Sport 10 potential candidates for USC head coaching job include Penn State's James Franklin and Clemson's Tony Elliott
Sean Penn, with daughter Dylan, directs again in 'Flag Day'
CANNES, France (AP) — Sean Penn is sort of done with movies. He’s still making them, here and there. But Penn is mostly seeing out commitments he made years earlier. After those? He’s not so sure how much more he’s going to be acting or directing. Penn, the 61-year-old maverick actor and sometimes filmmaker, is in many ways happily out of step with many of the prevailing winds in Hollywood. Streaming films? Franchise movies? So-called “cancel culture?” All of these things draw his ire, to various degrees. Meanwhile, Penn is dedicating more of his time to Haitian relief efforts and getting people vaccinated than he does to movies.
Theafter the season’s second week.
USC fired its third straight coach in the middle of the season, ending.
The school released a statement that essentially declared “CHAMPIONSHIP OR BUST” in all caps. “Our university and its leadership are committed to winning national championships and restoring USC football to glory” is the takeaway from what athletic director Mike Bohn released with the news.
Who can do that? Here’s a look at who Bohn could hire to replace Helton at USC:
Bob Stoops issues non-denial when asked about USC rumors
USC is in the hunt for a new football coach, and Bob Stoops certainly isn’t doing anything to dispel rumors that he might be interested. © BRYAN TERRY via Imagn Content Services, LLC Bob Stoops wouldn't confirm or deny wanting the USC job. Stoops appeared on SiriusXM’s ESPNU Radio on Wednesday and was asked about chatter potentially linking him to the USC job. Stoops admitted he “can’t control rumors” and refused to respond to reports about whether he had been contacted or not. However, he went on to suggest that he would certainly be open to overtures.“I’m enjoying my opportunity to work with Fox.
1) James Franklin,
There’s a lot about this hire that makes sense. Franklin worked miracles at Vanderbilt and has been consistently excellent at Penn State. He has done everything but reach the College Football Playoff, but has shown he has the recruiting chops, coaching ability and staff-hiring savvy to maximize a job like USC. He costs only $4 million to buy out, which is reasonable for a coach with his experience.
2) Bill O’Brien,OC
O’Brien was a dynamic recruiter and moved relative mountains in the wake of the devastating NCAA sanctions that he inherited at Penn State. He’s an accomplished NFL coach and elite playcaller. A pro name would sell well in the NFL market, and O’Brien’s pro experience could be attractive for West Coast recruits. O’Brien is intrigued with staying in the college game, and he’d be wired to handle Los Angeles.
OC Eric Bieniemy focused on Chiefs, not links to USC job
Bieniemy has long wanted to lead an NFL squad but hasn't received an opportunity he's more than earned with his work alongside Chiefs head coach Andy Reid.On Tuesday, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy "will emerge as a head-coaching candidate for USC" at some point. Bieniemy has long wanted to lead an NFL squad but hasn't received an opportunity he's more than earned with his work alongside Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, but Bieniemy told reporters Thursday he's concentrating on getting his current players ready to face the Baltimore Ravens this Sunday night.
3) Matt Campbell,
The magical Fiesta Bowl win and giddiness of the offseason. But Campbell is one of the sport’s promising young coaches, and he has shown the charisma and program-building ability to take advantage of a situation like USC. The knocks on Campbell would be leaving his Midwestern footprint and lack of experience recruiting five-star players. But he has defied gravity at a traditionally downtrodden program. What could he do with high-end resources? The buyout is $4 million for him to leave.
4) Luke Fickell,
Fickell can handle the job, but would he want the flash? Fickell has earned his spot, going 33-6 the past four years and leading the Bearcats to the Peach Bowl. Fickell took over a 4-8 program and led it all the way to the Big 12. Even with the AD being his old boss Bohn, who hired him at Cincinnati, it's a leap to think of Fickell coaching on the West Coast. Fickell has essentially never lived outside of Ohio and this would take him out of his Midwestern comfort zone and recruiting sweet spot. His buyout is $3.5 million.
