Coaching Roundup: Joyner says search progressing
Update: 2:50 p.m.
The latest on Penn State's search for the school's 16th head football coach continues into the afternoon Tuesday.
Though talk was heating up surrounding Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin earlier in the day on Tuesday, the latest update has Penn State not officially extending an offer to the Commodores' head coach, according to Clay Travis.
James Franklin does not have an "official" Penn State offer. I've been told by multiple people that he'll accept offer if made.- Clay Travis (@ClayTravisBGID) January 7, 2014
Meanwhile, Penn State athletic director David Joyner released a statement on Tuesday afternoon to say that a head coach is anticipated to be named within a "matter of days."
"The search for the new leader of the Penn State football program is progressing very well," Joyner said via press release. "We are on schedule and I anticipate having the new head coach in place in a matter of days. The search is robust as we anticipated it would be and we have an excellent pool of candidates. I have heard from many coaches, or their representatives, who have expressed their interest in the position."
A potential hangup appears to exist, though.
A report released by CBS Sports' Jeremy Fowler said that Vanderbilt athletics director David Williams expects to be able to keep Franklin as the Commodores' head coach.
"I expect James to be our football coach. I'm planning on it," Williams said in the report. "We're looking at facilities. We're working on some stuff. I have all thoughts that he's going to be our football coach. I'll do everything I can to make sure that he is."
Update: 12:51 p.m.
CBS Sports' reporter Bruce Feldman Tweeted Tuesday afternoon that Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin has emerged as the frontrunner for Penn State's vacant head coaching position.
#Vandy coach James Franklin has emerged as the clear frontrunner for the vacancy at #PennState, per source- Bruce Feldman (@BFeldmanCBS) January 7, 2014
James Franklin would be a huge get for #PennState. #Vandy was abysmal before he showed up. Has led VU to back-to-back Top25 finishes.- Bruce Feldman (@BFeldmanCBS) January 7, 2014
This, of course, coming minutes after FootballScoop released its own Tweet stating that Penn State was expected to offer Franklin the job.
At Penn State, sources tell us that PSU plans to offer their head coaching position to James Franklin http://t.co/sNnVtycOD5- FootballScoop Staff (@footballscoop) January 7, 2014
Meanwhile, PennLive.com's David Jones has reported that he's been assured that no candidate has received an offer from Penn State.
Have been assured -- AGAIN -- #PSU job has not been offered to anyone, including @jamesfranklinvu.- David Jones (@djoneshoop) January 7, 2014
Nearly a full week has transpired since former Penn State head coach Bill O'Brien jumped for a job with the NFL's Houston Texans.
In the time since, Penn State athletic director David Joyner has congregated a six-person search committee to find the school's 16th head coach in its history, an apparent pursuit of Miami head coach Al Golden appeared to get blown up, and interviews with fired Tennessee Titans coach Mike Munchak and Vanderbilt's James Franklin have taken place.
We think, anyway.
With Penn State conducting its hiring process with extreme discretion, solid news on the school's search has been few and far between.
In the meantime, Monday saw the mass departures of O'Brien's former coaching and support staff, including the submitted resignations of running backs coach Charles London, wideouts coach Stan Hixon, defensive coordinator John Butler, secondary coach Anthony Midget, and strength coach Craig Fitzgerald - along with two of his strength and conditioning staffers.
With both quarterbacks coach Charlie Fisher and linebackers coach Ron Vanderlinden shown the door before O'Brien's departure, that leaves just longtime Penn State defensive line coach Larry Johnson as the team's interim head coach, along with tight ends coach John Strollo and offensive line coach Mac McWhorter that are still left behind. And McWhorter, of course, is expected to retire.
Following a Friday press conference in which Johnson took questions from the media regarding his desire to become Penn State's next head coach, Bob Flounders of PennLive.com is reporting that an interview had not yet been set as of Monday afternoon, but would be coming "shortly."
Meanwhile, as David Jones of PennLive.com also reported Monday, according to sources familiar with Munchak, the former Nittany Lion offensive lineman "attacked" his perceived lack of college coaching knowledge head on.
"PSU sources have told me (the interview) did, indeed, happen and that the interview group came away impressed," Jones writes. "Munchak made a detailed presentation of exactly how he would go about recruiting, who he believed would be on his staff and how he would sell 2014-class recruits on remaining committed to the program and signing next month."
Over at StateCollege.com, Mike Poorman is reporting Tuesday morning that Franklin can more or less be discounted as a possibility at this point, saying "the next guy is going to stay awhile. And that's because the next guy will be a Penn Stater."
The counter argument (for every report, there's an equally compelling and opposite report during this search) comes from VandySports.com's Chris Lee, who reports Tuesday that there are strong suggestions Vanderbilt is precariously close to losing its head coach if better financial commitments are not made to Franklin and the Commodores football program.
Included in Poorman's report is the suggestion that Golden and Munchak have emerged as the top two candidates remaining, along with an "unknown" third candidate, and regardless of whatever Golden said in his press conference in Coral Gables, Fla., on Monday afternoon. Citing Golden's refusal to make definitive statements regarding his future as a Hurricane, Poorman writes, "Through it all, the 1991 Penn State co-captain never promised that he would be at Miami for the long-term or even showed more than a hint of his love for The U."
Blue White Illustrated will continue to closely monitor this developing story.
To talk about it, go Inside the Den!