Kevin Sumlin

Black Monday brings new round of rumors for college coaches

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A pair of NFL jobs opened up in the first few hours of the annual Black Monday firing parade and, as expected, some of the names connected to the openings will cause some level of discomfort for college football programs.

With Leslie Frazier out in Minnesota, Doug Farrar of SportsIllustrated.com writes that “[t]he Vikings are said to prefer a college coach, perhaps to assist in future drafts.”  Specifically, Farrar mentions Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin and Vanderbilt’s James Franklin as possible replacements for Frazier in the Twin Cities.

The fact that Sumlin and Franklin are mentioned as possibilities for other jobs is far from surprising, although the latter’s name coming up in connection to an NFL job is, at minimum, eyebrow raising.

Sumlin agreed to a new contract late last month that would seemingly keep him off-limits to other college football programs.  The NFL, though, is another matter entirely — depending on the buyout language in his new deal, of course — and is the cause of the most concern around College Station when it comes to Sumlin and his long-term future with the Aggies.  Already over this coaching carousel cycle, Sumlin was tied to speculation regarding the open Houston Texans job.  If the Dallas Cowboys make a change at head coach, you can expect Sumlin’s name to come up there, too.

Over the past couple of months, Franklin has been mentioned as a contender for jobs at USC and Texas, and could still be in play for the latter as the Longhorns continue their search for Mack Brown‘s replacement.  The connection to an NFL job, however, has plowed new speculative ground when it comes to Franklin.

In the nation’s Capitol, the Washington Redskins finally and mercifully put the Mike Shanahan era down and is in search of a new coach.  ESPN‘s Adam Schefter tweeted shortly thereafter that the “Redskins inquired through [a] third party about David Shaw.”  Earlier this month, it was reported that Shaw was showing no interest in the NFL and would remain at Stanford.

With quarterback Robert Griffin III the (likely) future of the organization on the field, you can expect speculation to continue regarding Baylor’s Art Briles.  Briles helped turn RGIII into a Heisman winner and second-overall draft pick during their time together with the Bears, with the thought process being Redskins’ ownership will target Briles as a way to continue building around the second-year player.

Another area of concern for college football fans, specifically those in Happy Valley, is Cleveland.

Sunday night, the Browns were asinine decisive enough to cut ties with Rob Chudzinski after just one season.  Penn State’s Bill O’Brien has already been mentioned as a possibility, and for good reason.  Last year, O’Brien interviewed for the Browns’ vacancy and could’ve had the job had he been so inclined.  The Browns are expected to pursue O’Brien again this year — provided another NFL club doesn’t get to him first.

Over the weekend, it was reported that talks between O’Brien and the Texans had intensified to the point where the two sides are working on a contract.

ECU won’t be hiring ex-Purdue interim HC charged with drunk driving

WEST LAFAYETTE, IN - NOVEMBER 19: Interim coach Gerad Parker of the Purdue Boilermakers looks on against the Wisconsin Badgers in the second quarter of the game at Ross-Ade Stadium on November 19, 2016 in West Lafayette, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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An off-field incident involving alcohol has unofficially cost an assistant coach a job.

It had been reported that Gerad Parker, who served as Purdue’s interim head coach last season, decided to leave his new job at Cincinnati to take another at East Carolina. That reported move was complicated after reports surfaced that, following a going-away party in West Lafayette early Tuesday morning, the coach was pulled over and charged with operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated.

Parker had been expected to take over the wide receivers coach job at ECU; Wednesday, multiple reports indicated that the Pirates are moving on from the coach in light of the recent development.

In a tweet that has since been deleted from his Twitter account, Parker apologized. “I’m sorry to all my friends and family,” the coach wrote. “Thanks to all that have reached out and shown support.”

Parker would’ve replaced Phil McGeoghan, who left ECU in late January for a job with the Buffalo Bills. ECU’s search for a replacement will continue.

