LJWorld.com weblogs Tale of the Tait
Coaching Search 2011: Day 10, 4:16 p.m. - More on June Jones, Auburn and Wisconsin OC Paul Chryst; Plus, is Zenger now targeting NFL guys?
4:16 p.m. Update:
More on the talks between June Jones and Arizona State breaking down... At this point, it'd be crazy not wonder if Jones could re-emerge as a candidate at KU. At this point, anything's possible.
One thing we should all have learned from the June Jones situation is that anything is possible. Remember, two days ago, there were credible reports of him saying he was happy at SMU and wasn't going anywhere. Then, he got to the freakin' board room at ASU with a contract in front of him and negotiations broke off.
So now what? He's either happy again or going somewhere else. You just never know.
3:56 p.m. Update:
With Gus Malzahn's name being linked to KU with such force lately, it inspired me to look into what's going on at Auburn. It looks like there could be trouble.
Auburn defensive coordinator Ted Roof recently announced that he was leaving Auburn to take the same position at Central Florida.
That might make a little more sense if Roof were leaving to become UCF's head coach. But defensive coordinator? Odd. Roof's the second guy to leave Gene Chizik's staff at Auburn since 2009. If Malzahn should leave, that would make three.
Definitely worth noting.
2:28 p.m. Update:
I'm seeing posts on message boards throughout the Internet saying that radio stations in and around Kansas City are reporting that Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn has been hired by KU. Evidently, that's not correct.
A quick call to an official who works at the university said the following:
"I can tell you right now there isn't anybody yet. They're reaching."
I figured as much, but worth checking on.
2:09 p.m. Update:
With reports surfacing that Wisconsin offensive coordinator Paul Chryst has interviewed with Kansas University officials for KU’s open head coaching job, the race to find out more information about Chryst began.
Chryst, who also is rumored to have had discussions with Illinois about its vacancy, has become one of the hottest assistants in college football.
This year alone, his offense yielded one Heisman Trophy finalist in tailback Montee Ball and was just a few votes away from making it two in the form of quarterback Russel Wilson.
Although it’s not yet known how serious Chryst’s candidacy at KU has become or will become, the Badgers OC already has a connection to the program.
Former KU offensive lineman Brad Thorson played two seasons for Chryst at Wisconsin (2006 and 2007) before transfering to KU. I caught up with Thorson on Wednesday to hear his thoughts about Chryst, a man he admires greatly.
Here’s what he had to say:
“He comes off as very laid back, but when you start to spend time around the football program, you quickly learn that he was putting in a lot more time than the rest of the coaching staff. Not to prove anything, that’s just what he loved to do.”
“He was never really tempted by running the spread.”
“The two stats that he was most concerned about are time of possession and turnovers. That was something that was always expressed to us.”
“His concept of playing football is he’s still fine with three yards and a cloud of dust and believes that that’s going to turn into the 10-, 20- and 30-yard runs.”
“We’ve got great backs here, but we don’t play power football necessarily. He’s built that offense based on the fact that they don’t have a lot of receivers and they’ve got giant linemen from the state of Wisconsin and a big fullback and some good backs behind ’em.”
“He’s a very honest guy and his players have always really liked that.”
We’ll do some more digging to find out if Chryst is a finalist or an also ran.
1:27 p.m. Update:
Tom Keegan just filed a column with information from a source that says Zenger's focus is on NFL guys. Here's the link. Good stuff in here.
12:11 p.m. Update:
Just came across a story from a Wisconsin paper that says Wisconsin offensive coordinator Paul Chryst met with KU officials about the football job, according to a source close to Chryst.
Not much more than that in the article regarding KU.
The way this is written makes it sound like Chryst isn't going anywhere. But he's definitely a guy worth keeping an eye on now that it's been reported that he actually met with KU.
I think he'd be a long shot, but I also didn't get to interview him.
11:16 a.m. Update:
Some of the SMU folks have gathered info from the Arizona State Rivals guys and posted it to their message boards. They're saying June Jones is headed to Arizona State. Here's the link.
If true, that would seem to indicate that KU's final options look something like this:
Troy Calhoun, Air Force Dirk Koetter, Jacksonville Jags (by way of Boise State and Arizona State) Gus Malzahn, Auburn OC Mystery Candidate, Take your best guess
11:08 a.m. Update:
All right, so the Fedora to UNC stuff looks completely legit now. Figured it was, just didn't want to take him off the board in case there was something crazy going down.
Joe Schad of ESPN.com has Tweeted and written a report that Fedora has accepted the job.
Diving into some more info and updates on June Jones and Troy Calhoun at the moment. Jones has said he's happy at SMU and Calhoun appears to be a top candidate for Texas A&M, but I'm not willing to count either guy out at KU yet.
