College coaching carousel has stopped for now, but NFL just getting started


With Michigan hiring Jim Harbaugh to be the next head coach of the Wolverines, the college football coaching carousel, as far as head coaches are concerned, seems to have come to a stop for the 2014-2015 cycle. Unless any head coaches are going to take on a lesser role at another program (unlikely, but not unprecedented), we should be set for coaching changes this year unless the NFL has something to say about it.

The coaching carousel is just getting started up in the NFL, with a total of six head coaching vacancies to fill between the Atlanta Falcons, Buffalo Bills, Chicago Bears, New York Jets, Oakland Raiders, and the Harbaugh-less San Francisco 49ers. Will any of these six NFL franchises find their next head coach from a college program? This is by no means unprecedented.

Last January saw Bill O’Brien leave Penn State for the Houston Texans. The previous January (2012) saw Chip Kelly leave Oregon for the Philadelphia Eagles and Syracuse lose Doug Marrone to the Buffalo Bills (Marrone just opted out of his contract with the Bills after two seasons, while Kelly has been given a nice boost in job status). Each of those hires happened after it looked as though the dust had settled on the coaching carousel for those respective seasons. So the question looms; will any current college football coaches pack up and leave the college ranks for a shot at NFL glory, in hopes of being the next Pete Carroll?

With the NFL coaching searches and interviews starting to heat up along with the constant coaching rumor mill that powers the carousel, there have been few discussions about college coaches being considered for NFL head coaching jobs outside of hypothetical conversations about potential options (Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly, Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn). One coach that has been connected to a possible opening is UCLA head coach Jim Mora.

The New York Jets reportedly reached out to Mora about a possible buyout terms with his contract at UCLA. The San Francisco vacancy would seem to make sense as well, if the 49ers had any interest. Mora seemed to burn out in the NFL with his stints with the Atlanta Falcons and Seattle Seahawks, but UCLA reignited a spark under Mora’s leadership. With UCLA’s resurgence in the past few seasons, Mora’s stock as a head coach has gone up, even with some questionable acts along the way.

With Mora being the only college name attached to any of the coaching vacancy rumors at this point might suggest the dust will be able to settle on this year’s college coaching carousel, but until the final spot is filled in the NFL there will be no guarantees. The process of hiring a new coach in the NFL can take some time due to rules like the Rooney Rule being put in place and teams needing to ask for permission from franchisees with coaches currently in the playoffs, but the lack of search firms being hired can make the process more streamlined in the NFL.

Mizzou confirms Eli Drinkwitz will retain Brick Haley

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After a run on bringing in assistants from Boone, Eli Drinkwitz has gotten about the business of retention in Columbia.

In a press release, Missouri confirmed that Drinkwitz has decided to retain Brick Haley as part of his first coaching staff with the football program.  Haley wil continue on as the Tigers’ defensive line coach, and will carry the title of assistant head coach as well.

“In my short time of being around Brick I know him to be a man of high character who gets the most out of his players,” said Drinkwitz in a statement. “His wealth of knowledge with the defensive line is exactly what we’re looking for to motivate young men.”

Haley has spent the past three seasons with the Tigers.  Prior to that, he was the line coach at Texas (2015-16), LSU (2009-14) and Mississippi State (2004-06) at the collegiate level.

From 2007-08, Haley was the line coach for the NFL’s Chicago Bears.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to continue at Mizzou and I’m excited to work with Coach Drink and his staff,” said Haley. “Our family loves Mizzou and being part of the Columbia community, so we’re thrilled to keep stakes in the ground here and I’m looking forward to getting to work on doing great things.”

Alex Hornibrook no longer with Florida State

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It seems Alex Hornibrook‘s college career is complete.

Florida State interim head coach Odell Haggins said on Saturday that Hornibrook is no longer with the Seminoles as the club prepares for the Sun Bowl

He will join (former) teammate Cam Akers in that regard.

A graduate transfer from Wisconsin, Hornibrook appeared in five games this season. His peak as a Seminole came on Sept. 28, when he completed 29-of-40 passes for 316 yards with three touchdowns and no picks. For the year, Hornibrook hit 84-of-122 throws for 986 yards with seven scores versus two picks.

In three years at Wisconsin, Hornibrook threw for 5,438 yards and 47 touchdowns.

SMU WR Reggie Roberson, Jr., to return for senior season

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SMU wide receiver Reggie Roberson, Jr., will return for his senior season in 2020, he announced earlier this week.

Roberson did so through a statement that at first read as if he would leave the Hilltop. “In the past couple of weeks, it has come to my attention that I am able to forgo my senior year and enter the NFL draft. I want to thank Coach Dykes for giving me the opportunity to come to SMU, and play the game I love in my hometown in front of my family and friends,” it began.

However, like a a classic Roberson open field move, he quickly changed directions and sprinted toward opportunity. “I have decided to come back and play my senior year at SMU. There is a lot of unfinished business that I left on the field that I need to take care of next season.”

A native of DeSoto, Texas, just south of Dallas, Roberson was one of SMU’s top players before he was lost to a foot injury in October. He caught 11 passes for 180 yards in the Ponies’ opening week win over Arkansas State and hauled in eight passes for 250 yards and three touchdowns in a 45-21 drubbing of Temple on Oct. 19.

For the year, Roberson caught 43 passes for 803 yards and six touchdowns over seven-plus games. Spread over a 13-game season, he was on pace to end the year in the neighborhood of 80 receptions for 1,500 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Roberson originally signed with West Virginia out of high school.

Zack Moss to play in Alamo Bowl

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It’s become A Thing ever since Christian McCaffrey bailed on Stanford for that Sun Bowl: Draft eligible players announcing whether or not their prep for the next level begins for or after their team’s upcoming bowl game.

For Utah running back Zack Moss, that will begin after the Alamo Bowl.

“I just wanted to play with my guys,” Moss told KSL Sports. “That was one of the reasons why I wanted to come back was to play with these guys and I definitely want to finish it off. I am healthy enough to play and that’s exactly what I want to do.

“I love this team, I love the program, coaching, fans and community, so why not give everyone one last game.”

Moss’s teammate Jaylon Johnson previously announced he will skip the game.

The senior will look to polish off a career in which he’s carried for 4,010 yards and 38 touchdowns.

No. 11 Utah will close the career of Moss and backfield mate Tyler Huntley opposite Texas on Dec. 31 (7:30 p.m., ESPN).