Kentucky OC Eddie Gran gets contract extension and raise

LEXINGTON, KY - AUGUST 30:  The Kentucky Wildcats take the field before the game against the Tennessee- Martin Skyhawks at Commonwealth Stadium on August 30, 2014 in Lexington, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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After making some changes to the coaching staff this offseason, Kentucky is locking in offensive coordinator Eddie Gran for the next few seasons. Kentucky has signed Gran to a contract extension good through the 2019 season, according to The Courier-Journal.

According to the reported contract extension, Gran will be paid $825,000 in the 2017 season and will be given a $25,000 raise each of the next two seasons. A buyout cost of $150,000 per years is also added to the contract should he leave for another job during that span. Gran was originally under contract through the 2018 season, so his new deal tacks on an extra year in Lexington. The extended contract also bumps Gran’s pay by $175,000 compared to his previous contract.

Kentucky may have finished the 2017 season ranked 9th in the SEC in total scoring, but the Wildcats bumped up their average points per game by roughly six points in 2016 compared to the 2015 season. Kentucky also had the SEC’s third-most productive rushing attack with an average of 234.15 rushing yards per game and 30 rushing touchdowns. Only Auburn and Alabama had better averages and touchdown totals (and Alabama had two more games to pad the stats).

Kentucky has room to improve in the passing game after finishing the 2016 season ranked 13th in passing offense in the 14-team SEC. Kentucky also had an SEC-high 28 turnovers lost in 2016, with 16 fumbles and 12 interceptions thrown.

Gran joined the Kentucky program last year after a three-year stint at Cincinnati as offensive coordinator. Gran has previously been an assistant at Florida State, Tennessee, Auburn, and Ole Miss as well.

Nebraska WR coach Keith Williams sentenced to 30 days in jail for August DUI

LINCOLN, NE - SEPTEMBER 22: A cheerleader waves a flag after the Nebraska Cornhuskers score against the Idaho State Bengals during their game at Memorial Stadium on September 22, 2012 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Nebraska won 73-7. (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)
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Nebraska wide receivers coach Keith Williams pled no contest to charges from a DUI incident last August. On Wednesday, he received his sentence from a county judge and learned he would be sentenced to 30 days in jail and three years of probation.

According to The Lincoln Journal-Star, Williams was also fined $1,000 for his latest DUI charge. Williams has until March 3 to apply for house arrest, although prosecutors made a push for Williams to serve his time behind bars after not being locked up for two prior DUI charges.

Nebraska opens spring football practices on March 4. If he is ruled eligible for house arrest, that would allow Williams to continue coaching in the spring. Otherwise, he could have to miss at least some of Nebraska’s spring practices depending on when his jail sentence would begin.

Williams was pulled over for driving under the influence last August with a BAC above .15. Further complicating things was the fact Williams also had two previous convictions for DUI. Nebraska head coach Mike Riley suspended Williams without pay through the end of August and was prohibited from coaching in Nebraska’s first four games of the 2016 season.

Michigan adds former Hawaii defensive cooridnator Kevin Lempa as defensive analyst

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Former Hawaii defensive coordinator Kevin Lempa has landed in Ann arbor with a new job. Michigan announced Lempa has joined the staff as a senior defensive analyst under Jim Harbaugh and defensive coordinator Don Brown.

“Kevin is a great addition to our football program and defensive staff,” said Harbaugh in a released statement. “He adds a wealth of experience and knowledge on the defensive side of the ball, and Kevin’s working relationship with Coach (Don) Brown will be a big asset for our team.”

“I am very excited and honored to become part of Coach Harbaugh’s staff,” Lempa said in his released statement. “I am also fired up to be working with Coach Brown again.”

Lempa resigned from his position with the Hawaii program following the 2016 season. He previously served as a defensive backs coach at Boston College from 2013 through 2015, when Brown was the defensive coordinator of the Eagles.

As a defensive analyst, Lempa will not have any hands-on instruction with the Michigan roster but will assist in film breakdown and other orders of business in preparing Michigan’s game plan.