Episode Description

In this college football podcast episode, Ty and Dan are joined by Bruce Feldman (Fox Sports, The Athletic) to talk through the effects of Chip Kelly’s move to Ohio State as the next Buckeyes offensive coordinator. What does it mean for Ryan Day and what is the state of the program that he leaves behind for new UCLA coach Deshaun Foster? Plus, does Kelly’s move hint at more coaches fleeing the drastic changes that have thrown college football into a state of disarray?

Welcome to The Solid Verbal.

The Solid Verbal.

Come after me.

I’m a man.

I’m 40.

I’ve heard so many players say, well, I want to be happy.

You want to be happy for a day?

Eat a steak.

It’s that woo woo.

And now Dan and Ty.

Welcome back to The Solid Verbal, boys and girls.

My name is Ty Hildenbrandt, that fine gentleman over there.

Still in the heart of the Midwest.

Still blustery, wintry, cloudy.

It’s fine out here, Ty.

It’s totally good.

Dan Rubenstein, sir.

How are you?

It’s like 40 and sunny.

I can’t complain.

Everything’s good.

Uh, happy to be here.

Monday mornings are my favorite time of the week because the kids are off to school.

Child care has begun once again.

That’s not in my purview.

And I get to talk to you, Ty.

What’s better than that?

Well, how about this?

We do have a little bit of breaking news.

Feeling confident with your voice, huh?

Chip Kelly, at the end of last week, says no maas at UCLA.

He decides he is going to stay in the college ranks, but not as a head coach.

He is moving east to Columbus, Ohio, to be the new offensive coordinator for the Ohio State Buckeyes.

That is a bit of news in our world.

He, of course, has that position because Bill O’Brien, who was hired not all that long ago to be the Ohio State offensive coordinator, has since left that post to go back to Boston College in his hometown, where he can now be the head coach filling in for Jeff Hafley, who did go to the NFL.

And then like a short while ago, before we hit the record button, it was announced that DeShaun Foster is coming back from the NFL to now lead the UCLA Bruins and take over for Chip Kelly.

So a lot of moving pieces here, man.

There’s a lot going on, despite the fact that we’re about midway through the second month out of the calendar year, Mr.

Rubenstein.

We are going to have Bruce Feldman on here momentarily to help us parse through all of this movement in college football.

But alas, you know, you can’t turn your back on the sport for too long.

Like that’s that’s when it sneaks up and gets you.

Yeah, and there had been rumors about Chip Kelly with NFL offensive coordinator interests, be it from Seahawks, commanders, Raiders or whatever.

It seemed like that marriage was done.

Donezo, as our good friend, Kristen Cavallari was talking about, but still sleeping in the same bed or at least, you know, same house something.

And that he would go to Ohio State.

Obviously, he has a history with Ryan Day going back to their days at New Hampshire.

And I think Ryan Day was a quarterback for New Hampshire when Chip Kelly was coaching.

And Ryan Day, I think, spent the year that Chip Kelly spent with the 49ers.

I think they were together then, though.

Maybe I’m getting my my my resumes mixed up here.

But yeah, there is that connection, at least Ohio State’s offensive coordinator job with Bill O’Brien headed to Boston College.

Certainly a premium, premium college coaching job, but not a lateral move for Chip Kelly, at least with the like the NFL offensive coordinator.

You think you’re like, well, there’s only 32 of these jobs.

You don’t have to recruit.

Like you might be paired with like a top 10 quarterback or something, depending on where you end up, or like a top draft pick quarterback that you can help to mold from day one.

And you’re back in the NFL ecosystem where Chip Kelly seemed like if he were choosing, that’s where he’d want to be.

And the opportunity just presented itself at UCLA.

And I think a lot of people were pointing to UCLA’s money apprehension with Chip Kelly these past few years that he was kind of in a no win situation because the relationship between Chip Kelly reportedly allegedly with, you know, the booster faction with within the Bruin community had sort of frayed.

So you can understand why Chip was looking to get out.

You can understand still, given his history, why he’d be a coveted offensive mind somewhere else.

I think in 2021 and 2022, UCLA had top 10 points per drive offenses.

So the tail end of DTR’s career.

And so he hasn’t forgotten how to coach offense.

And that’s DTR, a so-so offensive line, not high level NFL skill talent.

So you can imagine Chip Kelly’s thinking like, well, I go to Ohio State.

You’ve got all these five star receivers.

Will Howard this year, a couple of great running backs, hopefully an improving offensive line from where they were last year that that would at least get him to increase the heat on his name with a stellar season in Columbus, but still tie.

And I’ll finish and I’ll let you respond and weigh in, whatever.

It’s not a normal thing for a power five head coach.

I mean, Jeff Hafley again, NFL, as you mentioned, for a power five head coach to leave a I would say medium large power five place in UCLA, just because it’s still a big sports institution to go be a coordinator elsewhere at a major, major place like Ohio State.

It’s as far as I can tell, unprecedented.

Yeah, this is not Kane Wommack going to Alabama.

This is not Sean Lewis going to Colorado.

This is a pretty big name.

And so one of the things I want to talk to Bruce about is what what are chips aspirations at this stage in his career?

Was it simply the relationship at UCLA frayed such that he saw the writing on the wall?

I mean, everybody knew it.

Yeah.

Was it such that he just wanted to get out while he could, while he still had leverage to pick his next spot?

Or was it one of these changing of the tide situation?

Is he just a football guy like Jim Harbaugh or some of the other folks that we’ve been talking about over the last couple of weeks, how college football has changed?

And does that mean that coaches who aren’t on board with it are seeking fewer responsibilities?

I don’t know.

I want to talk to Bruce about that.

And of course, much, much more.

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I was really surprised by this.

I got to be honest.

And I was going to say, yeah, I want your thoughts.

So there’s a lot of connective tissue, but still wild.

When I saw that you and I were messaging back and forth and the eyebrows went up a little bit, that one really, really caught me off guard.

I understand why from Ohio State’s standpoint, they’ve got all this talent.

They’re obviously looking to try and make a splash.

They’re already committed to, I think, quote unquote, going for it here via the portal and some of the big names that they’ve brought in otherwise.

And, you know, my big sticking point with the Will Howard move in particular was, well, the system that they had been running previously was very contingent on having an accurate passer.

I like Will Howard.

Will Howard’s a big guy.

He can move, he can run, he can knock you back.

I don’t think of precision passing when I think of Will Howard.

But now if we’re talking Chip Kelly with a quarterback like a Will Howard who can move, we know what Chip can do with big quarterbacks that can move.

Given all that other skill talent, I think if I’m an Ohio State fan, I am over the moon excited.

Oh, well, depending on Ryan Day’s fingerprints or lack thereof on the offense, because Ryan Day has long wanted a lot of control over his offense, and maybe some of that has moved aside with some uneven Ohio State offensive results.

And you also have what I think it’s Justin Frey, who was Chip Kelly’s offensive line coach at UCLA.

He takes, I think he’s the run game coordinator or has been the run game coordinator at Ohio State.

So it seems like there is a nice Venn diagram of working relationships involved here.

And so hopefully everything is kumbaya behind the scenes.

But yeah, that’s an element to it that like Ryan Day was the Ohio State offensive mastermind under Urban Meyer, and which is why he ascended to that position.

And I think the big deal now is going to be, and we talked about this last year, and who know with Brian Hartline, getting that promotion, like what is the relinquishing going to look like?

That was a similar conversation when Bill O’Brien in his two weeks as Ohio State’s offensive coordinator.

That was a worthwhile conversation.

But now you’ve got a lot of big names and egos at Ohio State.

A lot of big expectations that like, you know, pressure cookers make diamonds.

What is it?

You know, coal makes diamonds, whatever.

