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Coaching Search 2011: Day 7, 6:53 p.m. - Sumlin out at UCLA; Auburn OC Malzahn in the mix at KU? Plus, sizing up the coaching vacancies


6:53 p.m. Update:

According to the LA Times, Houston coach Kevin Sumlin is now out of the race to become UCLA's next head coach.

At this point, it looks like the only way Sumlin moves on is if it's to Texas A&M. Otherwise, he probably will stay put at Houston. Crazy turn of events. Seemed pretty certain that if Houston had won that game he was headed to A&M.

Here's more:


Still trying to contact some agents regarding the guys in the running for KU. If nothing more comes tonight, tomorrow could be a huge swing day.

Stay tuned...

3:03 p.m. Update:

Lotta talk down at Texas A&M about Charlie Strong becoming the favorite for the Aggies now. Makes sense. The man was the defensive coordinator at Florida before going to Louisville and has a lot of ties throughout the SEC. If that goes down (Smart, Sumlin and Fedora are still alive at A&M), I'd think the picture becomes much clearer...

Just speculation and a gut feeling here, but if Strong's the guy for A&M, here's how I see it going:

Strong to A&M Sumlin to UCLA Fedora to Kansas Freeze to Ole Miss Jones to Arizona State

Not sure where that leaves Carolina or Illinois. Carolina's still entertaining Chris Petersen and Gus Malzahn, and there's talk that Air Force's Troy Calhoun is gaining ground there... Illinois looks to be headed toward a coordinator, with Wisconsin's Paul Chryst possibly at the top of that list.

Doubtful that this is the way it goes down... That would just be too simple. But this is one logical outcome based on what I'm hearing and reading everywhere I can.

Stay tuned...

2:28 p.m. Update:

Couple of quick things I've been able to find out about Malzahn in the past couple of hours... Nothing major here but a couple of interesting tidbits that might indicate how serious a candidate he is here.

• Malzahn has been in contention for several jobs during the past couple of offseasons. He's regarded by many in the business as one of the brightest offensive minds in college football and would definitely be able to keep up in the Big 12 once he brought a few players in to help.

• Talked to one source who seems to think the KU talk might be a leverage play for Malzahn, who also is a top candidate at North Carolina.

• Most of his ties are to the south - before becoming the Auburn OC he held the same position at Arkansas and, while there, he was named the top offensive coordinator in the nation. That said, he did spend two seasons at Tulsa (before going to Auburn in 2009) and also was born in Irving, Texas.

• The guy loves the hurry-up, no-huddle offense and, in 2003, he wrote a book about that philosophy. He's also known as one of the top innovators of the Wildcat offense that has spread throughout college football and even the NFL like crazy in the past decade.

Not saying he's a leading candidate or even a likely option, but there's a very good chance he's in the mix here and, if so, that could be intriguing for KU's personnel. Think of all the Wildcat stuff KU ran this year, all the backs they have to utilize and how good Christian Matthews looked running that set late in the season.

Still waiting on a couple more calls about this situation.

Stay tuned...

12:33 p.m. Update:

Like many of you, I'm hearing wild rumors about Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn being a strong candidate for Kansas. I've got a couple of phone calls out to find out more about this so stay tuned.

My first thought is that it would make sense considering the fact that we started hearing yesterday that there were still a couple of names in the mix that weren't being talked about much, if at all. I think Malzahn fits into that category.

Here's a quick look at Malzahn... We'll dive in much deeper very soon if these rumors get legs.


Also, here's an update on the situation at Texas A&M for those still tracking the Aggies, as you should be.


More to come, stay tuned...

10:12 a.m. Update:

All right, well the conference championship games are behind us, the BCS mess is still in front of us — no surprise here, but I’m in the camp that says Oklahoma State belongs in the title game; 7-3 advantage in W’s vs. teams with winning records; 5-2 advantage in W’s vs. BCS Top 25 — and we can finally start to zero in on what some of these schools with vacancies in their head football coaching offices are going to do to fill them.

