UPDATE: The Lane Kiffin-to-FAU story line that appeared beyond imprbable as recently as 24 hours ago now is gaining momentum. Multiple sources are reporting that both sides have talked, with the Associated Press going so far as the say that FAU is actively pursuing Kiffin. It should be an interesting Saturday for Owl fans.
PREVIOUS: Almost as soon as the news broke that Lane Kiffin didn’t get the Houston head coaching job, the Twittersphere came alive with mock consolation.
Many suggested that, hey, there’s always the FAU job opening.
They may have been joking, but they may also end up being correct.
Kiffin fits the parameters of FAU’s coaching search. He’s an offensive-minded guy whose offenses produce points. He’s currently the offensive coordinator top-ranked Alabama and held the same position last season when Alabama won the national title.
He also has head coaching experience, having coached Tennessee, Southern Cal and the NFL’s Oakland Raiders.
Of course, Kiffin has his negatives. He bolted that Tennessee job after only one season. USC fired Kiffin in the middle of his fourth after the Trojans dropped seven of its last 11 games. Al Davis fired Kiffin midway through his second season, telling both the coach and the media that Kiffin was tearing the organization apart.
It’s also a little odd that Kiffin appears in such a rush to leave Alabama. Is there more to that story?
OwlAccess.com left Kiffin off our original list of coaching candidates because it was widely reported that Kiffin would either get the Houston job or would become the next offensive coordinator at LSU, reuniting with newly named head coach Ed Orgeron.
Perhaps he should have been on that list.
Kiffin has yet to accept that LSU coordinator position. He’s reportedly a candidate for the South Florida job, which is widely considered to be better positioned than FAU to land a big-name coach. However, former Texas coach Charlie Strong is reportedly the leading candidate for that position.
Western Kentucky could also be a landing spot for Kiffin.
Affording Kiffin could be a problem for FAU. He’s making about $1.5 million this season at Alabama. Would he be willing to come down from that to get a program of his own? How much money can FAU realistically spend?
The LSU job seems still seems like the most likely landing spot for Kiffin, but Pat Chun is taking his time in this coaching search. Could he have been waiting to see what happened with the Houston job? The time frame fits.
OwlAccess.com’s FAU Coaching Search List
Joe Moorhead (Penn St. OC) – Scoring 38 points while posting 435 yards against a staunch Wisconsin defense to lead the Nittany Lions to the Big Ten title surely impressed this weekend. Moorhead has head coaching experience, turning around FCS-level Fordham. He was reportedly the second choice for Purdue which, according to those same reports, hired Jeff Brohm away from Western Kentucky today. FAU might receive some competition for Moorhead from those Hilltoppers or maybe even Cincinnati, which parted ways with Tommy Tuberville over the weekend.
Greg Davis (Iowa, OC) – Iowa didn’t play this past weekend, but the No. 25 Hawkeyes did accept a bid to play in the Outback Bowl where they will face Florida. The Hawkeyes were 12-0 during the regular season last year, and beat Michigan and Nebraska this year. Iowa is not a power offense, but Davis deserves credit for developing quarterback C.J. Beathard. He’s a guy who could make Motor run.
Les Miles (LSU, former coach) – Nationally, the Les Miles talk has been rather quiet. He’s reportedly one of the candidates for the vacant Houston job, and those newly opened spots at Western Kentucky and Cincinnati could be intriguing, but the longer Miles is available, the more it appears FAU has a chance to land him.
Mario Cristobal (Alabama, OL) – Favorite stat from this weekend: at the end of the first quarter of the SEC championship game Alabama totaled minus seven yards of offense, yet still led Florida 16-9. Cristobal has been cited in a few reports as a candidate and maybe he’s grown up as a coach under Nick Saban. He did take FIU to two bowls as the Panthers head coach, but didn’t leave as a winner.
Doug Marrone (Jacksonville Jaguars, OL) – Difficult guy to judge. Jacksonville managed only 10 points against Denver this week. The Broncos have a fantastic defense and Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles has been brutal this season. Marrone also didn’t do that good a job of developing former FSU quarterback E.J. Manuel at Buffalo. He was a successful college coach at Syracuse, though, and FAU is a college team. If he wants to get back into college as a head coach, FAU would be a good fit.
Derek Dooley (Dallas Cowboys, WR) – Dooley has Power 5 head coaching credentials, leading Tennessee to a 16-21 record in three seasons. He also is familiar with Conference USA opponents, having been a successful head coach at Louisiana Tech. Although he didn’t seem to be too well liked by players, who voiced their negative opinions after he left, Dooley is enjoying success as the Dallas wide receivers coach – where Lucky Whitehead can tell him all about FAU.