But like I just screwed up like three different cliches.

That was bad.

That was bad.

It’s fine.

It wasn’t my best moment, but right.

It’s with all this pressure, what comes out of it.

And there’s a lot at stake here with three straight losses to Michigan and a move to, you know, not a move to, but the Big Ten expanding to a more difficult place for the top, especially I’m curious, but for Chip Kelly, who has long had at least the reputation fair or not as not somebody who has been the biggest fan of what a 2024 head coach, what that job entails, be it the 365 day recruiting, be it portal stuff, be it NIL stuff and just the constant churn of what it takes that obviously at Ohio State he’ll recruit, but his responsibilities are going to be far different when Ohio State has the NIL operation that seems to be growing dramatically.

And also a place that just is an incredible place to not have to recruit at because the machine is so vast behind the scenes.

There’s a critical mass situation at Ohio State.

It sort of recruits itself at this point.

You know, again, I come back to if I’m an Ohio State fan, I’m thrilled.

I’m thrilled because I think he’s probably a better fit for the at least a new quarterback they brought in.

Will Howard.

The other thing we talked about this a lot in the lead up to last season, you can say whatever you want about the version of UCLA that we saw in 2023, but the one that we had seen each of the previous two years, you can see that they were building.

Now that was under a veteran quarterback, DTR.

But one of the big issues when Chip got there was they were soft up front.

They were really soft along the lines, and it took him a couple of years to kind of instill a little bit more of a physical brand of football.

But that rushing attack may be partially why Deshaun Foster is going to be the new quarter.

The new coach, excuse me, at UCLA.

We can talk about that with Bruce as well, but his ability to kind of build things up in a very physical way, establish that physical presence on the ground at the point of attack with the ball try to run it down your throat.

That is something that I think Ohio State fans can be excited about as well because we look around this roster.

There’s skill talent out the wazoo, but the line is really the question.

So if he can aid in that development up front, get a little bit more out of that ground game.

I think again, another reason to be excited.

Yeah, look, it’s it seems like a huge win.

It doesn’t seem like it’s a long term thing, certainly.

But look, if Ohio State has the best offense or one of the best three offenses in America this year, then Chip will probably there’ll be a better chance of him getting the call and locking in an NFL offensive coordinator job.

It’s been 10 years.

Gotta go all the way back to 2014 since Ohio State won a national championship for a lot of programs out there you’ll take it.

Have been very, very close since been very, very close.

But I think given circumstances here over the last three years, especially with Michigan rising, certainly winning it this past year, we’ve talked about it before, right?

All it takes to really motivate somebody is having your closest rival the step above you.

And it’s also right.

It’s just the latest piece in when you have the pieces on the roster and when the landscape is looking more open than usual, right?

With the turnover at Michigan, with USC looking vulnerable, with UCLA having changes, Washington having changes, you know, Michigan State starting over again.

Penn State is still like, will they actually grow on offense?

They’re starting over a little bit on offense with the new coordinator higher that, you know, we’ve been talking about this for a couple of weeks.

The chips have been pushed to the middle of the table.

Now it’s kind of a pun with Ohio State, which of Kelly entering the fray.

But this is Ohio State even further all in on 2024 and Michigan not even looking like the chief obstacle in this moment.

It’s both internal that Ohio can Ohio State get its act together, not lose something dumb.

Oregon’s looking formidable in the conference and just that it’s more of a gauntlet this year with added depth in the conference and added expectations that Ohio State’s just all all all all in.

Let’s talk to Bruce about the situation at Ohio State now with Chip Kelly taking over as offensive coordinator.

Let’s talk about the situation he left behind with DeShaun Foster again at time of recording just like minutes ago announced that he is going to be the successor coming back from the NFL ranks and perhaps we can talk a little bit more about the situation that Bill O’Brien is stepping into a Boston College really just the dynamics as a whole because you’ve got what five to seven Curt Cignetti questions.

So many Curt Cignetti questions.

Yeah.

Let’s talk about the dynamics as a whole in the coaching realm as it relates to college football in the state of play.

All right, Ty with that it is our pleasure to bring in Bruce Feldman, Fox Sports, the athletic.

You know Bruce, everybody knows Bruce.

He was here a couple months ago talking about the sort of upcoming coaching carousel and early sort of whispers of the coaching carousel and now it seems like it’s done spinning ish.

Guess first question to Bruce, one, welcome and, two, are we done?

Are we done with Deshaun Foster?

I think so.

Okay.

I think so.

There’s like one other thing where it’s a coach who may have some NFL ish opportunities, but I I think that’s kind of a long shot at this point.

Okay.

I don’t even know what’s left in the NFL.

You’re talking about like a coordinator opportunity like a Jeff Hafley Chip Kelly interview situation.

Yeah.

Maybe not even to that degree.

Okay, fair enough.

So did the Chip Kelly news, we just finished talking about it, of Chip who obviously you know there were rumors about you know uh a possible demise at UCLA before the last couple games of the season and then interviews as an NFL offensive coordinator potentially did the news of taking a a not even lateral move in my opinion from UCLA to Ohio State as a coordinator.

Did that come as a surprise to you?

No, because it’s it was Ryan Day and it’s Ohio State and you know they grew up a mile apart in New Hampshire and chip recruited him to UNH and then he that’s where Ryan got his start and then Ryan went with him to the NFL as an assistant.

So that part didn’t really surprise me.

Also, he knows guys on that staff.

The offensive line coach was his offensive line coach at UCLA.

Their families are actually really close.

So that part didn’t surprise me and then if he was looking at an NFL OC job and you know and he was I mean right the Seahawks was certainly a consideration and and you know Dan Quinn with Washington also was I think potentially, too, but ultimately I think it was like to go coach ball to go you know he loves play calling.

I you know this I know when they played Boise State in the bowl game his quarterback coach Ryan Gunderson left to go be the offensive coordinator at Oregon State and so chip took over the room and he I think he was man I love this.

I love being hands on you know in the quarterback room whereas you know a lot of times offensive coordinators they are they do run the quarterback room too.

He was really the offensive coordinator at UCLA certainly was a play caller but it wasn’t like he can run.

He could be the quarterback coach too because at the end of the day I mean even Ryan Day when he was the office coordinator at Ohio State and play caller he needed somebody when he wasn’t there you know to handle that even if he was really coaching quarterbacks and I think when chip looked at that he was like man I really like doing that and quite honestly the the the job he took at UCLA six years ago is very different from the one it became a few years later when NIL came in because a big part of the job as a head coach especially in a place that does not have like this.

It’s not like Texas A&M or it’s not like an SEC school or some big ten schools.

There’s already a machine that’s involved and it’s honestly not like Oregon where you basically had Phil Knight right now.

Phil Knight covered a lot of the bases and now at UCLA you know it was critical that you’re going to have to spend a lot of energy doing stuff that’s not college football related and certainly not X and O’s related where you got to engage and ignite and energize people who really are kind of disconnected from the program and have been for a long time and that’s you know that’s going to be DeShaun Foster’s biggest challenge.

I think is can he energize and get them ramped up on the NIL front because they are you know I know this they are competing in the big ten with schools that are well into the eight figures on the NIL war chest and UCLA really right now is even in the seven figures.

So it’s a massive difference.

It affected them in recruiting because for a while it wasn’t like hey let’s talk money and that’ll be my decision but it’s gotten it got to that point more and more and I think what also changed with UCLA was they would I think Chip realized I can get you know better ready players from the portal who are guys who at least have some college experience whether it’s at the MAC level, the power five level, or even in the FCS level as opposed to, I’m going to take, you know, they took a bunch of recruits, too, but it wasn’t as many high school recruits but then once once the rules changed on that where you didn’t even need to graduate to transfer a you know a third time or a second time then I think guys might do well at UCLA and then all of a sudden somebody could throw you know mid six figures or low six figures at them and UCLA couldn’t compete with that.

