Friday update: ESPN's Joe Schad reports Petersen to Washington is likely. Washington has offered to make him "one of the highest-paid coaches in the Pac-12," according to the Seattle Times. Petersen currently makes about $2.1 million at Boise State. Utah's Kyle Whittingham, who makes about $2.5 million, is listed as the highest-paid Pac-12 coach in USA Today's salary database. Considering we don't know how much new USC coach Steve Sarkisian makes and David Shaw's Stanford contract is private, it would likely only take a boost into the $2.6 million range to meet that mark.
Boise State fans are kind of freaking out.
Thursday update: ESPN's Brett McMurphy reports Nussmeier and Petersen will interview.
Washington has two leading candidates for their vacant head-coaching position after Steve Sarkisian left to take over at USC. The Huskies are interested in Boise State head coach Chris Petersen and Alabama offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier, according to Adam Jude of the Seattle Times. Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel, who had been named as a possible candidate, went on the Mike and Mike Show on Thursday morning and said he'll be staying with the Tigers.
Petersen was a candidate for the USC job, but he reportedly withdrew his name for consideration. Ever since he led the Broncos to an upset win over Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl -- and because he won 10 or more games at Boise each year from 2006 to 2012 -- he's been mentioned as a candidate for nearly every major opening in college football, including Stanford and UCLA. He's elected to remain with the Broncos, however, possibly to due his desire to avoid too much media attention.
He would be in a brighter spotlight at Washington, but media scrutiny wouldn't be nearly as intense as if he were coaching in, say, Los Angeles. Anthony Cassino of SB Nation's Washington blog UW Dawg Pound has mixed feelings on Petersen and isn't sure he's the best fit for the Huskies:
Is It A Good Fit: On the field yes, off the field no. Petersen has done an excellent job over the course of his career of both developing talent on the field and creating systems around that talent to allow it to succeed. It would be interesting to see what he could do with UW's talent, but could he sustain the talent level long term? If he could keep Justin Wilcox in the fold -- who coached under Petersen as defensive coordinator at Boise State -- it would go a long way toward helping out in recruiting and give the fans confidence in the continued improvement on the defensive side of the ball.
Nussmeier is a former Washington assistant who served as offensive coordinator under Sarkisian from 2009 to 2011. He's from Portland, Ore., and went to school at Idaho, so he has knowledge of the Pacific Northwest football culture. In his final year running Washington's offense, the Huskies averaged 33.4 points per game, ranking fourth in the Pac-12. In two years as Alabama OC, the Tide averaged 38.7 and 38.8 points per contest.
Cassino may not be sold on Petersen, but he says Washington fans -- especially those wanting to hire someone different from Sarkisian -- would have issues with Nussmeier:
Is It A Good Fit: Only if you think that Steve Sarkisian was a good fit. The similarities are striking, and while he may have completely different results, a lot of people would be rightly skeptical of the hire.
UCLA head coach Jim Mora, a former Washington player and assistant, elected to sign an extension with the Bruins, which removed him from contention for the Huskies' job.