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Report: Vanderbilt Search Down To Two Names; (Update) Mason Hired

Search button 2Are Stanford’s Derek Mason and Clemson’s Chad Morris the two finalists for the head coaching job at Vanderbilt?  A report out Thursday by 24/7 sports indicated that Morris, Clemson’s offensive coordinator, was “gaining significant traction” and indicated that Mason, Stanford’s defensive coordinator, “was the name to beat.” The National Football Post agrees with the Mason assessment, calling him the “top choice” to replace Franklin. Other reports back Mason as the favorite – see here and herealso here.

Sentiment is not as uniform on Morris’ chances to land the job.   “After talking with a source in Nashville this morning, we don’t believe Morris is going anywhere,” says the Clemson Rivals site.

Meanwhile, in Nashville, Vanderbilt A.D. David Williams says the search is not over.  When will it be done? “I hope soon, but until we find a coach we still have some things we have to do and people to talk to.” In addition to Morris and Mason, other names linked to the search include St. Louis Rams offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer and  Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton.  Both Hamilton and Mason reportedly interviewed on Thursday. Bruce Feldman says Hamilton has taken his name out of consideration.

The man the new coach will be replacing has reportedly taken several of his assistants with him to Penn State.  Six of James Franklin’s assistants still on the payroll at Vanderbilt resigned Thursday morning, according to The Tennessean.  

Update: 24/7 Sports says Mason will be named the coach but “no details on when it will be announced.”  Citing sources, Bruce Feldman says job was offered to Pep Hamilton but he decided to stay with the Colts.

Update II: Vanderbilt has hired Mason.

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SEC Headlines 12/16/2013

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1. Nick Saban’s new annual salary is higher than the budget of 12 Division I athletic departments.

2. Texas president Bill Powers on the Saban-to-Texas talk: “So all of those rumors — the lunches, the meetings — they are simply groundless.”

3. Vanderbilt’s James Franklin and Auburn’s Gus Malzahn are two coaches Bruce Feldman expects to be considered for the Texas job.

4. Johnny Manziel’s Heisman Trophy Ballot: 1. Jameis Winston, 2. Andre Williams, 3. himself.

5. Linebacker Cassanova McKinzy has worked on becoming a run-stopper for Auburn’s defense.

6. Here are 10 things to know about Iowa as LSU prepares to play the Hawkeyes in the Outback Bowl.

7. Mississippi State held its third bowl practice Sunday in preparation for Rice. Here are few shots from practice.

8. Quarterback Tyler Murphy has decided to transfer from Florida rather than battle Jeff Driskel for the starting position.

9. Improved health at tackle will be important as Florida tries to improve offensively next season.

10. Steve Spurrier expects South Carolina to have plenty of motivation for its bowl game.

11. Missouri has plenty to prove when it plays Oklahoma State. Left tackle Justin Britt: “You know, the story ain’t over. There’s still stuff to be written.”

SEC Basketball

12. Missouri escaped with a 66-60 win over Western Michigan Sunday night. Video Highlights

13. Guard Ky Madden has become a confident scorer for Arkansas.

14. “This Kentucky basketball team was overhyped,” writes John Clay.

15. The start is disappointing, but don’t be too hard on Kentucky, writes Gary Parrish.

16. Freshman Luke Kornet is adjusting to a new role for Vanderbilt.

Extra

17. Mack Brown had a classy exit as he announced his resignation from Texas.

18. Brown will be remembered as a legend, writes Dennis Dodd.

19. Stanford coach David Shaw won’t pursue any NFL jobs, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

20.  Michigan State is preparing to play the underdog role when it faces Stanford in the Rose Bowl.

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With Mack Brown Out, Who’s Next At Texas? Plenty Of SEC Names Being Mentioned

silhouette-question-markThe race is on at Texas to replace Mack Brown.  The longtime Longhorns coach announced Saturday night he’s stepping down after 16 years. Brown will coach Texas in the Alamo Bowl against Oregon.

With Brown officially out, the speculation begins about the next coach. Plenty of SEC names being mentioned with two coaches – Auburn’s Gus Malzahn and Vanderbilt’s James Franklin – featured prominently in many lists.

The Houston Chronicle throws out a list of candidates that includes Malzahn and Franklink along with Alabama’s Kirby Smart and Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze.

Bruce Feldman at CBSSports.com mentions both Franklin and Malzahn as potential candidates.  Yes, Malzahn has recently agreed to an extension “but it is worth noting that most coaches agree to deals but often don’t immediately sign the contracts for weeks and even months, and even if they do, there are often manageable buyouts,” writes Feldman. The University of Texas paper also has  a list that includes Malzahn and Franklin.

Over at USA Today, Paul Myerberg doesn’t mention Franklin but does consider Malzahn.  ” Here’s what makes Malzahn so appealing: his offense. The idea of teaming the Longhorns’ athletes and the type of recruits in Texas with Malzahn’s up-tempo system is exciting, to put it lightly.”

At Sports Illustrated, Andy Staples’  list doesn’t feature Malzahn but includes Franklin.  ”Imagine what he could do with the athletes he’d get at Texas. Franklin would be excellent on the Longhorn Network as well.”