Doesn’t that sort of, and this was always the case and on a certain level, but doesn’t that sort of change the calculus about a coach hiring process because on a certain level you now have to kind of hire the guy who is going to be most mindful of NIL and boosters and can play the political game in a way that maybe the best CEO type head coach can’t initially but the guy coming in with those relationships or with that specific skill has an enormous leg up?

Yes.

Now the the tricky part though is the other part of the job which is still a big part of the job is you need to be able to coach football right and some of those guys who can do what you’re talking about and some of the guys who are great recruiters they may lack the attention to detail in some other aspects.

So it’s harder.

I think it’s sort of the Chris Petersen question right that he like retired and said I’d rather just be the receivers coach at UC Davis and just coach football because the way that the sport sort of grew or changed isn’t as appealing to those detail oriented college football coaches.

Yes and and you know knowing Petersen from working with him you know a lot in the last few years he knows himself like he’s more self-aware than any college football coach I’ve met and probably more self-aware than almost any human being I’ve ever met and he was like alright if I if I just put myself into that environment I’m going to end up because I’m competitive I’m going to end up becoming something I or fighting my own instincts on right and that’s that’s an interesting rabbit hole to go down.

So Bruce do you view Chip Kelly as an upgrade over Bill O’Brien for Ryan Day?

Yes I do.

I mean I think anybody shouldn’t say just like this because obviously you know Bill O’Brien had a lot of success at times you know in the NFL and he did a good job at at I actually think he’s a good fit and a good hire for BC at this time because of his local connections.

I think he’s I think he’s probably about as well as they could have done but I think Chip is a much better X and O’s guy.

I also think what’s huge here is Ryan Day has done a really good job there.

His record is remarkable but he’s been like right now he’s in the fish grease kind of thing because they lost three times in a row to the arch rival Harbaugh left but still I think there’s a lot of scar tissue that builds up from just you know Urban’s shadow is hanging over.

I mean, I feel like Urban probably doesn’t go a day without 7-0 coming up in some capacity or something and Urban still lives in Columbus but he kind of his shadow hangs over it and I think you know Chip knows Ryan Day and you know better than anybody in coaching and football and I think he probably will be a very good buffer and sounding board for Ryan through this because he’s you know he’s been a head coach.

He like I said they know each other really well and I think you know I’m not saying you know he you know Ryan Day knew Bill O’Brien very well too but not nowhere near like this and I just think that their temperaments are very different.

I mean, I know Chip; I barely know Bill O’Brien.

I can’t say I’ve ever, you know, been in his coach’s office to see what his coaching environment but I’ve talked to enough people who talked about what his personality is like and I and I’ve been around Chip and I’ve been around you know the places he’s coached and it’s just a very different vibe and I think for Ryan Day I think it’s a perfect hire.

So does this mean now that one of the reasons Chip Kelly would go to Ohio State is because he’s going to get full control of the offense or is Ryan Day still going to have his fingerprints on it like that that I think Dan and I were talking about it earlier that formula seems to be a bit of an open question at the moment who is in charge of what and and it was the same deal with Bill O’Brien when he took the gig as well but do we have any sense for what that what that looks like in terms of who’s running what?

Yeah, I think Ryan Day’s plan was hey, I need somebody to I want somebody not I need because it’s interesting.

He’s really good.

You know, obviously the Mizzou game and the bowl game notwithstanding when you know they’re down to their third string quarterback or maybe a fourth string whatever you want to call you know kind of holes from from South Dakota.

He was he’s talented but he’s super young.

So I think that part was you know it’s hard because he’s giving up something he’s really good at but that’s what he wants to do and I think that will ultimately probably you know they’re loaded now because they’ve gone all in on NIL this offseason as you guys know.

So it’s I don’t wanna say it’s a national title or bust man.

It feels like that.

It feels that way.

What does Chip want to do long term?

Does he have aspirations of being an NFL coach, a college coach, a pro coordinator like where where do you think his career goes next?

I think it’s like hey, I want to be the best offensive coordinator I can here.

I don’t think realistically he knows he just turned 60.

I don’t think he sits there and go, oh, I’m gonna be an NFL head coach again.

I don’t know.

You know, could he be an NFL coordinator?

Sure.

You know, I think this opportunity gives him the best chance to really coach football and do that and then kind of go from there.

You know, it’s it’s interesting and you know, obviously Dan’s a big Oregon guy like we live near where Chip lived and so I was around him a lot and I think he seemed to be very like he loved it out here.

I think he seemed to be very comfortable and you know, with a lot of things.

I just think that the way the sport had the way college football had changed.

I think it became being a head coach was just way different.

I’d be surprised if he ever wanted to be a college head coach again.

I’m not saying and I don’t like he’s never told me, oh, I’d never be a college head coach again, but I would just be surprised with the way things are going.

I think he wants to coach football and you know, if he was going to be a college head coach again, my guess is it would be someplace that the three of us would not be covering New Hampshire back to New Hampshire full circle.

What was the reaction at UCLA, Bruce?

Were they relieved with with him leaving or Deshaun getting the job?

I mean, both really because it’s been no secret that the relationship was fractured between Chip and the powers that be and we know from your reporting and that of others that there was a lot of love in the building for Deshaun Foster to bring him back.

What is like the vibe at Westwood?

I think it’s it’s like wait-and-see on Deshaun.

Sorry, I’m trying to shoehorn a thing of a coffee thing…

People are getting the real Bruce Feldman.

Yeah, the real Bruce Feldman who never drank coffee till I was almost 50 and then because I became a sideline reporter and I was in well, sorry, I’m going down a tangent, but I know you’re good.

So I never drank it ever ever ever and then I was in Lubbock or something and I had to do a live hit for our pregame show and it was like 6:30 my body clock time and I was like I need something for my energy and the only way I could drink coffee sadly embarrassingly was to like dump it.

You know an armful of sugar in it, so I’m working, but now I love the smell of it and I love the taste of it.

I love the smell of it.

So it’s great.

I love coffee.

Yeah.

So look, I think there was a ton of people, including a lot of people.

I know who are like you know UCLA grads who are so excited that chip was gone, whatever it took because they were really over him.

They were over that you know.

I think they they spent way more you know a lot of time on why are we not recruiting well and you know they’re not getting good high school recruits and the one in the last few years who was a highly ranked kid for them Dante Moore.

I don’t want to say it was a bust because that’s not fair to him, but he really struggled mightily in his time last year. so it’s like I think there was a lot of frustration among the fans. you know it’s weird because they they won 25 games in the last 3 years.

It wasn’t like they were and they smashed USC two of those 3 years wasn’t like you know on the field was one thing.

It was just the other stuff and I think it you know you looked at it.

It’s not surprising that you see USC can pay Dan win way more.

He was a defense coordinator for 1 year.

They were already paying him actually pretty well for a guy who had no DC experience, but then UCLA swooped in and USC swooped in and paid him a lot more and then he was able to bring two of their better young players defensive backs with him to USC and that’s like kind of sticking.

You know it felt like a knife in the ribs kind of vibe so chip not being a head coach for them.

I think there was a lot of UCLA fans who were very relieved and happy by that news what they were going to get after that. you know I would ask you guys this because you guys like PJ Fleck was a real target right and for this search and that’s why Martin Jarmond flew down to Cabo because that’s where PJ Fleck was on vacation.

And not to interview Jedd Fisch, apparently?

The Jedd Fisch thing is is is kind of a head scratcher in this regard.

If if this if this search happened 2 months ago.

