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The Heat Rises For Coaches Chizik, Dooley, Phillips And Smith

If you were an SEC coach on a hot or warming seat on Saturday… it was not the best day for you.  Bad losses, losses and near losses were the order of the day and fan reaction hasn’t been great at Arkansas, Auburn, Kentucky and Tennessee as a result.

Gene Chizik and his Tigers got a much, much needed win, but it came in overtime against Louisiana-Monroe.  And Auburn didn’t lose their Heisman-candidate quarterback against the Warhawks as Arkansas had a week earlier.  In other words, Auburn’s near-loss at home to ULM didn’t come with a caveat.  Matter of fact, in hindsight how important was a final-play-of-the-first-half 33-yard prayer of a pass for a touchdown?  If Chizik wanted to get all of the AU faithful believing again, Saturday’s contest likely failed to do the trick.  The Tigers don’t seem to be making great strides from week to week, either.  Yes, there was some improvement on Saturday, but how much of that can be attributed to the opponent?  Auburn faces LSU next.  That Louisiana-based squad figures to be a just a few notches better than the bunch from Monroe.  It could be another rough week for Mister Chizik.

Derek Dooley at Tennessee was a victim of hype.  Long-suffering Tennessee fans who’d seen their team lose 20 of 26 games against ranked foes dating back to 2005 were bolstered by UT’s first national ranking since preseason 2008 and Florida’s spotty play in two games against Bowling Green and Texas A&M.  ESPN’s “College GameDay” rolled into Knoxville.  Kirk Herbstreit and company said the Vols were trying to become relevant again, but ESPN’s mere presence signaled to many a UT supporter that the team was back already.  During the week, Knoxville’s police department even warned fans not to rush the field if UT won.  Well, Tennessee didn’t win.  In fact, they got romped in the second half by the Gators just as they have so many times over the last eight years.  When you make Frankie Hammond look like Percy Harvin, you’ve got issues on defense.  And the only thing worse than disappointing people hoping for a victory is disappointing people expecting a victory.  From this vantage point, Dooley’s Vols still look to be the 7-5, 8-4 type squad that most projected before the season.  But hopes had gotten so high so fast on Rocky Top that Saturday’s loss has turned the heat on UT’s coach all the way back up to 11.  (Yeah, I’m a “This is Spinal Tap” fan.)

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Arkansas’ Smith At The Podium – 7/18/12

This one might be pretty entertaining.  John L. Smith steps to the mic to discuss his appointment as Arkansas’ interim coach.  Smith is a colorful guy off the field.  Throw in the fact that he’ll likely be asked about Bobby Petrino’s downfall, his own recent money woes, his shaky job status and the way he left his alma mater, Weber State, after just a few months on the job and you could have the best presser of Media Days.

We shall see…

* Smith talks about the great opportunity before him and calls “Hog nation” among the best fanbases in the country.

* Smith says adversity will make Arkansas’ team stronger.

* Smith said the welcome he got from Razorback fans led him to “wipe away tears.”  “We all have to relish our position in this program.”

* The coach says UA’s goal is still to win the BCS title.

* Asked if he wants to be the Arkansas coach beyond this year, Smith exclaimed: “Certainly.  Do I look stupid?!”  Asked if he had to go 14-0 to keep that job, Smith said that’s up to the athletic director.

* Smith says pressure has to roll off his players’ backs like water off a duck’s back.

* Smith says Missouri is a natural, geographical rival for Arkansas.  “To me it’s an automatic.  Now we get to develop that rivalry.”  He also said, “I see that developing into a big rivalry for us.”

* The coach said that his decision to leave Weber State was simply a matter of weighing options.  When one door opens, etc.

* Regarding recruiting, Smith says he’s told kids that no coach can guarantee he’ll be back.  “You’re not committing to an individual” is his sell.

* After a rough start — not knowing really how Media Days works and that he wouldn’t be introducing his players today — Smith is really getting fired-up.  His voice will rise depending on the question.  Not in an angry way, but in a pumped up kind of way.

* Smith said his wife updated him on Petrino’s situation, but it wasn’t something that he followed closely “from the outside.”

* He said he was “surprised” and “shocked” by what went down with Petrino.  He said “you pray for them” and hope the issues inside Petrino’s family can be remedied.

