The NFL's regular season is over, and with five head coaches fired yesterday, the coaching carousel is starting to really spin, which affects the college ranks as well. With a handful of high-profile college coaches reportedly considering a jump to the pros, there was no shortage of coaching rumors on Monday.
Penn State's Bill O'Brien, Houston Texans expect deal soon, ESPN reports
O'Brien could be close to becoming the next head coach of the Houston Texans after just two seasons at Penn State. Talks have reportedly intensified between the two parties, and it seems like it's only a matter of time before a deal gets done.
In two seasons, O'Brien led the the Nittany Lions to a 15-9 record despite being heavily subdued by NCAA sanctions. Prior to taking the job at Penn State, he worked as an offensive assistant coach with the New England Patriots.
James Franklin would reportedly be Penn State's top target
If O'Brien does indeed bolt for the NFL, Vanderbilt's James Franklin would reportedly be the top candidate for the job at Penn State. Franklin has done a remarkable job turning the Commodores into a serious threat in the SEC in just three years, and he's been linked to multiple coaching vacancies in recent weeks.
Franklin was born in Pennsylvania and played college football at East Stroudsburg University. His ties to the area could make him an even more attractive candidate for the Nittany Lions. According to Jones, PSU athletic director Dave Joyner has connections to Franklin through third parties who are "very impressed with him."
The Nittany Lions may not be the only team interested in Franklin, as he has also been mentioned as a possible candidate to replace Mack Brown at Texas. While Franklin may be at the top of Penn State's list of candidates, he's not the only coach rumored to be a candidate. Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported the Nittany Lions are "ready to make a strong push" for Greg Schiano. Schiano was fired by Tampa Bay on Monday.
While NFL Network and others have reported Schiano would be in the mix, another reporter says he hasn't even been contacted about the vacancy:
Despite Greg Schiano being linked to Penn State, there hasn't been any direct contact made by the school from what I'm told— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerCBS) December 31, 2013
Stanford's David Shaw reportedly approached by Redskins
Shaw is a Stanford alum and has led the program to three straight BCS bowl games since taking over for Jim Harbaugh. He loves his job at Stanford and had zero interest when his name was linked to the open job at USC.
Vikings interested in college coaches, including Jim Mora
The Vikings are also looking for a head coach now that Leslie Frazier is out of a job. According to Bruce Feldman and others, there's a chance they bring in a college coach to fill the void.
Heard powerful ppl in #Vikings organization want a college guy but doubt that ends up happening.— Bruce Feldman (@BFeldmanCBS) December 30, 2013
Mora is on Minnesota's radar, according to CBS' Jason La Canfora. The current UCLA coach has plenty of ties to the NFL, serving as the head coach of the Falcons from 2004-2006 and the Seahawks in 2009. He's got a good thing going at UCLA, though, and a 32-34 mark in the NFL won't exactly have executives fighting over him during their coaching searches.
Bob Stoops 'expressed interest' in leaving Oklahoma for NFL
According to NFL Network, Stoops could be ready to leave Oklahoma for the pros.
"Another name to watch, Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops. He also has expressed some interest in joining the NFL," Rapoport told Rich Eisen on NFL Network during Monday's coverage of the league's head-coach firings.
Stoops doesn't have any ties to the NFL, but he's won enough with the Sooners to at least make him a candidate for a job in the pros one day. No professional franchises have been linked to Stoops as of now, and it seems like he's probably going to stay in Norman for at least a few more years.
Assistant coach news and notes
Steve Sarkisian has officially brought defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox from Washington to USC, along with several other noteworthy additions.
Chris Petersen's staff at Washington has come together as well, including a handful of names you'll recognize.
Maryland will not retain offensive line coach Tom Brattan, who has been with the team since 2001.
Wake Forest announced Mike Elko will be their new defensive coordinator, while Warren Ruggiero will be the new offensive coordinator.