Jedd Fisch probably, you know, I could see Jedd Fisch at UCLA right now.

They lived in in Hermosa, which for people from here is, you know, it’s like one town over from where chip live, but it’s you know I think they liked it here.

He made a lot of connections here.

He did a he did a pretty awesome job at Arizona and he were you know his staff has a lot of ties in Los Angeles, especially in Southern California. but you know let’s be honest.

I mean like right now Washington is a much better job than UCLA in terms of the resources it has right and so.

So in that regard, it didn’t make much sense that he’s gonna.

Oh, I’m gonna take that job where you know it’s an uphill battle.

I’m not saying no one will be able to get the NIL for NL stuff ramped up.

Deshaun might be able to do it.

You know Deshaun was a great player here and he’s a really engaging guy with a good sense of humor and and you know very likable. so maybe that’s that, but you know what I was gonna say when I asked you about PJ Fleck is, you know, PJ Fleck has done a good job at Minnesota and did a really good job at at Western Michigan.

I was like I don’t know how that’s gonna play cuz he’s gonna be wherever he goes.

He’s gonna bring the “row the boat” vibe.

I mean, Dan you grew up in Southern California.

You know, Ty, you’ve been around.

Ty’s been out there.

Yeah.

I’ve taken him around what to so if PJ Fleck had gotten the job by the way, PJ Fleck was already making North of like making what Chip Kelly was making in a place where I’m not saying it was it doesn’t cost anything to live in Minnesota, but it doesn’t cost what it costs to live in Los Angeles right?

So the all of a sudden it’s like what are you gonna have to pay him?

You know supposedly there was like a talk of 7.5 million or whatever.

It’s like now you’re paying PJ Fleck money like PJ Fleck doesn’t even have a winning record in the big ten since he’s been there and he was on the easier side of the divisions. you know so I don’t you know again.

He’s it didn’t feel like a UCLA vibe.

It didn’t whereas like I think you can get away with like not having necessarily that vibe in basketball when you just need to bring in three awesome players and just be like UCLA has gone outside geographically of the footprint and it’s worked.

My question is a disrespectful one and I don’t know how to phrase it in a non disrespectful way and it’s not disrespectful intentionally.

It’s not disrespectful to you.

It’s at this stage.

We’re recording this right around Valentine’s Day, which is outside of that the big first portal window.

It’s obviously outside of signing day and the ability to form relationships like is Deshaun Foster and he wouldn’t be the first, but is he like a secret interim?

Is he a secret interim coach that basically where UCLA is in this cycle?

It’s they’re in a position that’s set up to fail because they’re gonna have they’re gonna lose key players.

They’re not gonna be able to add players for at least a couple of months.

He’s starting late in the 2025 recruiting cycle and we’ve seen it when coaches have gotten fired was like John L Smith isn’t the long-term answer in Arkansas, but he needed to step in stuff like that.

So my question is is this going to become even if it’s not the case for Deshaun Foster, but because of how late UCLA is in the cycle with this move, does it actually make sense to find somebody that isn’t going to cost them a lot of money if it doesn’t work out and they can get a jump on the next cycle.

Is that like a very cynical but possibly true way of looking at it?

It’s spoken like an organ fan.

I think um I can see where you’re coming from with it.

Um and I don’t like Deshaun Foster might be great and it would be a surprise and it wouldn’t cost them a lot of money and it would be great for everybody like on um I guess it was Saturday.

I wanna say like I did an update to my search story and I think it went up Sunday morning.

So it’s maybe Saturday night.

Um I started kind of rolling my head around like because I knew that the deal about like Deshaun before he left um before he left to go take the Raiders job.

He had dinner with Martin Jarmond, the AD and was like, hey, you know, if chip does leave, right?

What do I have a real shot?

And Martin, I think was being pretty candid when he said, uh I prefer somebody who was with head coaching experience and and not only did Deshaun not have that, he hadn’t been a coordinator and like this is I think an interesting point for the three of us is okay.

That’s usually the path.

You know, let’s say everybody wasn’t, you know, Urban Meyer was not a coordinator.

Jim Harbaugh was not a coordinator.

Um there’s plenty of good coaches who are not defensive coordinator, offensive coordinator.

We’re not Dave Aranda’s a defensive guy.

We’re not Lincoln Riley is a you know, I think Mike Tomlin wasn’t a coordinator, right?

Yeah, I know he’s a great defensive backs coach, right?

Um yeah and and oh yeah, I’m sure there’s a bunch like that.

There was guys who were like maybe had different roles as a assistant head coach or something but it’s just um you know, there’s there’s a lot of stuff that goes on with that job and they’re all gambles.

I I would say in this regard, it was like, hey, we’re gonna give Deshaun a shot.

Now, what’s tough is they’re going into the big ten which is a deeper conference schedule.

It’s harder.

You know, it’s like going in, they have LSU.

It’s like, I looked at it, you know, the other day and I was like, man, they’re gonna struggle to win six games, maybe seven and I think they would have like I’m an Ethan Garbers, you know, I believe, you know, I think he’s a really good quarterback.

When Ethan Garbers was healthy, UCLA was really good.

When he wasn’t, they weren’t and he he would if if he’s still in the same system and Chip Kelly’s there, I think Ethan Garbers is one of the best quarterbacks in the in the big ten this year.

Now, I don’t know yet who Deshaun is gonna hire as his play caller and OC.

It’s a critical hire.

Um you know, but let’s say they go six and six.

Man, it’s tough if you’re if you’re thinking the way you just outlined it that year two, you’re gonna be on the hot seat.

Right?

That’s not you gotta give him a chance.

I mean, you also gotta give him a chance like this first year.

The schedule is rough.

The schedule is so rough.

But he’s taking on in mid February.

Yeah.

So, I know he was there before but he wasn’t there as a head coach.

So, now, you know, it’s gotta be a massive outreach to go try to do whatever you can to get people engaged and and do what you can because now like, you know, you asked about the reaction to to Chip, you know, leaving.

Like, now, the all those people who are like pumping their fists about it.

Okay, you’re gonna step up now and you know, I’m not saying be like Tennessee or Texas A&M but you’re gonna have to commit a lot more or else this thing’s not gonna, you know, it’s not gonna get going.

That was gonna be my question, Bruce.

Like, if the implication is that Chip Kelly didn’t have the right relationships to to pull those levers, so to speak, to get the NIL, to get some of these other things working on the UCLA football side, what are those levers?

What does the job look like for Deshaun Foster if he wants to be in there long term?

It’s not just winning, right?

It’s the Casey Wasserman lever, I believe, right?

Yeah, I mean, is that what it comes down to?

Yeah, I mean, what’s what’s interesting on that, Dan?

So, so, I don’t know how many of our, you know, audience knows who that is, but he’s a huge booster.

He’s actually one of the, you know, the one person I think there was a story on one of the recruiting sites that Chip was gonna get fired.

I think it was before the USC game or that was when the story came out and I had talked to Martin Jarmond.

He was like very dismissive of the story in the report and it obviously didn’t turn out to be accurate but Casey Wasserman spoke to I think the Orange County Register and was like, no, I, you know, like he was a believer in Chip at that point and was, well, put his name on it and what’s tricky about that is like, you know, you’re when your biggest booster, your most prominent one though is also, you know, works in the agent space.

Right.

Like some of the wires can get crossed here and I know this from, you know, being around UCLA a lot over the last, you know, few years, you know, there was a time and the conference meetings every year where it’s like pretty much every conference except for the SEC is there.

I think it was two years ago coming up on three years but it was two years ago when in Scottsdale, there was a lot of talk about, hey, this is, you know, boosters cannot be acting as pay for play in NIL.

Obviously, we’ve seen them like the Tennessee case and lots of cases that is now become almost the norm but for a long time, that was like taboo and the PAC 12 conference especially was like, you know, and I know this from like Rick George who’s the AD at Colorado is one of the more outspoken ADs in what was the PAC 12, you know, was basically trying to hold people’s feet to the fire on we’re not doing all that because we know that that’s not against the rule.

We know that that’s not acceptable or whatnot.

Now, that’s there’s been a shift of that but I think as all this stuff is played out again like when you’re when you’re most prominent booster is also works in the agent space.

I think it gets it gets potentially, you know, pretty complicated.

So, who of the new hires across the sport?

So, if we’re going to sort of expand this a little bit, so who fills that Venn diagram most successfully or at least in a most intriguing way that you mentioned Bill O’Brien as a fit at Boston College because of local connections and familiarity with the area college coaching head coaching experience but whether it’s, you know, Curt Cignetti or Mike Elko or Manny Diaz, Jeff Lebby, like any of these guys, who do you think fits the both ball coach and politically savvy behind the scenes?

Kalen DeBoer, Alabama, Jedd Fisch, Washington, probably leaving Brent Brennan now, Arizona, who occupies the middle of that Venn diagram in the sort of most intriguing way long term to you.

I’m curious on the O’Brien front because he has a lot of ties in there.

His wife is a BC grad.

You know, he has a big name.

Obviously, he spent a lot of time with the Patriots.

I don’t know how well he’s gonna, you know, jump into being the casino greeter guy, you know, like that kind of thing.

Um he does have that look though.

Let’s be honest.

He has a future in it.

Like, it’s a really interesting hire to me.

Uh you know, again, if you asked me in the old school way, when I say old school, I mean like 2 years ago, like, okay, grade these hires because it’s not what you just asked me.

You asked me, you know, this other stuff, you know, like, like, to me, the, the, if I was doing it like in the grading way, I was like, okay, John Sumrall to Tulane, that’s an A-plus hire.

That guy killed it at Troy.

Anybody who’s ever talked to him for a while knows like the people who had a chance to hire him in this cycle and didn’t, I’m like, okay, that kind of dings the hire that they did make or whatever.

I think he’s, you know, I think he’s a great coach.

I think he does a lot of like he gets a lot of the big picture stuff.

Um and you know, like Tulane, Tulane’s money people emerged and stepped up with Willie Fritz as he got that program going and I think that there’s a chance there.

Um you know, I, I’m, I’m really curious like on how Kalen does at Alabama.

I think he’s really smart, but it’s such a different job from where he is and now you’re replacing the greatest coach of all time in the sport.

You know, man, that’s, that’s heavy.

Like I think Jedd will do well at Washington because all the stuff like Jedd is, he kind of fits what you just described.

You know, the challenge I think he’s going to face is to not come off as too much of a salesman.

Right.

That like you, you know, are we really going to have you for six years?

You know, that kind of thing.

I mean, because what he did at Arizona was again, was, was amazing job and most of that staff is there.

And we know that, you know, they can, they have the potential to be really, really good.

It’s just now they gotta replace 20 starters.

You know, that’s a ton.

Um so, I, I think those are, those are the, the ones that I thought were the most intriguing of how they do it.

I’m sure there’s some guys like, you know, I know Bryant Vincent is a good offensive coordinator.

He’s going to ULM like, like, you know, what does that mean?

Do you take Tim Brando out for shots?

To get it going?

I don’t know, you know, like at a place like that.

I know he’s a good offensive coach.

I just don’t know, you know, like how the NIL, the, you know, the schmoozing part works.

Um well, Mike Elko has a leg up, right?

Because he’s spent a ton of time there and so he knows people.

So, that seems like it’s, it’s, it seems like he’s starting on first or second base.

What’s, what’s tricky with the Mike Elko hire is he gets there and now there’s an AD search and I, you know, for his sake and probably for the, you know, for the program’s sake like they’re, the number two is Justin Moore who has been there a long time as a former A&M pitcher.

He’s not old but he’s been there, you know, pretty much, you know, he’s there in Houston, I think his whole career and I think that would help them a lot because then all of a sudden there’s continuity.

I think it’s dicey when all of a sudden you get hired and then there’s a new AD comes in.

You know, we don’t know how that’s gonna go.

Um like, Sherrone Moore’s situation is interesting just because you know, he won a national title.

He had a huge role in it and Jim Harbaugh took a bunch of key pieces and now, your arch rival is like, I’m sure there’s a video game like analogy to it where they’ve taken all the, you know, all the amped up fuel and now they’re all muscled up.

It’s like, you know, like a Super Mario Brothers thing kind of where you’re just like so inflated to dominate them now.

Now, you have to combat that, right?

And so, you know, are the money people there really engaged or did they just take a big sigh or even a big breath and go, okay, we’re good for a little while.

I feel like there has been this tendency to project all of our opinions on the current state of the coaching carousel specifically.

Are you hearing about current coaches, more coaches that are souring on the sport looking for the exits?

More chips, hafleys, Petersens.

Yeah, is that a trend or is that just a take?

Where are you at on that argument?

Good question.

Um I definitely think it’s a trend.

Okay.

I think it’s this.

It’s where if guys have the opportunity to go to the NFL, they’re going to go to the NFL because um the calendar is what it is right now and there’s just like I think you have, I think there’s a lot of stuff that is getting conflated, right?

Where and I’m not saying people are wrong to say, oh, this is the thing or that’s the thing but I think there’s a lot of things that are getting intertwined and like, you know, like Jeff Hafley was a great defense coordinator, Ohio State.

I thought he was going to do much better than he did at BC and if he went four and eight next year, I don’t know.

They might have had to have a coaching search, you know?

So like whereas now he goes to Green Bay Packers and if they have, if he does really well, he’s probably interviewing for NFL head coaching jobs a year from now, right?

And you don’t have to worry about somebody poaching my good, you know, right tackle or slot receiver because that’s what he had to worry about at BC every year.

So I think like I think those are like, I think that’s an issue and then I think the calendar isn’t, is a real issue but like, you know, I go to the combine every year and I have a coaching friend who’s like a NFL assistant and so we talked about me coaching my kid and he he all of a sudden is like, because I wrote about it like now all of a sudden I get like all these other coaches who, you know, kind of found, you know, talk about that.

And so this particular guy was like, yeah, I get to coach my son in baseball.

I would never be able to do that if I was a college coach anymore.

And I think just the quality of life aspect is opened up significantly for them.

And I again, so why I brought that up, that last part up is I don’t know if some of that is because of like some of these coaches may see me and they’re like, oh yeah, when you talked about coaching your kid and you talked about this or I did a, we, I had Chris Petersen on as a, as a podcast guest when, when Stu was at way and we talked a lot about issues kind of related to this.

So I think, you know, maybe I indirectly without trying to, I put up some kind of a little bit of a flair.

And so people see that, you know, whereas like I’m looking at Dan, you know, here in the left corner and I’m like, yeah, we may, I may talk to him about, you know, pizza or Evanston or something, you know, like just because I know that’s a common ground kind of thing, see it, you know, like that.

I don’t, I don’t want to, you know, undersell the question, but I do think there’s a little bit of that with me.

Whereas, you know, maybe they’re not talking that way with Ross Dellenger, you know, or maybe they’re not talking that way with other reporters just because it’s like a little different.

What, what is the calculus at this point with coordinators in college as they evaluate, you know, what a head coaching job looks like versus what the NFL looks like?

You mentioned that if somebody’s going to have an NFL opportunity, they’re going to take it.

But at the same time, college coordinators, especially at, you know, high profile places, I, you know, I just saw like Glenn Schumann and Dan Lanning were both at like the, the golf tournament in Phoenix together, and he’s a name that’s going to continue to attract attention because he understands what it takes inside of a giant machine in college.