* Brandon Mitchell — UA’s backup quarterback — may not be the only Razorback to play a couple of positions this season.  He said fullback Kiero Small may play some linebacker because the Hogs aren’t deep at that position.  Mitchell has been working some at receiver.

* Smith says is LSU/Texas A&M becomes a season-ending game, Missouri/Arkansas would be a good season-ender.

* Smith said he got onto the radar of AD Jeff Long by talking to UA’s assistant coaches after the Petrino scandal broke.

* Smith said he talked to Petrino last week and that it was a good conversation.

* Smith’s high-pitched, loud voice is certainly unique to the league.  It’s a bit like someone stepping on a gas pedal.  He’ll answer for a minute or two in a normal tone and then he’ll get excited and BOOM… the voice goes up.

* Smith bragged on quarterback Tyler Wilson and his leadership abilities.

 

Our overall grad for Smith’s “performance” based on comfort, friendliness, openness… we’ll give him a 4 on a scale of 1-5.  He was friendly.  He was entertaining.  But he also didn’t seem to know how in the world a Media Days session was to work.  He tried to dance around a question about whether or not he approached Arkansas or vice versa, but — as noted above — he eventually gave an answer.  Smith may well lead the Razorbacks to their first SEC title, but we’ve got a feeling that we just saw Smith’s first and last appearance in Hoover.

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Fulmer Would Have ‘Jumped All Over’ Arkansas Job

Former Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer’s name surfaced last month in connection with the Arkansas coaching job after the Razorbacks fired Bobby Petrino.

Doug Matthews – a former Tennessee assistant coach and friend of Fulmer – told WGFX-FM in Nashville that communication had been made by Arkansas with Fulmer, who denied at the time having been contacted by the Razorbacks.

Arkansas, of course, decided to hire John L. Smith, who served as an assistant in Fayetteville from 2009-11 before leaving for a brief stint as Weber State’s head coach.

But Fulmer, who was selected to the College Football Hall of Fame on Tuesday, made it clear he would have been very interested in coaching at Arkansas had the Razorbacks offered him the position.

“The Arkansas job I would have jumped all over,” Fulmer said Tuesday during an interview on WGFX. “That was a really special situation and a really good team and had a chance. And that’s what I’ve said all along – I’m looking for an opportunity you can go compete for championships. At this stage in my career, I’m not looking for a dead end somewhere.

“I miss coaching. I also enjoy time with my family and children and grandchildren and all those things and the business that I’m in. Once you’ve done it for as long as I have, you have a passion for young people and the competition and all those things. You obviously miss it.”

Fulmer, who told WGFX that Arkansas officials spoke to his representatives, said he recognized why the Razorbacks went with Smith.

“I certainly understand the familiarity with John L. was a good thing for them as it turns out and I hope he does well,” Fulmer said.

Fulmer is more than familiar with Tennessee having served as a player, assistant coach and head coach at the school. He was asked if he could see himself returning to the school in an administrative or other role in the future.

“You never say never in the athletics world,” Fulmer said. “Today is kind of more of a day to celebrate what all we accomplished as a staff and as an organization during that time and not really to reflect on what could be somewhere down the road. Tennessee is my school and I love it dearly and the people that had anything to do with my leaving Tennessee are not there any longer and we’ll see what happens.”

Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart appears hopeful that Fulmer’s presence on campus will be more frequent. He was asked Tuesday during the school’s caravan stop if he would like to see Fulmer around the program more often in the future.

“Absolutely, and that’s what I’ve stressed to him,” Hart said.

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Smith Says All The Right Things At Arkansas (Just As He Did At Weber State)

John L. Smith knows exactly what to say at an introductory press conference.  Having been through two of those things in the past five months it’s no surprise that he has the whole thing down to an art.

Meeting the press on his return to Arkansas yesterday — after a blink-and-you-missed-it stint at his alma mater, Weber State — Smith told Razorback fans just what they wanted to hear.  Mainly that championships are still on the table and are still the goal for this year’s bunch of Bobby Petrino-less Hogs:

 

“Our expectations are the same.  Nothing’s going to slow down.  In fact, we’re going to speed up.  Our expectations are that we’re going to go ahead and we’re going to battle and fight for a national title.  It was that way when I walked in the door three years ago and it’s going to continue to be that way…

Everything’s in place here.  You’ve got a good football team.  We’ve got the best fans in the world.  We’ve got great coaches.  Let’s make it a special year.”

