While we are waiting on Stanford’s Jim Harbaugh to exercise one of his many options and to see who is going to show for Ohio State tonight against Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl, it seems like a good time to catch up on the Coaching Carousel:
1. Charlie Weis to Florida. How is that gonna work? Weis knows offense and he knows how to make average quarterbacks good and good quarterbacks great. He’s got the rings to prove it. But I have two questions about Will Muschamp’s decision to bring the former Notre Dame head coach to Gainesville as offensive coordinator:
Can Weis work for a 39-year-old head coach whose personality is every bit as strong as his? Weis will be in charge of the offense but the head coach still makes the decision what to do on third down in a tight ball game. Weis has great confidence in his ability and I happen to think that’s a good thing. But Will Muschamp is the boss. Of course they discussed this. But discussing it in theory and doing it in the heat of battle are two different things.
Can Weis teach his system in 20 hours a week? He did it with Brady Quinn (good results) and Jimmy Clausen (mixed results) at Notre Dame. Can he do it with John Brantley or with any of the quarterbacks at Florida? The learning curve is steep and the time to teach is limited.
2. Maryland hired Randy Edsall. Huh? Don’t get me wrong. I really like Randy Edsall, the former Georgia Tech assistant coach who took Connecticut to the Fiesta Bowl. But the stated reason for firing Ralph Friedgen, the ACC Coach of the Year, was that attendance was down and that something needed to be done to get fannies back in the seats at Byrd Stadium. When Friedgen was forced out it was widely assumed that AD Kevin Anderson was going to tap Mike Leach, the former Texas Tech coach, to bring his wide open offense to College Park. That move made sense if the goal was to totally remake the image of the program. In Edsall Maryland has a very good coach but he’s a 52-year-old version of Friedgen, who was booted at age 63. The move makes no sense, unless…..
3. Mike Leach is untouchable as a head coach right now: The only thing that makes sense is that Maryland decided it could not touch Leach as a head coach right now. Leach had the infamous dust up with ESPN analyst Craig James over the treatment of his son, a player at Texas Tech. Leach still has lawsuits pending against Texas Tech and ESPN over his dismissal as head coach. Maryland is an Under Armour school and that company’s CEO, Kevin Plank, is a graduate and sits on the school’s Board of Directors. He is a Mike Leach guy. But I guess you can’t hire a coach who is suing his former school AND the biggest rights holder in all of college football. That’s just not good business.
4. Michigan can’t keep Rich Rod, can they? They might if Jim Harbaugh is not available. Michigan athletics director Dave Brandon said he would not evaluate head football coach Rich Rodriguez until after the Gator Bowl game with Mississippi State on New Year’s Day.
That score, in case you missed it: Mississippi State 52, Michigan 14.
I’ve had a number of people tell me that this decision will be based on Jim Harbaugh’s availability. If he’s available and wants the job, it will be his. But Harbaugh will have several NFL options (49ers, Broncos, Panthers) and he could always come back to Stanford which is a pretty decent place to work. If Andrew Luck was coming back for his senior season, it might be tempting. But Harbaugh knows that he’ll never have more leverage in his career than he has right now. I will say this: Harbaugh going head to head with Jim Tressel of Ohio State on an annual basis would be fun to watch.
5. Just one man’s opinion. But if I was Dabo Swinney I would hire Ralph Friedgen as offensive coordinator. This idea came from my partner, Wes Durham. Swinney is catching some heat after a 6-7 season and let his offensive coordinator, Billy Napier, go. He needs a star to run that side of the ball so that he can be the head coach. He needs a veteran like Friedgen, who is one of the most brilliant offensive minds of our generation. I don’t know if Ralph would want to be a coordinator again after a decade as a head coach. But the gig would put him closer to his summer home at Lake Oconee in Greene County. Friedgen would essentially play the same role at Clemson that Weis will play at Florida. You can give him that side of the ball and never worry about it. And Friedgen could do some very good things with Tahj Boyd.
Barnhart and Durham: Among our guests today are Pat Dooley of the Gainesville Sun, who will update us the Florida Gators. Bruce Hooley hosts a daily radio show on 1460 The Fan in Columbus, Ohio. He’ll bring us up to date on the Ohio State Five and tonight’s Sugar Bowl game between te Buckeyes and Arkansas. Please join us starting at 10 a.m. www.790thezone.com.
Please follow me on Twitter: