News, Notes & Quotes - Dec. 5

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Monday December 05, 2016

- Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick has talked to Brian Kelly about reports he’s exploring other options.

“We talked about it. I don't want to make it sound like I didn't know the answer to that. I did know the answer to that,” Swarbrick said on his radio show. “We had a discussion on the night after the (USC) game when the reports came out, and I fully understood the background of those reports, and Brian and I had had clear discussions about his intentions and his future, and of course he clarified those, I think both at the press conference after the game and then in the subsequent statement that went out.”

The chatter had been around, and it was interesting that it picked up after their final loss, even as Kelly vehemently said he will be back — and Swarbrick has said Kelly will be back.

But given the bad season, the NCAA penalties from an academic issue and other off-field issues, Swarbrick was also asked if he’s been pressured at all to dismiss Kelly.

“No. It doesn't work that way here,” he said. “I know people like to write about it that way and every coaching issue around the country, someone will write a group of boosters or trustees have gotten together and are going to pay for the buyout. That's just not how Notre Dame operates. Father Jenkins is the CEO of this enterprise and he is firmly in control of everything that goes on here.

“I have an athletic affairs committee, the board of trustees, it has a chairman that I seek counsel of and spend time with, and the communication all sits there. The only people I'm ever likely to talk to about business issues are Father Jenkins, John Affleck Graves, the executive vice president of the university, the chair of the board of the trustees or the chair of my advisory council—the athletic affairs committee. That's it. It doesn't happen otherwise."

- Here are the 12 teams with the fewest turnovers per game in 2016. Only Nevada isn’t going bowling among this group.

- Ed Orgeron doesn’t plan to fill staff openings until after the bowl game.

Special teams coordinator Bradley Dale Peveto already also been let go, and offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger will remain on staff in a different role. Other assistants will like to know if they should be looking for work.

"I think we’re going to take our time. We’re going to see how everything pans out,” Orgeron said of filling a new staff. “There’s some things that we want to get done, people that we’re recruiting. Things are going to fall into place, but as we say, we’re going to take our time, take it one day at a time, see how it goes."

- Will Steve Sarkisian be a special weapon for Alabama?

The current Alabama analyst was the Washington head coach before Chris Petersen. It’s a unique perspective to prepare for their playoff game, but Nick Saban obviously downplayed it.

“Hasn't been there for quite some time. I know he was involved in recruiting some of these players when he was the coach there, but this is a whole new coaching staff, a whole new system,” Saban said. “They've been there for three years.

“I don't think he probably knows any more about it than some of the players that he may have recruited four or five years ago. So he'll have the same role in this game he's had in every other game.”

- Chris Petersen’s team, meanwhile, has to travel three time zones east for their game. But they’re preparing to adjust.

“We'll be there longer than normal,” he said. “When you fly to play a regular season game, it's such a quick turnaround, it's hard to adjust to the time. We'll be there a handful of days so we'll have a chance to adjust and adapt.

“I will say this: Adapting to the time change is going to be the least of our problems, playing Alabama.”

- Jeff Brohm appears to have quickly become a top target for several schools, and a decision could come soon. (UPDATE: Brohm is the new head coach at Purdue)

The Western Kentucky coach wouldn’t speak with teams until after the Conference USA title game, which WKU won on Saturday. WBKO’s Chad Bishop, who has been around the program for a while, reports Brohm has been offered the Purdue job, spoke with Baylor on Sunday and also is a target at Cincinnati.

The 45-year-old Brohm is 30-10 in three seasons, with two straight C-USA titles. He’s an offensive head coach who calls the plays.

The Cincinnati situation is interesting, because Tommy Tuberville’s buyout dropped on Dec. 7, but he stepped down on Sunday, as the school is trying to jump into the carousel quicker. The Cincinnati Enquirer reports Brohm, P.J. Fleck and Charlie Strong will be targets.

We currently have 9 open FBS head coaching jobs, with a lot expected to happen in the next week before the dead period.

- Here’s how Eastern Michigan players reacted to Chris Creighton telling them they’ll be in the Bahamas Bowl. This is great.

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