 

Somebody give the Governor a harrumph!

In addition to motivating the Razorback fanbase, Smith touched on a few other topics…

 

* He spoke of his love of adventure and new challenges:  “If there is a door open, walk through it.  If there’s a window open, jump out of it. I guess I’ve always been a little that way.”  (Folks in Ogden can now attest to that.  Sounds like Jeff Long’s found the perfect stable, dependable replacement for a guy like Petrino.)

* He seemed eager to share some of the blame for his quick Weber State exit with his wife:  “I said, ‘This decision’s yours.  She said, ‘Here’s the deal.  You’re going back to people that love you.  You’re going back to a team that is a good football team and you have a chance to fight for a national championship.’  She said, ‘This might be the only chance you have left.’  So she said, ‘You’re going back’ and here I am.”  (Smith did not say that his wife at any point said to him, “Tough noogies to the nimrods who put their faith in you at Weber State,” but that sure seems to have been her sentiment.)

* After admitting that he’s looking for redemption — after being fired by Michigan State in 2006 — he made it clear that he feels there’s a chance he could land the Razorback job long-term:  ”We’ll have to wait and see.  Only the season is going to dictate that.”

 

Smith said all this while wearing a slick set of cowboy boots.  At one point he called a television personality “fat and sloppy.”  And he also intentionally mispronounced the name of Arkansas tailback Knile Davis.

It was either an oddball ending to an oddball month for Razorback football or the oddball beginning to what could be a helluva football season.  Hog fans will obviously hope for the latter.  And from purely a football sense, Long seems to have tabbed the one man for the interim gig who could calm fans, unite the players, and keep the existing assistants on his side.

Win, win and win.

Still, I want to toss a little credit in the direction of the Razorback fanbase today.  While they’ll be cheering wildly for Smith to capture a conference and/or national crown this fall — as they should, he’s the coach of their football program after all — most seem to realize that he pulled a pretty cruel stunt on the administration, assistants and players at Weber State.  The defense of Smith’s actions has been muted at best.  And that is probably for the best.  Defending the way in which he nuked his alma mater would have just given Hog fans a reputation for being blind to all but their own their own school’s issues.

As it stands, it appears that most Hog backers are for Smith to succeed… even though they know he didn’t bathe himself in glory by departing Ogden, Utah as he did.

Kudos to them.  Best of luck to him.

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John L. Smith Introduced At Arkansas

Saying “we’re gonna play for a national title,” John L. Smith was formally introduced as the new football coach at Arkansas this afternoon.

Smith, who had recently left a job as an assistant at Arkansas to become head coach at Weber State, said he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to guide a team he helped mold.

The new coach got a 10-month, $850,000 contract and by one account, “hit the ground running” today in a style dramatically different than the “clammed-up Bobby Petrino.”

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Hogs Turn To Smith; Smith Turns On Alma Mater; Some Turn On Hogs And Smith

In the end, Arkansas AD Jeff Long both followed our prescription for filling his 2012 coaching vacancy and he didn’t.  He went with an interim coach who knows his team and most of the current staff, yes.  But he also went outside the current staff to bring that man back into the fold.  And that last part has moved Long into the “goat” category barely three weeks after he’d been placed in the “hero” zone by most national pundits.

When news broke yesterday that ex-Razorback special teams coach — and Bobby Petrino mentor — John L. Smith would be returning to Arkansas as the Hogs’ 2012 interim coach, like many folks I said: “Now, why didn’t I think of that?”  Well, because I always forget that taking a job as a college coach means absolutely and completely nothing to most coaches if another, better gig comes open tomorrow.

Coaches speak of trust when they talk to recruits and their parents.  But you can’t trust these guys.

Coaches speak of putting players first.  ”It’s about the kids.”  My left foot.  It’s never about the kids.  It’s about moving up the food chain.  Better jobs, more money.  Period.  End of story.

Coaches speak of loyalty.  But that’s a load of hooey, too.  Most players have to break through the Siegfried Line to transfer from a school, but a coach can pull up stakes a year or half-year into a job.  Even if they’ve just landed at their beloved alma mater:

 

“Number One, I’ve always had a place in my heart for Weber State.  You do that naturally. That’s your school, that’s where you graduated from, so that fondness, that love is always with you. And again, to come back to run your own program as a head coach again is crucial for me. This hopefully can serve as an opportunity for me to give back something to the university.”

