Jon Gruden script turns up in Miami with familiar ending

Someone from Miami must have been rummaging around in the dumpster outside Tom Jurich’s office for his old notes.

Speculation surrounding the search for a new football coach at Miami is strikingly similar to that which occurred in Louisville in the weeks before Steve Kragthorpe got the axe at the University of Louisville last season.

Even including the list of coaching candidates, with Jon Gruden’s name at the top.

All of the “insiders” were saying that a deal with the former Tampa Bay coach was imminent. That all they had to do was dot the I’s and cross the T’s. Ultra highly placed sources saying it was  a done deal. Flights were being tracked, people were meeting over lunch, the moving vans were next.

Jon Gruden would be announced within a day or so.

Even Colin Cowherd, a syndicated sports talk host, was saying Gruden was the guy, proclaiming Gruden would be a “rock star recruiter” or words to that effect, that Miami would go something like 48-4 over the next four seasons. Cowherd again with his unimpeachable sources.

Gruden, like last year, was saying nothing and not confirming anything. That’s because Gruden knows he’s much better off being on ESPN’s Monday Night Football. He told the San Francisco Chronicle Thursday “I knew there was a lot of speculation over the last few days, and for that, I’m sorry.”

Now fans on the Miami sports forums are throwing around names like Tommy Tuberville and Mike Leach, in another rewrite of the Louisville script from 2009. Charlie Strong’s name has been mentioned more than a few times. The only name missing is Butch Jones at Cincinnati.

Why the Louisville-Cincinnati football game is really big

The Battle for the Keg of Nails, the 50th meeting between the University of Louisville and Cincinnati football teams.  But why does this game really matter?

  • Pivotal for both teams: For U of L, an indication of whether Louisville is on the way back from obscurity, a wasted three seasons under former coach Steve Kragthorpe. For Cincinnati, whether the program continues to have the superior program as under previous coach Brian Kelly.
  • Both programs have had their ups and downs over the years, sometimes struggling for program survival. They compete with nearby universities for the best talent in their states, relying heavily on outstanding talent in their communities and what they can steal from other states.
  • Usually coached by individuals who are seeking to advance their career paths, using the program to prove themselves. The fans always hoping men like Charlie Strong and Butch Jones will have success, appreciate what the current job provides, and use the opportunity to turn their current program into perennial power houses.
  • They compete fiercely with other state universities for media attention within their own communities, the scribes and broadcast analysts often disrespecting the local markets for larger statewide audiences.
  • Beyond the core base, fan loyalty is fickle at best, largely depending on how the teams have performed lately. Many arrive late, wander about during games, and leave early. Their teams have rarely enjoyed prolonged success, so, rightly or wrongly, the interest of many fans rise and fall in the direction of the program’s recent fortunes.

Forward or backward? Much more than a Keg of Nails is at stake.

Kelly Likely At Notre Dame

[stextbox id=”custom”]May be just a trial balloon to see how Notre Dame alumni react to the possibility, but Irish Central is reporting that Cincinnati’s Brian Kelly will be the next head football coach at the South Bend mega institution.

Kelly is expected to see out the season with his Bowl Championship Series-bound team, and then report for duty at South Bend … His name first surfaced at Notre Dame when the Fighting Irish lost to USC in a last-second cliffhanger … Kelly is known as an offensive genius like Weis, but unlike him, he also has extensive defensive experience.

If true, following Kelly’s act at Cincinnati will be a tough challenge for  whoever does. But Butch Jones did well following Kelly at Central Michigan and may be the logical choice.

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Butch Jones May Be In Louisville Mix

No informed sources,  just a hunch.

Now that Jon Gruden has signed a contract extension with ESPN, the name game begins in earnest for the successor to Steve Kragthorpe as football coach at the University of Louisville. Assuming, of course. no major upsets occur over the next two games.

Keep the name of Butch Jones in mind.

Jones is head coach at Central Michigan University which he led to the Mid-American Conference title during his first year in 2007. His team is 9-2 (7-0 conference) and is headed for a third straight bowl. Among the wins this season was a 29-27 decision over Michigan State at East Lansing. His record is 25-13.

He served as an assistant to Rich Rodriguez at West Virginia during the 2005 and 2006 seasons. Jones was considered a top candidate for the WVU post before the Mountaineers, under then interim coach Bill Stewart, knocked off Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl.

Yes, Central Michigan is the same team that was coached by Brian Kelly, now at Cincinnati.