You knew it would start with a frenzy following the LSU game. A maddening time for fans as the coaching rumors run wild.
In the old days (or just five short years ago), when the Broyles Athletic Center leaked like a sieve with juicy nuggets of information, fans tended to know exactly what was going on and who the play was for. Everybody had an inside source.
Now, with Jeff Long, there are NO leaks…none. That foolishness is not tolerated. A highly professional approach, but not so good if you are a fan, wringing your hands over the next hire.
Because of the absence of rumors from the BAC, you get what we have now which is the ‘scattershot approach’ of ‘throw out a name and see if it sticks.’
Long’s close to the vest approach is going to mean one thing: the ‘local guys’ — the guys we love to read every day — are not going to break this story when it breaks. Like the Petrino firing, you’ll hear it from the other end first, and probably by a national media member — a Dennis Dodd or Tony Barnhart type. Keep a close eye on them over the next 10 days.
There are a few that we follow (who have had good information in the past) who are intimating that Boise State’s Chris Petersen is the primary target at the moment, with Vanderbilt’s James Franklin as the fall back plan.
CBS’ Bruce Feldman has said before that Petersen, a California native, would likely only jump at the Cal or Oregon jobs. Well, Cal is open after Jeff Tedford’s firing. And according to some, Chip Kelly will be a hot commodity for some NFL jobs this time around. If that’s true, why would Petersen consider Arkansas?
Well, let’s start with doubling Petersen’s salary — he currently makes $2 million a year. Throw in the comical, week-to-week uncertainty about what conference Boise is playing in next year, and a little stability might sound pretty good right now. The Broncos are scheduled to join the Big East, but with the conference losing their automatic BCS bid status, Boise has been making overtures to stay put in the Mountain West.
In addition, Arkansas has proven they will pay assistant coaches well. If Petersen is looking out for ‘his guys’ and is willing to make a move, it could mean $1-2 million in raises collectively for them over what they are making in Boise…per year. That’s significant.
Petersen as a hire would be a home run, given that every AD in America has been trying to lure him away from Boise for the last couple of years. What worries us a bit, though, is that James Franklin might be the backup plan.
Sure, Franklin has turned around Vanderbilt in just a few short years, a feat that should not be understated. Back-to-back bowl games is a first for the Commodores. But his bravado, sideline demeanor and penchant for shooting his mouth off give us a little pause.
His statement earlier this year that before he hires an assistant he makes sure they have a ‘hot wife’ to prove they can recruit makes us question his maturity to be the face of a program like Arkansas.
Yeah, we know…it’s a funny quote, probably said in a good-natured way. And a little bravado is probably not a bad thing. At least he hasn’t slapped any assistant coaches that we know of, like some being mentioned for this job. It just makes you wonder, though.
Boise State’s regular season finale is Saturday vs. Nevada. So if Petersen is indeed a player, we don’t expect anything will be going down this week. So sit tight, and enjoy the rumors…we certainly are.