One FBS program has already lost its head coach to the professional ranks. Now, it could be an SEC school that’s forced to initiate its own search for a replacement. Reportedly.
Wednesday morning, Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com reported that the Cleveland Browns are “very interested” in Auburn’s Gus Malzahn and Vanderbilt’s James Franklin as it conducts yet another search for a head coach. The Browns also reportedly had an interest in Penn State’s Bill O’Brien, who is leaving the Nittany Lions to take the Houston Texans job.
Late last year, the Browns had interviewed O’Brien and Oregon’s Chip Kelly for their vacancy before settling on Rob Chudzinski, who was fired after just one year.
In this latest spinning of the coaching carousel, Franklin has also been mentioned in connection to the Minnesota Vikings opening. Since late September, Franklin has seen his name tied to openings at USC and Texas; with O’Brien gone, Franklin is being rumored as a possibility at Penn State as well.
This is the first time that Malzahn, who will lead the Tigers into the BCS title game Monday night, has been tied to an NFL job. Earlier this month, Malzahn was given a raise and a contract extension after leading AU to an 11-win season coming off just three wins in 2012.
La Canfora wrote that the Browns “are doing arduous legwork on Malzahn and Franklin, and are very intrigued by them,” adding that “Malzahn is actually the most likely of the group to land the position, though the process is still very much in its early stages.”
The writer also makes note of the fact that Browns owner Jimmy Haslam is a University of Tennessee alum and a prominent UT booster. And, for what it’s worth, both Malzahn and Franklin are represented by super-agent Jimmy Sexton.
Thursday may have been a high point for the Texas Tech football program upon learning that former quarterback Patrick Mahomes was taken in the top 10 of the 2017 NFL Draft.
On Friday afternoon though, the Red Raiders dipped right back down as star wide receiver Jonathan Giles took to Twitter to announce that he was leaving the program and transferring out of Lubbock.
Giles was a Biletnikoff Award semifinalist a season ago after catching 69 passes for 1,158 yards and 13 touchdowns. Those numbers led the team in each category despite trailing off a bit down the stretch as Tech missed out on a bowl game.
Playing time could have been a big factor in the decision to leave the program as both Cameron Batson and Keke Coutee emerged as the top receiving targets and Giles was relegated to second-team status coming out of spring practice.
Tech’s Air Raid system and NFL quarterbacks had a lot to do with Giles’ big numbers but it’s fairly rare to see such highly touted and productive wideouts hit the transfer markets. While the decision probably isn’t what some Red Raiders fans wanted to hear on Friday, the receiver probably won’t be lacking for options when it comes to his next stop.
Bad news in college football is typically reserved for Friday and it appears the Pitt Panthers just got a taste of some.
Per Pittsburgh Tribune-Review beat writer Jerry DiPaola, head coach Pat Narduzzi has dismissed starting defensive tackle Jeremiah Taleni for disciplinary reasons.
Taleni emerged as a starter down the stretch for the Panthers and will be a big loss up front for the team as they already have to replace the stellar production from the soon-to-be-drafted Ejuan Price.
No further comments were given when the school confirmed the news so it might be a while before we find out what led to Taleni’s dismissal and whether he plays college football at all next season.
Michigan’s trip to Rome this past week has probably not delighted fans of Michigan State and Ohio State but between the uniqueness of the whole thing to Jim Harbaugh’s antics, it’s been pretty entertaining to everybody else on this side of the pond.
Case in point on Friday, where Harbaugh and the team wrapped up their second-to-last practice in Italy. The Wolverines apparently went to the opera the night prior and let’s just say the old head coach could not get the experience out of his system.
He is seriously singing that with unbridled joy like a 10 year old. He probably won’t get many auditions based on those pipes but hey, Harbaugh’s gig is pretty good as is.
Michigan wasn’t done after that though, as the entire team went to gladiator training later in the afternoon. There, you guessed, Harbaugh decided to fight somebody and in this case, that would be the Wolverines’ offensive coordinator Tim Drevno.
All things considered, probably best that Harbaugh and company stick to sports more well known back in Michigan.
Another day, another Twitter missive signaling a departure.
On the social media website Friday, Peyton Aucoin indicated that, “after lengthy discussions,” he has decided to transfer from Texas. “I wish nothing but the best for the Longhorn Nation and I will always have a special place in my heart for the fans,” the redshirt freshman wrote.
Aucoin stated that he has been given a release from his UT scholarship, but it does come with restrictions. He will not be permitted to transfer to any member of the Big 12 as well as any team on the Longhorns’ non-conference schedule the next two years. Those schools would include Maryland and USC in 2017 and 2018, as well as San Jose State (2017) and Tulsa (2018).
A three-star member of the Longhorns’ 2016 recruiting class, Aucoin was rated as the No. 48 tight end in the country and the No. 47 player at any position in the state of Louisiana. The 6-4, 243-pounder took a redshirt as a true freshman.