UPDATE: SB Nation can confirm that interim Maryland head coach and former LSU offensive coordinator Matt Canada is meeting with Louisville officials. Football Scoop first reported the meeting.
Louisville is expected to make a decision on its next head coach very soon, with all signs pointing to Appalachian State head coach Scott Satterfield and Troy head coach Neal Brown as leading candidates.
Either will be cast as a concession prize for a U of L fan base reeling from Jeff Brohm’s decision to stay at Purdue. Satterfield has become a favorite among Louisville decision makers, while Brown — the candidate with the most obvious Kentucky ties — has fought a backlash of anti-University of Kentucky sentiment.
The next Cards coach will be tasked with an immediate total rebuild of the Louisville roster, one that multiple FBS coaches described to SB Nation as one of the worst-looking Power 5 teams they’d ever seen. With UK’s football recruiting surging both in-state and in the Louisville area, the expectation for Louisville’s next head coach will be immediate improvements.
Multiple people connected to Louisville describe the situation as not a scenario in which a long-term rebuild would be tolerated, even if that’s what needed.
2. Georgia Tech
The Yellow Jackets’ search is focused on three names: Satterfield, Clemson offensive coordinator Tony Elliott, and Temple head coach Geoff Collins. It was reported that Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt interviewed for the job over the weekend.
There’s one extra connection for Satterfield at Tech: current GT defensive coordinator Nate Woody came from App, where he worked with Satterfield for five seasons.
Elliott could certainly help GT maximize recruiting in a state third in the nation in blue-chip recruits per capita, but he’d also be positioned to transition Tech’s offense out of the traditional, under-center triple option. Many in the industry believe that leaving the flexbone would automatically improve the Jackets’ recruiting, and there’s a way to modernize the offense that keeps its option roots.
Collins, a Georgia native, was a well-respected defensive coordinator at Mississippi State and Florida who would make strides in dramatically modernizing the public perception of the program. He’s been aggressive in doing so at Temple by engaging in media and marketing to connect the program to the city. In Atlanta, Collins can double down on his brand of fun in the city he grew up around.
He’d at least try to make Georgia Tech cool. But marrying Tech’s culture as an academically rigorous institution to one of the most vibrant and diverse metropolitan areas in the country isn’t easy. Atlanta has a large influence on pop culture. That’s not exactly something synonymous with the Georgia Institute of Technology. But the potential is there for someone to make an in-city school to Atlanta what The U is to Miami and USC is to Los Angeles.
That is all way easier said than done, but winning early and often helps. Just ask MLS Cup participants Atlanta United.
3. Appalachian State
If Satterfield ends up at either Louisville or Georgia Tech, App would become a sought-after Group of 5 job, as the Mountaineers authored a perfect how-to on FCS-to-FBS transitions and have maintained consistent success.
Early names to watch for a potential App opening are current Georgia State head coach Shawn Elliott (a former App player and assistant coach) and current App defensive coordinator Bryan Brown.