A lot has happened during the past 48 hours and a lot more figures to go down in the next 12-to-24 hours.

Things remain quiet in the Kansas camp, as atheltic director Sheahon Zenger remains on the road but has not tipped his hand about where he’s been, who he’s met with or when he’ll return.

It looks like most of the names on that Top 5 list (Fedora, Mark Stoops, Dykes, Koetter, Doeren) we came up with the other night are still in play, but rumors of other candidates who haven’t been mentioned much continue to swirl. I’ve said all along that it seemed like there was going to be a name or two on Zenger’s list of finalists that we weren’t talking about and it looks as if that still could be the case.

Trying to track down who those mystery names could be.

One thing I have been able to track down is another name of someone it’s not going to be. After talking with some South Florida folks at the KU basketball game yesterday, you can forget about Skip Holtz leaving USF. He was probably a long shot for a couple of reasons anyway, but these people made a pretty convincing case for why Skip’s not going anywhere.... maybe ever.

To kick things off today — Day 7 of KU’s coaching search — and before things change too drastically too rapidly, let’s take a quick look at each opening and see where things stand. Here goes nothing:

Favorite: Larry Fedora looks like the front-runner, but KU’s not alone in feeling that way about him
Still In It: Sonny Dykes, Dave Doeren, Dave Christensen, Mark Stoops, Dirk Koetter, Couple Unknowns?
Call Me Crazy: Boise State’s Chris Petersen
Hot Link: You’re on it!

Favorite: Gotta be Houston’s Kevin Sumlin, even with Saturday’s tough loss to Southern Miss
Still In It: Larry Fedora, Louisville’s Charlie Strong, Alabama DC Kirby Smart and TCU’s Gary Patterson all being mentioned
Call Me Crazy: What about Baylor’s Art Briles?
Hot Link: http://houston.cbslocal.com/2011/12/03/university-of-houston-coach-kevin-sumlin-to-named-texas-am-coach-within-24-hours/

Favorite: Looks like Arkansas State’s Hugh Freeze is prepared to take the job
Still In It: Maybe nobody, but Kirby Smart may still be in the mix; Fedora has rejected it
Call Me Crazy: Seems like Freeze not getting it would be crazy at this point
Hot Link: http://olemiss.rivals.com/content.asp?CID=1302435

Favorite: Reports late Saturday said SMU coach June Jones and ASU had been in long talks
Still In It: Larry Fedora (he’s everywhere!)
Call Me Crazy: Nothing would be considered crazy at ASU right now
Hot Link: http://www.azcentral.com/sports/asu/articles/2011/12/03/20111203asu-football-benefit-consistency-coaching-hire.html

Favorite: All we know is Petersen pulled out
Still In It: Miami’s Al Golden, Kevin Sumlin, Former Oregon coach Mike Bellotti
Call Me Crazy: Former Jacksonville Jaguars coach and California native Jack Del Rio
Hot Link: http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-ucla-golden-sumlin-20111204,0,6885923.story?track=rss&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+latimes%2Fsports+%28L.A.+Times+-+Sports%29&utm_content=Google+Feedfetcher

Favorite: Larry Fedora is expected to interview with UNC
Still In It: Auburn OC Gus Malzahn, Air Force’s Troy Calhoun
Call Me Crazy: Kevin Sumlin
Hot Link: http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/rapid-reports/post/16286311

Favorite: Too hard to say because Illini have been so quiet
Still In It: Wisconsin OC Paul Chryst, Larry Fedora (yep, again)
Call Me Crazy: Kevin Sumlin
Hot Link: http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/college/ct-spt-1204-illini-foot-coach--20111204,0,4070053.story

That’s a decent look at where everyone else stands — or at least stood as of Sunday morning... From here on out, we’ll get back to focusing on what’s happening at Kansas.

Stay tuned...


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