 

That’s what Smith said last December — less than five months ago — when he left Arkansas to take the head coaching job at Weber State.  He asked his players to buy in this spring.  In February he asked new players to sign on.  Now, he’s darted out of Ogden, Utah quicker than you can say, “So long, suckers.”

The Smith Era at Weber State makes Lane Kiffin’s tenure at Tennessee appear downright Paterno-esque.  And to top it all off, Long made extra effort yesterday to point out that Smith called him.  It wasn’t the other way around.  Smith wanted the hell out of Dodge (Ogden).  Unless there’s some agreement for him to wear a WSU pin on his Razorback gear this fall — so he can tell the poor Weber State saps who hired him that they’ll be getting great pub all season — the “L” in his name must stand for Liar.  Or Loser.  Or Louse.  Or Leaving.

Maybe in Utah he should just go by John M. Smith with the M standing for Mud.

In Fayetteville, all is a cardinal hue of rosy this morning.  Naturally, some will scream that everyone’s just out to get Smith and Long ’cause they must hate the Hogs.  That would ignore the fact that Long was the man of the hour when he did what most viewed to be the right thing — the surprising thing — in dumping Petrino earlier this month.

Let’s tackle this thing from all angles…

 

If you’re Arkansas, why go with Smith?

That’s easy.  He knows all the players but the incoming freshmen, has worked with all the coaches on the staff (aside from Paul Haynes and Taver Johnson), and he understands the Arkansas job after spending three years on Petrino’s staff.  Long has grabbed a guy with big-time head coaching experience (good at Louisville, not so good at Michigan State) and avoided bringing in a true outsider all in one swoop.  On paper, it’s 90% positive.  (More about that other 10% three questions down.)

 

If you’re Smith, why ditch Weber State for Arkansas?

Smith is 63 and wanted to be a head coach again.  He wanted it so badly he took a head coaching gig at the FCS level.  Now he has a shot at an SEC title or maybe even a national crown.  He’s taking over a consensus Top 10 team.  If he wants to continue coaching, doing well at Arkansas will get him noticed a helluva lot quicker than anything he could have done at Weber State.

Also, we don’t know what Smith found when he arrived in Ogden, Utah last December.  To be fair, maybe he found that promises made to him by the folks who hired him were not going to be kept.  Perhaps there were personality conflicts between himself and his new boss.  Maybe there were family concerns.

Judging, however, from the comments of the folks Smith turned his back on, none of that seems to be the case.

The Salt Lake City Tribune says today Smith “jilts” Weber State.  WSU athletic director Jerry Bovee was clearly ticked in his quotes to the paper.  ”This is not a good time to hire a new football coach.  I was surprised, disappointed.  By the same token, this is a business — sometimes a cold business.”

Smith has now put Bovee in the crosshairs of many Weber State fans, but if the man didn’t care about his assistant coaches or his players you can be sure he doesn’t care about the guy who hired him.

Columnist Kurt Kragthorpe of The Tribune calls Smith’s move is an “insult to Weber State.”  He writes that Smith “can say anything he wants regarding his feelings for Arkansas,” but “Weber State is the only school that deserves such loyalty” from the man who just betrayed it.

Speaking of Smith’ ex-players, they were “stunned” that he would leave without ever coaching a game.  According to The Ogden Standard-Examiner, senior cornerback David James described his reaction to Smith’s move as “Disbelief, confusion, shock.”  Receiver Xavier Johnson said, “It hurts… We’ve been trying to build unity and come together as one, but now it’s like I don’t know if it’s possible to do that, just because we don’t have a head coach to guide us through that.”

A tip to players: The next time a coach talks to you about “unity,” laugh in his face.  He’ll be “unified” with you right up until someone offers him a bigger paycheck.

Matt Hammer — Smith’s offensive coordinator — took the standard coach’s view: “It’s just part of the profession.  Coach has a great opportunity to be part of a great program, and have a chance to be really good.  Financially, the whole deal, you can’t blame him.  All of us would do the same thing.  It’s just crazy.”

Notice that part about “all of us would do the same thing?  Unity, trust, togetherness.  Crock, crock, crock.  Bull, bull, bull.  Pick a school for the school, kids.  Coaches are lying businessmen and you’re just a commodity to them.

