News, Notes & Quotes - Jan. 4

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Wednesday January 04, 2017

- Minnesota AD Mark Coyle needs to move quickly on finding a new head coach.

With the decision to dismiss Tracy Claeys on Tuesday, he needs have candidates in mind. Signing Day is less than a month away, and current Minnesota players are blasting the school.

The recruiting dead period ends next week, when the AFCA Convention ends. Everyone will descend on Nashville for the convention, and don’t be surprised if Minnesota makes headway there. Coyle likely already had plans in mind.

The next head coach will be Minnesota’s fifth in 12 years.

- Nick Saban is tired of answering questions about Lane Kiffin, and it’s only Wednesday.

Saban took part in the national title teleconference on Tuesday, and naturally, a lot of questions came up regarding the offensive coordinator change. Saban said Kiffin won’t be a part of preparation moving forward, despite Kiffin saying earlier Tuesday he’d try to be in the coaches box. Eventually, Saban was done with it.

“I don't have anything else to say about this,” he said. “You know, we're moving forward. We're looking forward to the Clemson game. We did what we did for the reasons that I've stated many, many times before, and there's really nothing else to talk about. So there's no why, there's no if, there's no but. It just is what it is. The statement says what it is.

“We're moving forward, so let's talk about the game. I mean, it's only fair to the players who have worked hard on both teams to have an opportunity to play in a great, competitive venue, and that's what we'd like to talk about.”

Meanwhile, new offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian will take part in media day on Saturday, and he hasn’t spoken publicly since his dismissal at USC last year amid substance-abuse problems. Expect that to be a big story later this week.

- Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell will return next year, per Adam Schefter, but he compared his tenure to golf.

Caldwell wouldn't answer questions about his future on Tuesday. Before Schefter broke the news on Wednesday morning, the coach compared the media attention to golf.

“Some of you guys probably play a little golf from time to time, and it’s kind of like a golf game," Caldwell said Tuesday. "You’ve got a 494-yard par-four and you hit it off the tee. Some guys hit it right down the middle and then maybe hit a three-wood to the green, or a five-wood, in some cases.

“Some guys are like me: They hit it in the woods and they might have to hit it between two trees in order to get it on the green, but the fact of the matter is we’re still on in two. We’re on in regulation. Everybody’s putting for birdie, and that’s kind of what making the (playoffs) is, right? Everybody’s still got a chance, no matter how you got here.”

- Butch Jones is looking for a new offensive coordinator.

Mike DeBord has reportedly taken the offensive coordinator job at Indiana. Staff changes at Tennessee were expected following the bowl game after this season failed to meet SEC East title expectations.

Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich’s name has been speculated for weeks. He was at Tennessee bowl practice last week as an “observer.” Jones could also promote from within. The next OC will be Jones’ third in five years.

But with a new athletic director coming soon at UT, Jones is starting to face pressure for not getting over the hump yet. The Vols were No. 24 in scoring offense this year, and set a school record for points scored, but Jalen Hurd left mid-season and reportedly didn't like the offense, and Josh Dobbs has graduated.

- Jim Harbaugh’s coordinators have big, new contracts.

Defensive coordinator Don Brown and offensive coordinator Tim Drevno were already the highest-paid assistants in the Big Ten to more than $850,000. Now both will make at least $1 million, with Brown at $1.4 million.

Both also have 5-year deals. As people continue to question how long Harbaugh will stay at Michigan, these contracts give an idea that Harbaugh plans to stick around.

- Wake Forest has give Dave Clawson a new 8-year contract through 2024.

That’s a huge deal. One has to wonder how much the gameplan leaks played into that, both for what we now know Clawson was up against and overcoming it to go 7-6 this year.

Clawson has improved at all four head coaching stops in his career, going 3-9, 3-9 and 7-6 at Wake. They were fourth-most improved Power 5 team this year in terms of win increase.

- Check out Dan Quinn’s locker room speech after the Falcons’ win over the Saints.

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