10:21 a.m. Update:
Been making some more calls trying to find out where we're at with this thing and I've got some pretty concrete info on several candidates you've been wondering about. Still don't know for sure who the finalists are but I am hearing that Malzahn and Koetter are both likely in the mix for the job.
Here we go with some quick-hitters:
• Phil Fulmer's out. Was interested but won't be a candidate. Sounds like there were just too many roadblocks on both sides of this thing to make Fulmer a serious candidate.
• Doesn't look like Dave Christensen of Wyoming made the final list either. I've been told by two sources that he's discussing a contract extension at Wyoming.
• Houston Nutt is out and was never seriously considered. He was very interested in the job, though.
• Dave Doeren (Northern Illinois) is out and has not been contacted. It's also probably safe to say that Mark Stoops is out of the mix. Same for OU assistant Brent Venables.
• Names to keep an eye on: Troy Calhoun (Air Force), June Jones (SMU), Sonny Dykes (La. Tech)...
• I know it sounds crazy, but until there's rock solid confirmation that Larry Fedora's in at UNC, we can't let him slip our minds. I've heard that his interview with A&M was underwhelming for both parties and, if for some reason he decides against UNC or that falls apart, him coming to Kansas could become a reality. Highly doubting it's him, but until it's official at UNC, it seems like the possibility still exists, however slim it may be.
• As for Boise's Chris Petersen, Tuesday has come and gone so I'm doubting it's him. It's pretty quiet on that front, though, so I'm not giving up entirely. Less than 1% chance, I'd say. Talked to a former athletic department staffer from Boise who knows him well and he said "not in a million years." He also said he thought Koetter would do a great job here and that he thinks Koetter wants a chance to redeem himself for the way he was fired from Arizona State.
I've got in an in with the Jacksonville Jaguars coaching staff and I'm trying to go through him to get some info on if Koetter's been talking about the job at all, perhaps to the point of even asking my guy to come to KU with him. As I said yesterday, I put in a call to Koetter and left him a message but haven't heard back. Wouldn't read too much into that either way.
For what it's worth, I'm feeling stronger and stronger about Koetter by the minute...
At this point, it's just a waiting game. I'll keep pounding the phones, but these coaches aren't answering or calling back and the agents have gone quiet, too.
I do think we're getting close. Multiple people are telling me that and I have other reasons to believe that's the case.
8:49 a.m. Update:
Maybe they were just Internet rumors spit out by people (is that the right word?) who have no clue what they’re talking about.
Maybe they have merit.
Either way, talk on Twitter of the Kansas University football program’s search for a new head coach heated up like crazy late Tuesday night.
First, rumors ran wild about Jacksonville Jaguars offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter being KU’s likely target. No one said anything outlandish, more just the usual stuff, such as, “I’m hearing it’s going to be Koetter.” OK. Sure. Sounds good. But, hey, it made sense. Koetter’s name has been linked to KU’s list for several days now, and the guy has college head coaching experience at two fairly big-time programs.
Just when the Koetter chatter started sinking in, Twitter blew up with rumors of a deal between Gus Malzahn being complete. Naturally, I immediately started making calls and searching the web for any kind of substantiated story about the Auburn offensive coordinator becoming KU’s next head coach. Nothing.
I’m not saying it can’t happen. I’m not even saying it won’t happen. But everyone I talked to Tuesday night thought the same thing — it just didn’t add up.
That’s Twitter for ya. Love it or hate it, use it or abuse it, this is the world we now live in.
All right, so as KU’s search enters Day 10 — and, by the way, all signs are pointing to this thing coming to an end real soon — I figured why not at least entertain the idea that Malzahn and Koetter have emerged as KU’s top two targets and pit them against each other in a little Tale of the Tape exercise. After all, this is Tale of the Tait.
Birthplace----Irving, Tex.-----Pocatello, Id.
HC exp.------None-----9 years (Boise State and Arizona State)
HS exp.-----15 years-----2 years
NCAA exp.-----6 years-----29 years
NFL exp.-----None-----5 years (Jacksonville)
Schools-----3 (OC at 3)-----7 (OC at 5)
Titles-----2 (2010 NCAA & SEC)-----2 (Big West in 1999 and 2000)
All right. Let’s see what today brings. While we wait for news and while I search for some more answers, here are a couple more videos on the guys who could be at the top of the list if these Twitter rumors have legs.
Remember, it’s still very possible that it could be neither of these guys and even could be a coach who hasn’t received much mention during the search, if any.
Malzahn profile http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YHXaeE...
Summer interview with Malzahn: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sRuLpC...
Recent Koetter postgame interview: http://www.jaguars.com/media-gallery/videos/Koetter-press-conference/653964b7-cbee-468d-9400-4d12c49de27d
Coach Speak with Brian Billick and Dirk Koetter: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ZIcmxljMvU