And to coaches like Nick Saban who talk about the fact there’s not enough trust in coaches, that we in the media are all just too cynical and jaded these days, he needs to be reminded of moves like this.  There’s a reason folks are cynical and jaded.

 

What’s Smith’s contract say?

Smith is the interim coach only.  You can view the deal here.  It’s a 10-month deal that will net the coach $850,000.  However, if he wins the BCS Championship Game, he’ll get a $200,000 bonus.  Other bowl bonuses — win or lose — range from $25,000 to $150,000.

The school reserves the right to reassign Smith to an administrative, non-coaching role at any point.  Smith must keep all of the current staff intact.  He also agreed to a non-compete clause for other SEC jobs, should he up and leave before the end of his 10-month contract.  (Now what kind of coach would leave a gig less than 10 months into… oh, wait.)

The contract is so unusual that business reporter Darren Rovell of CNBC calls it “precedent-setting… I haven’t seen anything like this, really.”  He added: “What you normally see in these contracts is it’s much to the advantage of the coach, not the institution.  This is a contract that is definitely advantage Arkansas.”

 

Why take the job if there’s not a chance to land the full-time gig?

If Smith wins big at Arkansas — even if he just gets the Hogs past Alabama and LSU to Atlanta — there will be some who’ll clamor for him to take over full-time.  He knows that.  If he can prove himself this year with a pre-built team, there’s a chance he’ll be Arkansas’ full-time guy in at year’s end.  And if Arkansas still turns to someone else, Smith will certainly have positioned himself for jobs better than the one he just short-timed out in Utah.

 

What’s the reaction from the Razorback players and coaches?

The players are positive about the move.  Twitter lit up with happy returns regarding Smith’s happy return.  The school’s current assistants are backing the move to, though in truth, what could they really say?  Will Tim Horton, Paul Petrino, Haynes and Johnson now feel that the school’s AD doesn’t have faith in them?  Maybe, maybe not and that’s the 10% negative we referred to above.  Toes get stepped on and feelings get hurt.  But publicly, the Razorback staff is all-in with Smith’s hire.

Laughably, however, Horton did have this to say about the decision to bring Smith back: “It’s about about putting the Razorbacks first and these kids first.”  Yep, always about puttin’ them kids first if you’re a coach.  Just ask the kids at Weber State.

 

What’s the reaction from the rest of America?

In Arkansas the reaction has been good.  As we noted above, Long covered a lot of bases with this hire, which will be made official today at 3pm ET.

From a national perspective, the response has been mixed.

Some are ripping Smith for his decision to up-end his alma mater.  Gregg Doyle of CBSSports.com is up for some ripping.  Gene Wojciechowski of ESPN.com is also swinging a brickbat today.

Kevin Scarbinsky of The Birmingham News says Arkansas needs to learn “that some advances should be declined.”

On the other hand, Stewart Mandel of SI.com calls the hiring of Smith a fascinating experiment.  Pat Forde of Yahoo! Sports calls the move “a home run.”

 

What message did Long send with this hire?

That he’s a bottom line guy and he doesn’t care what people say.

Petrino — it now seems — wasn’t fired for putting UA in a bad light, he was fired because Long couldn’t trust him and because the coach could have gotten the school sued.  PR had nothing to do with the decision to cut Petrino loose and it has nothing to do with the decision to bring back Smith.

Long didn’t care to look bad when he snaked Petrino from the Atlanta Falcons less than a year into his job there and he doesn’t care to look bad now for swiping Smith just about 50 days after he’d signed his first Weber State class of recruits.  If you’re an Arkansas fan, you love that.  Long isn’t paid by the Falcons or Weber State.  He’s out cutting throats for Arkansas.

But Long has blown a lot of good press and sacrificed a lot of good will with this hire.  He can only hope this poorly-timed theft of another guy’s coach ends better than the last time he decided to go the bad-timing route.

 

What’s Petrino’s take on his old buddy landing his old job?

The man who wrecked his motorcycle, his family and his bank account all in one crash says he’s happy for Smith to be taking over in Fayetteville.  Via press release, Petrino said:  “While there were several outstanding internal candidates, John L. brings a lot of head coaching experience to the table that will help Arkansas transition.  He will unify the staff, the team and the Razorback fan base. I wish Coach Smith, his staff and the Arkansas football team the very best.”

Wonder if Petrino would have preferred his brother and offensive coordinator Paul get the job?

 

What’s the bottom line?