Six Reasons Why James Franklin Makes Sense For USC
Article may or may not be a lazy regurgitation of the same idiocy I said a few years ago.And who better to fill that role than the guy we, the media*, have been hoping and praying for in the last, say, five years? Personally, I couldn’t wait to write this piece, because it simply Makes Sense™ for James From State College to take the job. In fact, it makes so much sense, that USC should leave the position vacant until Franklin finally accepts the job.
5) Mario Cristobal,
He has brought to Oregon what USC desperately wants – elite recruiting, national buzz and playoff contention. If Oregon makes the College Football Playoff – and the same goes for Penn State, Cincinnati and others – it could make this hire untenable. USC can’t afford to wait until January, and no one wants all that awkwardness. USC wouldn’t flinch at the $9 million buyout after committing more than $10 million to get rid of Helton, especially because it would puncture a Pac-12 rival.
6) P.J. Fleck,
Few have the capacity to energize the recruiting base and send an electric shock through the program like Fleck, who is one of the sport’s most dominant personalities. He has one more MAC title than Campbell and has proven himself as a relentless national recruiter. He’d welcome all the cacophony that comes with Los Angeles, which was an elite strength of Pete Carroll. Fleck's buyout is $4.5 million.
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney offers thoughts on COVID-19 vaccine
Dabo Swinney was irate when circumstances related to COVID-19 forced the cancellation of one of Clemson’s key games last year, but the coach seems optimistic that things will run more smoothly this season. © Ken Ruinard / staff via Imagn Content Services, LLC Clemson Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney Swinney shared some of his thoughts on the COVID-19 vaccine while speaking with the media on Tuesday. He said there are “very few” people with the Clemson program who have not been vaccinated, which “gives you a whole lot more comfort level.
7) Greg Schiano,
He got a long look from the USC brass when Helton was elevated. While most of the leadership from that era is gone, Schiano is showing again at Rutgers that he can figure out a path to push a program to its potential. His NFL experience would also be intriguing as USC re-thinks its offensive identity. It’d cost $4 million to buy out Schiano.
8) Tony Elliott,OC
Elliott is from Southern California and has always been intrigued by returning there. It’s unlikely that USC will seek anyone without significant head coaching experience. But Elliott has, for many seasons, been the most sought-after offensive assistant in the country.
Don’t underestimate the allure of hiring a former head coach when a job comes open as early as this one did. USC essentially can’t interview any of the above candidates for at least two more months. But a coach who is out could be brought in for a chat/program diagnosis/candidate consultation. Often, those turn into chats about the job. There could be a long courtship, and that allows an administrator to fall in love and the coach plenty of time to prepare a staff, feel around recruits/transfer portal and generally get a running start.
1) Chris Petersen, Fox
It’s lost in lore who turned down who when USC courted Petersen from Boise State after the 2013 season. Petersen wasn’t thrilled with all the off-field aspects of the job – media, boosters and the type of glad-handing that are against Petersen’s straight-laced DNA. USC wasn’t thrilled that Petersen wasn’t thrilled. USC moved on to Steve Sarkisian; whether it did the dumping or were dumped depends on who you ask. But there was mutual interest at one point. After two seasons off, is Petersen, 56, energized enough to take another head job?
2) Bob Stoops, Fox
From a guy from Youngstown, Ohio, who went to Iowa and made his mark in Manhattan, Kansas, Gainesville, Florida, and Norman, Oklahoma, there has always been a tug West for Stoops. He loved playing in Los Angeles, recruiting there and always saw the appeal of the West Coast. At age 61, does he have the energy for another rebuild?
Watch: James Franklin had must-see response to interview question about referee error .
It’s a wonder how the referees can screw up that badly and get away with it. And they insisted it was fourth down too even after convening! The only thing worse was the call in the Mississippi State game.Subscribe to Yardbarker's Morning Bark, the most comprehensive newsletter in sports. Customize your email to get the latest news on your favorite sports, teams and schools. Emailed daily.