, who left last week to become the head coach at Arkansas.

Morris was hired to re-establish ties with the Texas high school community after the program flatlined under June Jones, and Dykes has a similar appeal as his predecessor. Like Morris, Dykes is a former Texas high school coach, though only briefly. (He spent one year as the running backs coach at Richardson Pearce High School in 1994.) But more importantly he’s a name that will resonate with Texas high school coaches as the son of the legendary Spike Dykes.

The younger Dykes served as an assistant at Navarro Junior College and Texas Tech before taking over as the head coach at Louisiana Tech, where he led the Bulldogs to a 22-15 mark with one WAC championship from 2010-12. That success led him to Cal, where he took the Golden Bears to one bowl game in four seasons.

He was let go after the 2016 season, and spent the 2017 campaign laying low nearby the Hilltop, as an offensive analyst at TCU.

Dykes will inherit a 7-5 SMU team that ranked eighth nationally in scoring offense and 113th in scoring defense. The Mustangs will meet Dykes’s former team Louisiana Tech in the inaugural Frisco Bowl on Dec. 20 (8 p.m. ET, ESPN).

Interim head coach Jeff Traylor garnered significant support inside the locker room to take over on a full-time basis, so it will be interesting to see if Dykes works to keep the former Texas high school coach on staff, perhaps in an offensive coordinator capacity.

Report: Former Stanford QB Tavita Pritchard named Cardinal offensive coordinator

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It can be argued Tavita Pritchard started the current era of Stanford football. Trailing 23-17 with 48 seconds left, it was Pritchard that hit Mark Bradford for a 10-yard touchdown to push the Cardinal past No. 2 USC for a 24-23 win in 2007, at the time the largest point-spread upset in college football history and kickstarting the Jim HarbaughDavid Shaw era that continues today.

And now it will be Pritchard’s job to keep the ball he first pushed way back when rolling.

According to Bruce Feldman of Sports Illustrated, Pritchard will be named Stanford’s offensive coordinator.

Still only 30, Pritchard graduated from Stanford in 2009, but he never really left the Stanford football program. He volunteered with the coaching staff in 2010, began working with the Cardinal defense in 2011 and was promoted to the full-time coaching staff in 2013, working with the running backs.

Pritchard was moved to quarterbacks and wide receivers in 2014 and has remained there the past four seasons, but is now in line to take over the entire offense with offensive coordinator Mike Bloomgren now the head coach at Rice.

Led by Doak Walker Award winner Bryce Love, Stanford concluded the regular season ranked 32nd in rushing, 61st in passing efficiency, 19th in yards per play and 39th in scoring at 32.0 points per game. The 13th-ranked and Pac-12 North champion Cardinal will meet No. 15 TCU in the Alamo Bowl on Dec. 28 (9 p.m. ET, ESPN).