If, as the mounting speculation goes, Penn State loses its head coach to the NFL, the school could turn to the same level for a replacement.
It was reported earlier this month that Bill O’Brien — and/or his agent — had already been approached by the Houston Texans and Minnesota Vikings about a potential return to the NFL. As was the case last year, O’Brien’s name will likely be connected to other professional openings as well, in large part because an NFL buyout in his amended contract went from $19. 3 million last year just under $6.5 million this year.
David Jones of the Patriot-News wrote Monday that, if O’Brien were to leave the Nittany Lions after two seasons, current Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano is one of “three other head coaches [who] have had their intermediaries inquire about the Penn State job.” Schiano is rumored to be on an extremely hot seat with the Bucs, and could “part ways” with the organization at season’s end.
Prior to his time in Tampa, Schiano spent 11 years as the head coach at Rutgers.
Schiano spent six seasons (1990-95) as an assistant at Penn State. After Joe Paterno‘s dismissal in November of 2011, he was mentioned as a potential successor.
The reported interest on Schiano’s part may not be reciprocated if — and, yes, it’s still an if — the job comes open, however, as Jones writes that “Schiano is not thought to be high on the would-be PSU contingency list.”
The two others mentioned by Jones as being “curious about the chances [the Penn State job] might come open” are Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Munchak and Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin.
The former played his college football with the Nittany Lions, although that was back in the late-seventies/early eighties and the whole of his 20-year coaching career has been spent at the NFL level. Like Schiano, Munchak was mentioned as a potential successor to Paterno. Unlike Schiano, the job was Munchak’s to have before he opted to remain with the Titans. Also unlike Schiano, Jones notes that PSU “money men… would again lean toward the dignified and straight-shooting Munchak as the favorite.” Again, that’s provided there’s even a job to fill.
Franklin is a favorite of the coaching rumor mill, having already been one of the reported front-runners for the USC job as well as being a potential candidate at Texas. Based on the job he’s done with the Commodores, you can expect his name to be mentioned just about anytime a high-profile position comes open.