Like, is that going to affect the way the, these top level coordinators view the sport and some of the, the opportunities they will or won’t pursue?

I think it depends on the guy, you know, because there’s only so many of them, but like, you know, Schumann, Schumann’s a good example on this in terms of, like, why not become, you know, Mike McDonald, right?

If you’re Glenn Schumann and, you know, just make a coordinator jump instead of coordinator, head coach, coordinator, like a halfling move.

Yeah.

If you can, if you can make that.

You get it.

I mean, there was a guy I got to know when he was a young coach in my meat market days, Ryan Nielsen was like the youngest defensive line coach in the sec at the time.

And it kind of like he’s bounced around a bunch of places.

There’s some really small schools.

Like he was at central Connecticut, which the only, you know, which is like near ESPN.

And then he, he was a defensive coordinator there, but then he went to like Tennessee Martin and then in the Mac.

And then eventually he did, he, he was a really good position coach and he got on with the saints and there was some opportunity for him to go to go back to college.

And I think he was pretty smart and was like, okay, I can see where this is headed.

I’m, you know, kind of figured out what was important for that job.

And I don’t, I would guess it was interesting to me because now he was the Falcons coordinator this year and he did, he did well, his, his side of the ball did well.

Right.

And then he got to the Jaguars, but some of these guys it’s like, and Mike McDonald kind of fits in this category.

I think, you know, now he doesn’t anymore, but like where, unless they came from that, that McVay-Shanahan kind of terrarium that was in Washington 10 years ago, I feel like a lot of people don’t really know who these people are.

They’re just kind of like, you know, they’re kind of nesting with the Ravens or something, whatever.

And then all of a sudden they pop and they blow up and then it gets that way.

Whereas in college, you know, anybody who was a college football fan, I felt like they knew who Dave Aranda was, you know, and they, the weird one is like Phil Parker.

Like, I mean, it’s obviously statistically great, but they don’t, you know, I don’t think outside the, you know, they know who the other coordinator was for nothing.

Right.

Of course.

But mostly in college, I, I feel like, and again, it’s, this may be because I cover college more than the NFL, but I feel like people know more about necessarily who those guys are.

And you can kind of see the path.

And I think that has changed in the last few years where it’s become a little more interchangeable, right?

Where there are guys who this pipeline of moving like Mike McDonald’s a great example, you know, he left his Jim Harbaugh, his brother’s staff went to Michigan, did great and then bounce right back.

And Harbaugh, you know, I knew this cause, you know, to him talking to people in the process, Harbaugh, basically when he went to do this search to replace McDonald at very specific criteria and Mike McDonald had worked with Jesse Minter and kind of kind of schooled him a little on what he, what he would need to, to ace that interview.

And, and Jesse Minter, if you look statistically, you know, he was at Vandy, they were really struggling, you know, on paper, it was like, eh, this would probably be a tougher sell on the bio, but it turned out to be a great pair for him, obviously for, and he’s done well.

And now he’s, you know, back in the NFL.

And I, I think it’s all of that of like, you know, I feel like sometimes, and I do this too, like we kind of tend to look at, okay, these are the stats and this is what the numbers are.

And sometimes the numbers can either be misleading or they don’t really tell the whole picture, you know, like we had this, I did this story, which was on last summer on the life of an air raid defensive coordinator.

And one of the former air raid defensive coordinators had gave me a line about like, yeah, if you’re in the Big Ten, you know, it’s like, you’re, you’re statistically going to be a lot better and kind of explained it.

And, and it, it backs up, you know, obviously like Iowa, Michigan, Penn state, they all statistically were really good.

Now, except for Ohio state, there weren’t a lot of explosive offenses either in that week.

Yep.

No.

So it’s, it’s, yeah, it’s, it’s an interesting kind of dynamic that we’re kind of treading into.

Let’s talk about Michigan for a second.

We’re now what, two, three weeks into Sherrone Moore’s tenure, and we’ve seen coaches come and go.

The most recent I think is what wink Martindale taking over the defense also from, you know, that sort of head of that Ravens defensive tree for a long time.

What has been the internal reaction at Michigan thus far, obviously late in the process, you know, coming off of a national championship is shown more looked at as a stable futuristic guy because of the experience and the interim experience he had at Michigan are people sort of questioning based on, you know, some hires and some losses that aren’t like a great reflection on Sherrone Moore at the moment, at least.

And I don’t know if anybody really expected like Jesse Minter to stick around when his name was as hot as it was, but it doesn’t seem like it’s been at least from the outside, the splashiest first two or three weeks.

What has been the reaction internally and in the coaching community?

You know, I think most people felt like he deserved to get the job.

And so I think there’s a lot of people like, okay, good.

He deserved, you know, because there’s not like a, it wasn’t just like the typical coordinator, right?

He was the guy who was the head coach in unique circumstances.

And it wasn’t like he was his head coach when they played Nebraska, Illinois and Rutgers, they played at Penn state and they played their arch rival.

And he did, he did a great job.

And in all three of those games, including the trap game against Maryland.

I think what was a little bit of a gut punch to a lot of them.

And I remember reporting this early and I got a lot of blowback cause I, I was surprised, but I had a pretty good source saying Ben Herbert was expected to leave to go to go with Harbaugh.

And I think there had to be people inside Michigan who believe, you know, maybe even including the ad that he was staying.

And cause there was a lot of pushback on that report initially.

I mean, I haven’t been called an idiot by as many people, you know, unless I went to Stew’s wedding or something where Stew like, it was, that’s a, that was to me a significant loss.

Cause that guy, you know, when you talk to like NFL, people think he’s, it was like the best strength coach in the country and the development aspect of what he did there was a remarkable job.

And so now they promoted somebody who was a protege of his, who was with him at a couple of stops.

And it’s probably as good as you could hope to do if you can’t get, get Herbert to stay.

You know, I, I’m interested to see how Wink Martindale does.

He’s obviously has a terrific NFL resume and that’s a splat.

That is a splashy hire, by the way.

Yeah, it is.

I, in a lot of ways, I think, you know, if you told me that out of loyalty, Sharon, not just out of loyalty, but, but, you know, part of out of loyalty, Sharon was going to do co-coordinators with Mike Elston and clink scales, the secondary coach and the, and Elston being the defensive line coach.

I’d be like, yeah, okay.

Based on what people have told me there, I don’t know if that would have gotten that great, to be honest.

So we’ll see how this is going to play out.

I think, you know, Kirk Campbell is somebody people inside Michigan.

They really like Kirk Campbell was a guy who got promoted to be the quarterback coach because Jim Harbaugh put the quarter of the actual quarterbacks, you know, in the, in the interview process or in that process, and they really gushed about him.

So, you know, I, I’m interested to see what Sharon does.

I think, like I said, I think he deserved, absolutely deserve the job.

And now let’s see where it goes.

I feel like the pressure, I don’t want to say the pressure is off him, but if they go eight and four, considering they lost almost everybody, you know, it’s, it’s a tough league.

There’s going to be a lot of payback on them if they go eight and four, that’s not to me, that’s not a bad year after all the guys they’ve lost.

And, and, and that, I think the challenge is, and look, you know, Ohio state’s probably going to try to beat them 50 to nothing or 70 to nothing, but you know, like I, I feel like he needs time and let’s see, let’s let check back in three years, four years.

Bruce final one for me, hopefully to bring it full circle.

We’ve talked a lot here about college coaches, perhaps seeking that opportunity at the next level in the NFL.

What we haven’t talked about is whether or not the NFL actually wants college coaches.

It wasn’t all that long ago that Chip Kelly was all the rage that urban Meyer was all the rage.

