Coaching news changes as the wind blows, but two schools – Auburn and Tennessee – look like they’re narrowing down candidates, with a decision imminent.
Here’s what we know:
Arkansas: Hired Wisconsin’s Bret Bielema
- It appears that LSU’s Les Miles, TCU’s Gary Patterson and Boise’s Chris Peterson are not interested in the job and turned it down. Although, Miles remains the only one made public.
- Petersen had a press conference yesterday, and he did not sound like a man who would take another position soon, although no one asked him about other positions. We’re not sure if the Boise media was directed not to ask Petersen about other open jobs, or whether they just didn’t ask him. It had to have been the former.
- Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy is still on the big board, as he has supposedly talked to his team about speaking with Arkansas and Tennessee officials.
- The coach gaining more momentum right now is Baylor head coach Art Briles. Baylor finished the season by knocking off Gundy’s Oklahoma State team 41-34. However, Briles signed an extension at Baylor today. So, it looks like he’s now off the list.
- Mike Gundy seems to be the prevailing favorite for the job at this time.
Auburn: Hired Gus Malzahn
- The big news out of Auburn is that it appears Kirby Smart has emerged as a real contender for the job. Smart, of course, is arguably the top defensive coordinator in the country at Bama, and it would certainly add a twist to the Bama-Auburn rivalry – but what horrible timing for the Tide’s preparation for Notre Dame. Smart has been waiting on the ‘right’ job, and if offered, this just may be it.
- Auburn is still considering Arkansas State’s Gus Malzahn, TCU’s Gary Patterson, Boise’s Chris Petersen, Louisville’s Charlie Strong and Bobby Petrino.
- Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris is said to get an interview at some point, which likely hasn’t happened yet.
- Auburn has spoken with Bobby Petrino via phone.
- The names to look out for moving forward are Malzhan, Strong and Smart. I believe it will be one of those three, with a decision imminent.
- Jimbo Fisher looks off the board because he’ll likely stay at Florida State. Many believe he is and remains Dave Hart’s top choice.
- The Vols have thought to narrow down their list of candidates to two – Louisville’s Charlie Strong and Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy.
- Both are different styles, with Strong being a defensive-minded coach and Gundy having his high-flying offense.
- I believe that if Strong is offered, he’ll take the job, as where Gundy may revisit OSU after an offer and choose to stay where his heart is.
- Hart is said to interview Larry Fedora in New York, and another name that came on the board is Wisconsin’s Brett Bielema. I doubt Bielema would leave Wisconsin though.