After a slow ‘Black Sunday,’ USC cracked open the market with the hiring of Steve Sarkisian. Seven FBS-level jobs are currently available, including three BCS schools, after Jim Grobe stepped down from Wake.
Let’s take a look at the three jobs that have opened since the regular season ended.
Swirl, swirl. The carousel never relents.
Job oozes with potential. Huskies have a beautiful stadium, new facilities and up to 15 starters returning from a talented roster. Recruiting nationally can be difficult because of Seattle’s location but Sark’s staff didn’t seem to have that problem. This isn’t a Porsche job but is certainly in the Lexus SUV range.
The first call should go to …UCLA’s Jim Mora. The timing never seemed right for Mora to slide into the job at UW, the school Mora rooted for as a child and played for as a walk-on linebacker. Is this finally the time? Depends on what’s more important to Mora – sentiment or momentum. Mora’s got UCLA rolling, and momentum’s a hard thing to recreate. Anyone who saw Mora after Saturday’s win over USC knows he has unbridled passion for more than one Pac-12 school.
Worth a call (or text): Boise State’s Chris Petersen, Missouri’s Gary Pinkel, Fresno State’s Tim DeRuyter and Alabama OC Doug Nussmeier. Petersen will probably get a call, and he’ll probably stay at Boise. Rinse, repeat. Pinkel, a Don James disciple, is finishing his 13th season at Mizzou, an eternity at a major school. But his marvelous one-loss campaign -- quieting critics that called the Tigers SEC outliers -- creates the cushion of a first-year coach. Also, starting new at 61 might be difficult.
DeRuyter is 20-4 at Fresno. Hard to go wrong there. Alabama’s offense put up nearly 40 points per game under Nussmeier, who was a Huskies assistant from 2009-11.
Wake doesn’t seem like an easy place to win consistently, but Grobe (Orange Bowl in 2007) and Duke’s David Cutcliffe (10-2 this year) have shown private schools can get it done in the triad. Upgrading talent will be a premium. Expect Wake to value an academic-minded coach.
The first call should go to…Ball State’s Pete Lembo. Lembo once coached at nearby Elon and is the rare coach with success at three different programs. Wake needs a coach who can win without over-the-top resources or roster talent, and Lembo has done that at his previous stops.
Worth a call (or text): Bowling Green’s Dave Clawson, Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi, Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris. Clawson is a program-builder who has the Falcons beating their last four opponents by 40 points per game. Narduzzi is an intriguing candidate for Wake or UConn because of what he’s done with the Spartans’ defense. What does a program do when it needs offensive help? Hire Morris, the AFCA Assistant of the Year whose offense is a walking espresso.
Recruiting to Laramie wouldn’t be easy if Nick Saban were the Cowboys’ coach, but the Mountain West is wide open and an up-and-comer can use this as a springboard.
First call should go to: Former USC interim coach Ed Orgeron. Coach O eschewed the chance to be USC’s top assistant because he wants another shot at head coaching. Wyoming needs players. Based on his USC stint, Coach O’s specialties are getting players and rallying a locker room. Why not take a chance?
Worth a call (or text): Former Cal coach Jeff Tedford, Colorado School of Mines coach Bob Stitt. Tedford’s name is getting traction for Wyoming, colleague Bruce Feldman reports. He’s an accomplished coach who could find a soft landing strip in the Mountain West. Stitt has interest in talking his creative one-back offense to the FBS level. He’s influenced offensive coaches such as Dana Holgorsen, Kevin Sumlin and Mike Leach. He knows the Mountain West area and has a 98-60 record at Mines.