We go through these cycles where sometimes the NFL wants the hot name from college, but more often they don’t.

So projecting forward, are there names in the college ranks that you have heard that you would surmise could be NFL caliber and would be in demand.

Should some of those opportunities come available?

Look, I think, you know, urban Meyer probably had some role in giving them, you know, and, and certainly Matt Rhule to some extent, but like urban never coached there, you know, he went in there and it did, you know, as you know, it was a disaster.

Right.

And so I think for, for, for coaches who and general managers and, and owners to sit there and go, oh, this guy’s really successful, but like, and I’m not saying Dabo would be urban, but there are guys who’ve never coached in the NFL, never been a part of that world.

Quite honestly, Lincoln Riley is a really good X and O’s guy, but Lincoln’s never been up there, you know?

And so Kirby smart has, yeah, I, you know, in some ways I feel like Kirby is in like his own kingdom there.

Yeah.

They have all these, you know, resources.

He’s from there.

He played there.

Um, does that not mean that like five years from now, you know, I don’t know, the Falcons owner would be like 93, but like, would he ever want to be the Falcon?

I have no idea, no idea.

But the guys who I’m like, oh, this guy could be upwardly mobile.

Like if Ohio state wins the national title this year, Ryan Day has been in the NFL.

Ryan Day is a good, you know, offensive mind.

I don’t know if the, if they look at it and go, okay, we’ve slayed that dragon, you know, his name two years ago was really hot.

And then because of Michigan, it, it cooled off, but he’s somebody I like of the two of them.

And I feel like they get lumped together quite a bit for a variety of reasons.

I feel like because his NFL experience, I think he’s different than Lincoln.

And also, you know, quite honestly, he’s a lot closer to winning a national title than where, you know, USC is, I know it didn’t mean to like kind of foist Lincoln into this conversation, but, um, if, if the Seahawks do really well on offense, will people look at the Alabama head coach and say, you know what, that’s that guy’s mentor.

And right.

You know, like he’s been a really good offensive coordinator and would he, you know, I, again, I don’t see Kalen DeBoer, you know, bouncing after one year.

I don’t think you make that move.

And then all of a sudden, you know, you run from it or, you know, bail out.

But like, he’s somebody who I could see the NFL having some interest in because he’s, you know, been involved with some really, really good offenses.

You know, the defensive, like, I feel like these are primarily offensive, you know, related discussions.

Like could Dave Aranda, if he doesn’t have a really good year, end up as somebody’s defensive coordinator in the NFL.

Yeah, I think so.

I mean, he’s, you know, he’s, he’s a really good defensive coach.

And I think that he could be on people’s radar, right?

I think that would, you know, not be shocking.

I just don’t know how many, how many guys who are head coaches, you have to have that, like that really depths of expertise on that side of the ball, not just to be like, to go be a position coach or something.

Final question.

What percentage of coaches who interviewed somewhere, what percentage of those interview subjects are actually known?

Because of what we’re doing right now, this format, this changed the, this changed the category, category, category, categorization of an interview.

Right.

So way more interviews happen.

The three of us did not have to go fly to Dallas and go to, you know, hang out at some airport lounge to conduct this because of the zoom.

But we should try that someday.

Just why not?

Sure.

I think that, that has opened up the number, like, because I, there’s a couple of coaches I know, I was like, wow, this person was like, yeah, I zoomed with them.

And I didn’t realize that many people like that, the process has got that much more involved, where you can, you can cover a lot more bases that way.

Well, you know, like for a head coaching job, I don’t think it’s just like, Hey, we’re going to put you on the phone.

But now the zoom aspect, you can, I mean, you can’t really, you know, I think this is the first step.

And then if it goes well, then you either fly in or they meet you somewhere, right?

So that’s, that’s a little different.

But yeah, you can say I interviewed for the head coaching job, and you wouldn’t be wrong.

It’s, it’s a lot more than we know.

And I’ll be honest, there’s a handful that happen.

Every search, I’m like, do you want that out?

Do you not want that out?

Right?

Like, because usually people don’t want it out that they interview.

Usually, okay, there’s a name.

And this is, I think, of a special interest to tie James Franklin, James Franklin’s name comes up.

And it’s a number of people who report on the coaching search world and coach hires and college football news.

He’s at a huge job at Penn State.

He’s from the state, I believe he’s from somewhere in like central PA.

Where’s Stroudsburg?

Is that where he’s from?

He went, he went to school in Stroudsburg.

Yeah, he went to school in Stroudsburg.

Right.

His name has come up with, you know, big openings, Texas, USC, wherever.

Is he aggressive?

Is his agent aggressive?

Is it somebody out of thin air speculating?

I’m not accusing anybody of anything.

But why does his name come up as much as it does?

Is he actively looking for a new job?

I don’t think so.

I think before, you know, like he has had, he switched agents probably a year ago, maybe 18 months ago.

I think sometimes, you know, maybe the agents can be, you know, can be aggressive.

I will say this on this part, whenever, whenever, and this happened with Alabama, it’s like, and I think I had tweeted, yeah, one thing I can be sure, I don’t know who’s going to get the job, but I know Jimmy Sexton is going to get a lot of people paid in this.

Right.

I, you know, swear to God, Jimmy Sexton is not texting me anything.

He’s not calling me or whatever, like that’s, you know, I don’t talk to him or whatever.

And I’m, I think the bulk of the people, I shouldn’t say the bulk, I think there’s, you know, a lot of people who are reporters who don’t sit there and like, oh, this agent is feeding me information.

They may get it from somebody who works with a coach in some capacity.

But I don’t think I think that would surprise, there’s a handful of reporters who are in the insider space who I do think, you know, maintain relationships with agents, but I don’t think that’s always where it comes from.

I just think, you know, you can kind of see how these things play out and then you have other sources.

And so you’re going to report on them.

When it comes to Franklin, I really thought USC in a, for a couple of reasons was a sensible spot for him because, you know, first of all, he is, you know, he has a daughter with some with some physical health challenges, and being close to like a big medical center, made a lot of sense for the family, I think.

I also think from a personality standpoint, you know, you could see him probably in a major media market.

I was not one to be like, oh, yeah, he’s going to be the head coach at, you know, some of these SEC schools, because I just didn’t think that was realistic of he was going to, that was going to be a move he’s going to make, right?

So I don’t know how, like this cycle, I’m trying to remember where did his name come up hot for Alabama, maybe a little bit.

I didn’t think it was that real.

The last time I remember hearing his name might have been when Mike Norvell took Florida State at a huge place.

Ty, what do you, Ty’s sort of a minored in James Franklin rumors, Ty.

Yeah, I mean, there were some tangential mentions of him with Texas A&M.

So that one, I didn’t, that one to me didn’t make any sense either.

Like it didn’t, like the one place where I think I had saw him as a real candidate and obviously it hasn’t happened in a few years was USC.

You know, like right now, like this past year was not a great year for him or certainly his offense.

You know, obviously he fired an offensive coordinator, but it was like, that was a program where I think some of us thought, man, Nake or Dark Horse to be a playoff team because they have a lot of pieces around.

We’ve heard really good things about Drew Allar from inside the program and then they went out and they, you know, played good opponents when they did play good opponents and didn’t just were done on offense.

So, yeah, I mean, the, the general sense that I have gotten over the years is that if he’s leaving, it is somewhere that is bigger, not necessarily a bigger school, but a bigger media market, a bigger city.

There aren’t that many places that fit that.

And there aren’t, there aren’t.

And, and in a lot of cases, those aren’t great college programs.

So it, it is a bit of a, a strange situation, maybe not a strange situation, but a specific one that has always been the general sentiment that I have gotten.

He’s interesting in, in, from this standpoint where he’s won a ton of games.