 Here’s a list at Foxsports.com that not only includes Malzahn and Franklin but also Alabama coach Nick Saban, LSU coach Les Miles and Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin with a mention of Florida coach Will Muschamp.

Of course, Saban just signed an extension at Alabama that will pay him around $7 million annually.  He told ESPN.com Saturday, ”I never considered going to Texas. That wasn’t even a conversation.”

Finally, here’s some perspective on the coaching search from Yahoo! Sports Dan Wetzel.  ”Alabama offered Rich Rodriguez its job before having to “settle” on Saban.”

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SEC Headlines 5/22/2013

headlines-wedSEC Football

1. Les Miles bid to end permanent opposite-division rivals finds a backer in Matt Hayes: “Auburn, LSU and Florida are impacted most by the SEC’s standing scheduling rule of one permanent opponent from the opposite division.”

2. Seven Auburn signees have arrived on campus and enrolled in school.  Remaining 13 signees expected to enroll over the summer

3. Auburn fullback Jay Prosch is 6-foot, 259 pounds and has 5.9 percent body fat.

4. Prosch makes Bruce Feldman’s annual “Freak List”.  No. 1? South Carolina’s Jadeveon Clowney.

5. Incoming Georgia freshman Shaun McGee on saying no to Nick Saban: “Anything he says to you, you’re kind of in awe because you’re like ‘Man, this is a really powerful guy.’ He was really hard to say ‘no’ to.”

6. Why sophomore kicker Marshall Morgan is one Georgia’s ten most important players this season.

7. What kind of impact can Ole Miss expect from senior offensive tackle Derrick Wilson.

SEC/College News

8. Longtime Vanderbilt booster John Rich dead at the age of 85.

9. Assessment of Tennessee A.D. Dave Hart: So far, so good.

10. Paul Finebaum headed to Charlotte to join ESPN.

11. Appeals court revives lawsuit by former Rutgers football player against video game maker Electronic Arts.

SEC Basketball

12. Vanderbilt A.D. David Williams asked about coach Kevin Stallings reportedly blocking Sheldon Jeter from transferring to Pittsburgh.  ”We, as an administrative body, stay out of the middle of that. I don’t investigate that. I don’t ask about it.”

13. LSU assistant coach Robert Kirby has resigned to take a similar job at Memphis.  Kirby had spent one-year at LSU, bulk of his career at Mississippi State.

Extras

14. “Joebots” trying to drive Bill O’Brien out of Penn State?

15. Memphis the favorite to host conference tournament for new AAC conference.

16. Hotdog, popcorn, or a glass of Merlot? University of Toledo wants to add beer and wine to its concession stand menu.

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SEC Headlines 5/12/2012

1. Harvey Updyke shows up for an SEC softball game and gets ejected.

2. Bruce Feldman explains his Bobby Petrino to Kentucky idea.

3. Williams-Brice Stadium will have a different look this fall.

4. Mike Anderson: “At UAB in our second year, we made the Sweet 16. My second year at Missouri, we made the Sweet 16. The, the third year, the Elite 8. See where we’re headed here?”

5. New Mexico assistant Ryan Miller joins the basketball staff at Mizzou.

6. Former Kentucky player Sean Woods is now the basketball coach at Morehead State.

7. Which early season basketball tournament looks to have the strongest field next season?

8. SEC baseball becoming more like SEC football – dominant.

Extras

9. If Texas said yes to West Virginia, would it really say no to Boise?

10. 50 years later, NBA legend Don Nelson finally gets his college diploma.

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Malzahn’s Name Already Connected To UNC Opening

In addition to messageboard posters and Bleacher Reports bloggers, the scribes at ESPN are among the first to connect Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn to the now vacant head coaching job at North Carolina.

Bruce Feldman put together a list of six hot candidates for the job and Malzahn’s name is at the top.  (Feldman’s list is viewable by subscription only, but Chris Low gives an overview.

UNC will go through the 2011 season with an interim leader, so you can bet Tar Heel fans will keep an eye toward Auburn’s rebuilt offense this fall.  If Malzahn’s system can put up big numbers after losing Cam Newton and a talented offensive line, there’s no question he’ll be able to write his own check — if he decides to — by season’s end.

Also on Feldman’s list of UNC possibilities: Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart.

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Newton Wins Over ESPN’s Dilfer At Workout

Cam Newton’s workout for the media in San Diego today was impressive enough to win over ESPN’s Trent Dilfer.  Granted, Dilfer is just one man, but if more people — people who actually have a say on draft day — eventually see what Dilfer saw today, Newton figures to be a very rich man whenever the NFL starts playing football again.

“That was phenomenal,” Dilfer told fellow ESPN’er Bruce Feldman.  “If scouts saw this they’d have been slobbering.”  Dilfer has become one of the network’s top analysts and is credited with being Jawoski-esque in his film studies.  So when he says Newton’s “mechanics are so sound” and “The ball just jumps off his hands” and “He made 30 big time throws,” it’s a very good sign for the Newton camp.

“It was really one of the most phenomenal personal workouts I have ever seen.” 

Okay, Trent.  We get it.

“He cut the ball through the wind.”

We get it.

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