News, Notes & Quotes - Dec. 21

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Wednesday December 21, 2016

- Lane Kiffin nearly became Houston’s head coach, but he finds the same program strengths in FAU — just not the history of success.

There were reports the buyout was a snag, and a report that went as far to say the school was planning to hire Kiffin, which was later refuted. 

“We were very close,” Kiffin said of Houston on ESPN Radio West Palm. “There had not been a decision made that I would go there over here. I felt, talking with Florida Atlantic, when I went into the first meeting, I was not feeling I knew it was a job I’d take. I came out of there saying, ‘OK, yes it is.’

“Coaching jobs aren’t all about the facilities or the weight room or the location. Maturity and age, you realize the job is about the people making the decisions, the board, president, athletic director, and what direction they want to go. … I felt that here for sure. I was very excited coming out of the meeting. I had not made a decision where I would go if I had both offers.”

- Les Miles didn’t land an FBS head coaching job, and he’s not ruling out TV work.

“There’s nothing off the table at this point,” he said on The Dan Patrick Show. “Certainly it’s a great career and great fun and entertaining and enjoy the conversation of sport. I think it’s perfect. I don’t think that’s off the table, but first and foremost, I’m looking to be a coach.”

Miles was in the mix at Purdue and was a finalist at Houston. Asked how close he was, Miles didn’t divulge.

“Not that I would care to exchange information on,” he said. “I can tell you I’ve enjoyed the process, I’ve enjoyed the people I’ve met.”

Here’s a thought: With Bo Pelini in the FCS national championship game with Youngstown State, would Miles consider a similar move?

- Two FCS head coaches have now stepped down to be FBS assistants.

Indiana State’s Mike Sanford Sr. will join his son’s staff at Western Kentucky, and on Tuesday, Elon’s Rich Skrosky resigned to join the FIU staff as offensive coordinator.

Last year, Joe Moorhead stepped down at Fordham to join the Penn State staff. With increasing assistant salaries and security at the FBS level, it’s more of an option for coaches at that level. There are now 6 open FCS head coaching jobs. Keep track here.

- Dabo Swinney has taken a page out of Nick Saban’s book, using former Clemson QB Tajh Boyd to simulate J.T. Barrett in practice.

It’s perfectly legal (for now), so why not? “We bounced him around a few times,” Swinney said.

If you remember, Saban got fired up about the backlash while on his radio show last month.

“Now everybody’s complaining that we did it and want to change the rule. We didn’t break any rules. We did what you’re allowed to do,” Saban said last month. “If they want to change it, change the rule. I don’t care what rules they change, if they’re the same for everybody. I just wish people would quit complaining about what we do that’s allowed by the rules, and why don’t they just do it?"

- CBS Sports ranked the SEC as the No. 4 conference this season, and Bret Bielema found that ridiculous.

The determination was made using various formulas. A reminder, every SEC team except Alabama has lost at least 4 games, and the SEC East was particularly weak this year. Bielema was asked about it while on SportsTalk with Bo Mattingly.

“That’s probably why he’s a writer. He doesn’t have a grasp of reality, whoever wrote it,” Bielema said. “I tell you this: I’m out in the world every day with coaches in our conference, outside our conference, and when coaches are talking real, they know the reality of where we are. The SEC, the SEC West in general is a place unlike any other place in college football.

“People can have ups and downs. Alabama withstood the storm, and they deserve where they’re at. It’ll be an interesting bowl season. I know I’ve never been in any place in my career as real as this league is.”

- Western Kentucky ran a fake-kneel trick play and picked up 53 yards late in the second half of their 51-31 Boca Raton Bowl win over Memphis. Check it out.

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News,, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to