But I, I feel like, and I, you can speak to this certainly better than me, Ty, is like, you know, when, when UCLA, when Chip left, there was a ton of UCLA fans that were very happy about this with, with James Franklin, like how would the Penn State fans feel about him if that move happened?

I mean, I, I think, I think there is this sentiment of Penn State fans wanting to win something, the, the constant feeling of being close and not being able to get over that mountain is, is difficult and it can wear you down.

I mean, it’s.

The 10 and 2 ceiling, essentially.

The 10 and 2 ceiling, exactly.

That has worn people down.

So if Franklin were to leave or be removed, you would have a large swath of the Penn State fan base that I think would celebrate it.

Nevermind the fact that he’s been a very successful coach.

He’s just got a lot of talent on hand and it’s an objective fact that he is not winning these big games.

So people would be happy about that.

My question has always been who’s next, right?

If not Franklin, who has been very, very successful, who’s the next guy that’s going to come in and suddenly take Penn State to the mountaintop?

Like I wonder this is like, you know, what percentage of fan bases are actually really happy with the coach they have?

And it’s probably, you know, I, it just kind of, you know, kind of blew my mind a little bit that there was like, we got to fire a Ryan Day.

I was like, really?

Do you know what the guy’s record is?

It’s like, you know, Luke Fickell had one year in there now he took under really adverse circumstances.

He’s a really good coach, but it’s like it is not easy to win like 11 or 12 games in a year, you know, and it’s just like, I think, man, there’s just not a lot of, it’s hard to sustain it.

It’s tough, man.

It’s a tough business.

Yeah, you could argue a month ago, maybe Arizona’s fan base was the happiest in America, right?

Like, you know, just the expectations aren’t huge.

Jedd Fisch surpasses them.

They have a quarterback of the future.

They beat a huge program in a bowl game like pound for pound.

Arizona’s fan base might have been the happiest recruiting hasn’t been incredible, but it’s been improved and yeah, I’m I think Oregon’s fan base is happy.

I think Texas’s fan base is probably really happy right now.

Just right now is looking super bright.

Georgia’s probably though they didn’t make the playoff this past year, but even still, I think Georgia’s fan base is probably thrilled with the direction of everything, but I don’t know how many beyond that there are maybe.

Oh, I think Ole Miss’s fans are happy because now that NIL is big part, they you know that feel like this will be a big year for Lane.

You know, I think getting to the playoff now is not going to mean as much as it certainly did till this year.

So I think that’ll be the new measuring stick though, you know, and maybe we could wrap on that.

I think the expansion in the playoff is going to be the new threshold by which a lot of aspiring fan bases hold up their coach.

They Mizzou’s pumped with their coach.

Mizzou’s pumped, but they you want to get to the playoff now, right?

If you don’t get to the playoff, I think that’s going to force some decisions at places that maybe getting to the playoff getting to the playoff though.

If like what you just said, we’re just talking about James Franklin, them going to the playoff like they would have been to the playoff a bunch of they would have been to the playoff a bunch of times.

Yeah.

Yep.

For sure.

Bruce, we could talk to you all day.

We appreciate your time.

As always, I want to give you a chance to enjoy that coffee over there.

Bruce Feldman from the Athletic Fox Sports, the Audible podcast.

Always a pleasure.

Always enlightening.

We’ll bring you back soon.

Alright.

Alright.

Thank you guys.

Always good to see you.

Alright, there you go.

Bruce Feldman, the Athletic Fox Sports, the Audible podcast.

One of our oldest friends on this podcast.

Always willing to come on and share his wisdom.

We’re always grateful to have Bruce’s insight here.

The best.

I don’t know.

I’m I’m hopeful now that we have reached a point where we’re going to stop seeing news like this for a couple months.

For a couple months.

It’s adorable, Ty.

For a couple months.

Yeah.

And that’s not me so much saying it personally.

Whenever we’ve got content like this, people want to know more about it.

They download the show.

They listen.

They write in SolidVerbal at gmail dot com.

Find us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, all the hotspots.

We would encourage you to do so if you have additional thoughts.

I just hope for the sake of like college football and the fan base, generally speaking, for college football, there have been so many moving pieces this offseason.

Not just with the portal but with coaches, with assistant coaches, with guys coming and going and coming.

It’s a lot.

It’d be nice to just have after the Super Bowl now, after football is like officially ended in some sense, it’d be nice to have a little bit of a moment here to catch our breath, to reacquaint ourselves with who is on what roster at this point, who is coaching whom, and then just slink our way into spring football a couple weeks down the line.

Here’s my idea.

College football, NBA, all these sports, they’re so volatile.

NFL, you got these constant changes.

Here’s the new Bruce move.

Japanese baseball transaction to Major League Baseball, right?

There’s like three a year.

Maybe it’s like six a year.

They all happen at the same time.

Bruce could learn Japanese, right?

And like fill a market gap, right?

And he’s the guy in terms of like breaking the Yamamoto to the Dodgers.

That’s his name, right?

One of the new Dodger pitcher.

I think Bruce uses his skill, translates that to a new arena and becomes Bruce Feldman’s son.

Has there been a situation like that where a big time, I don’t know, I’ll call him a scoop artist.

Oh, an inter-sport transition.

Yeah.

Yeah.

Yeah.

I mean, I guess like Schefter’s done a little bit of that where he’s reported on college stuff, but that’s mostly mostly because of his Michigan connection.

But what I’m talking about is like Adam Schefter suddenly going and working baseball or NBA rumors.

I would love to know like the number of actual dials that needed to that would need to be turned for Adrian Wojnarowski.

Just like, you know what this year I’m doing softball.

I’m just doing all the softball NCAA softball moves.

Like, would you have to have three dinners and then he’d be ready to roll?

Probably.

I don’t know.

I don’t have like the stunt, right?

Like the ESPN like stunt crossovers where like they’ll have like I remember Ari Wasserman had this wasn’t an ESPN stunt one, but he had Brian Windhorst on to talk about college football because Brian Windhorst, you know, NBA reporter, newsbreaker, whatever is a huge Ohio State fan.

Yeah.

So you’ve had like some crossover fandom elements, but like yeah, could Buster only like turn a dial and report on NFL free agency.

I don’t know what turning a dial actually means like have dinner with five people and like show up do like a spring tour and create those sources.

And I again, it’s Jeff Passon?

Passan.

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

You know, have him do something like I would love for that to be the case and to see if anybody is actually, oh, I was much better equipped to break again, Japanese baseball transactions to Major League Baseball.

That’d be great.

I’m into it.

SolidVerbal at gmail dot com again is the email address.

Verballers.com is where you can go to check out all of our Patreon content.

Again, ad-free episodes, ad-free feed.

We’ve got bonus episodes.

We’ve got a survey out there right now.

Yeah.

Our trusted Verballerhood has been very kind in their feedback, helping us steer the ship here through the off season.

And as we start to plan for 2024, we’ve also got something that we’re going to send out to the masses as well to get some of your input.

But we would encourage you all, of course, to check out Verballers.com.

That is sort of the epicenter for all of this, Dan.

We need your support.

We love your support.

We treasure your support.

Indeed, indeed.

Big thanks to our guest of honor today, Bruce Fellman.

Again, the athletic Fox Sports, the Audible podcast.

We’ll have him on again sometime soon.

Certainly, if news keeps breaking in the fashion that it has over the last couple months.

The news of the day, again, Chip Kelly off to Ohio State, Deshaun Foster going back to UCLA, Bill O’Brien going back home to Boston, going to coach the Boston College Eagles for that guy over there.

My good friend, Dan Rubenstein, for myself, Ty Hildenbrandt.

Talk to you a little later on this week.

In the meantime, stay solid.

Peace.

[Music]

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