Report: pair of candidates to get second Penn State interviews


With a report surfacing earlier Saturday that Mike Munchak may be privately vacillating on his very public denial of interest in the Penn State vacancy, the school is moving forward with a followup round of interviews with a couple of interviewees.

And, somewhat surprisingly, one of those two is very, very familiar to both the university and its fan base.

According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, interim Nittany Lions head coach Tom Bradley and Green Bay Packers quarterbacks coach Tom Clements will be interviewed a second time, perhaps as early as next Tuesday.  The paper notes that each of those two candidates has been vetted by the university’s search committee, which is code for “no Jerry Sandusky skeletons to see here”.

The inclusion of Bradley as what appears to be a viable candidate to replace Joe Paterno is somewhat surprising, due mainly to the fact that it was thought the football program would clean house in an effort to distance itself from the stain of the Sandusky child-sex scandal.  Bradley has been an assistant at Penn State since 1979, and was on the staff when the first allegations against Sandusky came to university official’s attention in the late 90s.

Clements, a western Pennsylvania native, has made it publicly clear that he wants the job.

In addition to Bradley and Clements, the Tribune-Review writes that “Penn State officials also hope to speak with at least one top assistant from a team playing in a BCS bowl game, though the assistant’s identity and team was not known by the sources.”

It would be safe to assume that “top assistant” means an offensive or defensive coordinator, or someone with an “associate” or “assistant” tag connected to his job title.  It would also be safe to assume we know the identity of the 10 teams participating in BcS bowls this season.  So, as a public service, we’ll list the coordinators on each side of the ball for every team playing in a BcS bowl, and then allow you to jump to your own conclusions.

Enjoy, but please, speculate responsibly.  And, if you can’t, please find a designated speculator:

Offensive coordinator: Mark Helfrich —  has never coached east of Colorado.
Defensive coordinator: Nick Aliotti — more entrenched in the West than Helfrich.

Offensive coordinator: Paul Chryst — has been named as Pittsburgh’s new head coach.
Co-defensive coordinator: Chris Ash — an Iowa native, Ash’s coaching stops have included San Diego State and Iowa State.
Co-defensive coordinator: Charlie Partridge — prior to joining Bret Bielema‘s staff in 2008, he spent five years as an assistant at Pitt.

Offensive coordinator: Todd Monken — has coached at Notre Dame (grad assistant) and Eastern Michigan.  The Illinois native was a candidate for the Southern Miss and Tulane jobs earlier this year.
Defensive coordinator: Bill Young — he’s in his mid-60s; he’s likely not a viable candidate.
Associate head coach: Joe DeForest — Florida native who’s spent time on staffs at Duke and Rice in addition to OSU.

Offensive coordinator: Pep Hamilton — an NFL assistant from 2000-09, Hamilton has spent the past two seasons with the Cardinal.
Co-defensive coordinator:  Derek Mason — the Arizona native has spent his time in the western portion of the country since becoming an assistant in 1994.
Co-defensive coordinator: Jason Tarver —  has been strictly a West Coast assistant since becoming a coach in 1996

Offensive coordinator: Al Borges –56-year old who has, outside of a two-year stint at Indiana a decade ago, spent his coaching time around the West Coast prior to coming to Ann Arbor.
Defensive coordinator: Greg Mattison — despite his astonishing success in his first year with the Wolverines, see Bill Young above.

Offensive coordinator: Bryan Stinespring — after a four-year stint at the high school level, the Virginia native has been a Hokies assistant since 1990.
Defensive coordinator: Bud Foster — an assistant at Tech since 1987, Foster tops the list of coaches when you call the “why the hell hasn’t he ever been a head coach?” roll.

Offensive coordinator: Chad Morris — will be the highest-paid assistant coach in college football in 2012.  Has spent most of his coaching career at the high school level in Texas, but was a high-priority target of Urban Meyer as his first OC at Ohio State.
Defensive coordinator: Kevin Steele — head coach at Baylor from 1999-2002, and served on Nick Saban‘s Alabama staffs in 2007 and 2008.

Offensive coordinator: head coach Dana Holgorsen serves as his own coordinator.
Defensive coordinator: Jeff Casteel — has been at WVU since 2001, and is one of the most underrated assistants in the country.  Graduated from a college in Pennsylvania.

Offensive coordinator: Jim McElwain — has been named as Colorado State’s new head coach.
Defensive coordinator: Kirby Smart — has been a strictly Southern coach since finishing his playing career at Georgia in 1998.

Offensive coordinator: Greg Studrawa — for most of his 23-year coaching career, the Ohio native has been a head coach in the Midwest.  Like Clemson’s Morris, was rumored to be a candidate for the OC job at Ohio State under Urban Meyer.
Defensive coordinator: John Chavis — after playing his college ball at Tennessee, Chavis has spent his entire 33-year coaching career in SEC country.

My best guess as to the top assistant on a BcS bowl team that may have piqued PSU’s interest? “Foster, Pennsylvanian for Coach”.

Also, any coach with a connection to Saban — Steele, Smart — should be kept in mind; the Tide head coach is highly respected by a key member of the PSU search committee, and will go to great lengths to espouse the virtues of assistants who have worked under him in the past/present.

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).