Long and Arkansas today have an interim coach with FBS experience.  Smith knows the program, the players and most of the assistants on staff.  To get out of Utah he was willing to give complete hiring/firing control over the entire football staff to the AD.  His assistants can now tell recruits what the plan is for 2012.

Long can now set about to find the best coach in America for the Razorbacks post-2012.  If he wins some sort of division, league or national title, maybe that man becomes Smith.  If not, Long has now given himself eight months to study and chat.  He can talk to guys currently outside of coaching.

Knowing that it will be easier to talk to guys without jobs — though that’s not been Long’s MO with his last two hires — and also realizing that Long could give a flip about public perception, we at MrSEC.com are beginning to think Arkansas native and former North Carolina coach Butch Davis might just be the man to land the Razorback job long-term at season’s end.

NCAA concerns from his stay in Chapel Hill?  It should be clear to all by now that Long isn’t worried what concerns anyone outside his own office have.

Ask the folks at Weber State.

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John L. Smith Will Coach Arkansas

Former Razorbacks assistant John L. Smith is headed back to Arkansas to replace fired football coach Bobby Petrino.   Smith spent three years as the special teams coach in Fayetteville.  Smith, who’s leaving Weber State, gets a one-year deal.

Smith has a 132-86 record as a head coach at Michigan State, Louisville, Idaho and Utah State.

He’ll be introduced as the new coach at Arkansas on Tuesday.

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Moves And Rumored Moves On The SEC’s Coaching Carousel

Here are the latest moves and rumored moves on the SEC’s coaching carousel…


* Arkansas has lost another assistant coach.  As expected, Weber State alum John L. Smith is returning to his alma mater to take over as head coach.  Smith — Arkansas’ special teams coach — is departing just a day after offensive coordinator Garrick McGee was named the head coach at UAB.  McGee will not coach the Hogs in the Cotton Bowl.

The man McGee replaced after the 2009 season — Paul Petrino — will be returning to Arkansas.  Bobby’s younger brother was on the Illinois coaching staff of Ron Zook who was blown up last month.  He’s expected to take his old job as offensive coordinator.


* Tennessee will be shifting quarterbacks coach Darin Hinshaw over to the receivers position to replace the retiring Charlie Baggett.  This after reports that claimed UT had approached former Vol and current Kentucky receivers coach Tee Martin about Baggett’s position.  Reports from Knoxville indicate the school never offered Martin the job.

Offensive coordinator Jim Chaney will take over the quarterback coaching duties which leaves an open slot for a running backs coach.  Former Memphis coach Larry Porter — who has offers across the South because of his recruiting ties — is believed to be a UT target.  Another target might be former UT player and current South Carolina running backs coach Jay Graham.

FootballScoop.com is reporting that UT special teams coach Eric Russell is expected to take the same position on Mike Leach’s staff at Washington State.  Russell coached with Leach at Texas Tech.

And while we’re on the subject of Tennessee, The Lawrence Journal-World reports that ex-Volunteers head coach Phillip Fulmer is interested in the open Kansas job.  Fulmer has been out of coaching the since 2008.  The former national title-winning coach might like having his name tossed around in connection with vacancies, but we doubt he has a serious interest in KU.


* As we told you this morning, the latest name to be tossed into the mix at Texas A&M is that of Dan Mullen of Mississippi State.  It’s also been reported that A&M officials have already interviewed Larry Fedora — a College Station native who is also a leading candidate at North Carolina — and Kevin Sumlin.

Louisville’s Charlie Strong has also been mentioned in connection with the Aggies’ top job… and Clemson’s Dabo Swinney had his name attached to the gig yesterday.

Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart is also expected to interview with A&M officials at some point — if he hasn’t already.


* New Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze is expected to bring Dave Wommack (defensive coordinator), Tom Allen (linebackers coach), Grant Heard (quarterbacks coach), Chris Kiffin (defensive line coach) and Maurice Harris (tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator) with him from Arkansas State. 

We’ll have more on Freeze’s introduction in Oxford shortly.


* The University of Kentucky student newspaper has reported that co-defensive coordinator Steve Brown will not have his contract renewed when it expires in June.  Joker Phillips’ staff will include only two holdovers from Rich Brooks’ last staff — Randy Sanders (offensive coordinator) and Chuck Smith (linebackers coach).

We mentioned this story over the weekend, too, for those who missed it.

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