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As the rumor mill churns

Dec 2, 2009, 7:30 AM EDT

(This will be a daily feature until Notre Dame actually decides who will replace Charlie Weis as the head coach of the Fighting Irish. I’ll report rumors, hearsay, speculation, anonymous tips, absolute falsehoods, and predictions. If you’ve got a hot lead, email me at KeithArnold@nbcsports.com)

If the truth is indeed out there, and we are to believe that college football coaches would never tell a lie, then yesterday was a very bad day on the hunt for Charlie Weis’ replacement.

(Of course, if we’re presupposing that coaches would never lie, athletic director Jack Swarbrick just started his search, so there’s nothing really to worry about, right?)

In the course of 24 hours, three legitimate candidates for the head coaching position ducked the Notre Dame search spotlight like Tate Forcier/Anthony McCoy/Vince Murray/Jordan Todman/Toby Gerhart eluded Irish defenders. (Too soon?)

Bob Stoops, he of wishy-washy denials, distanced himself from the Notre Dame opening again, this time calling out ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Rumors came round the bend that TCU and head coach Gary Patterson have agreed on a long-term extension which pretty much eliminates the Horned Frogs coach from heading to South Bend. And Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp quickly put an end to any rumors that he’d be interesting in replacing Charlie Weis and giving up on his coach-in-waiting position with the Longhorns.

Even Brian Kelly, who most likely ascends to the top of the wish list for many Irish fans keeping tabs on the coaching situation, has called any speculation on the Notre Dame job irrelevant. (See for yourself here.)

According to a few sources, we may have underestimated how on lock-down Jack Swarbrick actually has this search. Both Swarbrick and Jenkins have made it clear that nobody — no big donors, board members, or senior administrators — will get the inside scoop on this deal. While that probably stinks for the majority of us that are trying to figure out what’s going on at all times, it’s a really efficient way for Action Jack to work, and quite a nice change from the previous athletic director who probably would’ve written on different trustees’ Facebook walls if they were around back then.

And now to our FAVORITE THEORY OF THE DAY:

From Chris in the comments section:

What about bringing back Lou as as the director of football and Skip as
the future coach? Lou as the guy to go and recruit and get the program
back in the right direction and the chance to work with his son Skip? Similar to what just happened in Florida State with the passing of the
guard.

Before we implement this plan, maybe we should ask Florida State fans how the whole passing of the guard thing went for the Seminoles. Bobby Bowden just got run out of the town that he spent 34 years building. I think the only way this scenario happens is if Kirk Herbstreit comes on as quarterbacks coach, Mark May captains the offensive line, Corso runs the defense and Jesse Palmer makes a reality show about it.

  1. dan - Dec 2, 2009 at 8:35 AM

    one would think that none of the coaches listed above could possibly tell the truth when asked questions about moving to south bend and coaching. except for the TCU and Gruden situation, where there is actual paperwork being signed to hold onto people longer, the rest of the possible candidates are just merely speaking politically. correct me if i am wrong but all of the coaches are still coaching a team which is playing for either a conference title, national championship, or at the least a bowl game. i think it would be wrong for the coaches to let their teams think anything but exactly what the coaches are saying right now which is “i want to be here”.

  2. TLNDMA - Dec 2, 2009 at 8:43 AM

    As the media and we, speculate and get it wrong time after time, it’s interesting to hear how this is Swarbrick’s and ND’s fault. If you look and listen, you will find the media’s errors blamed on ND, in one way or another. My guess and hope is that Swarbrick has a good plan and knows what he’s doing. That the media does not know the plan, and doesn’t know what they’re doing, does not concern me at all.

  3. teo - Dec 2, 2009 at 9:55 AM

    Part of Swarbrick’s challenges will stem from the situation the university is in right now. Cincinnati and Florida have one regular season game remaining. And, Florida may play for a national championship (heck, Cinci may, too, depending on the outcome of its battle with Pitt). So, it’s unlikely that either coach can do anything other than deny every rumor because they cannot distract their kids from the task at hand.
    Stoops is a tougher egg to crack. Unless the OU recruits are threatening to walk, there is no reason for Stoops to so aggressively deny rumors. And, that is what he is doing. At first, I believed those reports on ESPN and elsewhere that ND and Stoops had some type of deal. I don’t believe it anymore. It seems like he’s moving on,but until we have a deal with someone else, Stoops is in the mix.
    Finally, the athletic department needs to do a better job of keeping quiet the rumors. It is one thing for ND Nation to chat about who we would like; quite another for an inside source to say ND and Stoops have a deal.
    As for the theory: with all due respect to Coach Lou Holtz, we should be able to find someone else. I like Kelly. I like Stoops. I like Ferentz. Kelly is probably the hungriest — and he has won everywhere he’s coached — but any of those three would work. The TCU guy and the Boise guy have shown they can regularly win, too. They would work. Sit tight. This will get interesting.

  4. sharkey - Dec 2, 2009 at 10:01 AM

    I would LOVE to see Swarbrick’s list! This is worse than waiting for Christmas!! LOL

  5. jfrie63780 - Dec 2, 2009 at 11:35 AM

    How about Charlie Strong? Good D-coach at both Sout Carolina and Florida. Lower profile but maybe what ND needs. A low profile coach to help keep expectations lower until the program rebuilds.

  6. sharkey - Dec 2, 2009 at 11:55 AM

    CFT – “Spurrier To Recieve Contract Extension”… damn. There goes my pick. :P

  7. Michael - Dec 2, 2009 at 12:01 PM

    2 words, BUTCH DAVIS

  8. jfrie63780 - Dec 2, 2009 at 12:26 PM

    Funny thing about Spurrier…him and Charlie have the same record. Weis gets fired and Spurrier gets an extra year(maybe more) added to his contract.

  9. sharkey - Dec 2, 2009 at 2:47 PM

    yeah, but once spurrier builds them up and they actually get used to winning, they will turn as rabid as we are. They’re not that far away of going for a SEC Championship themselves.
    LOL @ all the coaches geting pay raises now that Notre Dame is shopping! ND irrevelant? I don’t think so.

  10. Art Vandelay - Dec 2, 2009 at 3:13 PM

    I thought I Remembered Urban saying how committed he was to the Utes…right before he left for the Gators. I think if you’re Swarbrick you have to be working on him and that you probably started after loss #2 to Navy.

  11. jfrie63780 - Dec 2, 2009 at 3:14 PM

    SEC championship not anytime soon. Fan base is rabid but not in the sense ND nation is. There are five other teams ahead of them…Florida, Alabama (obvious two) Tenn (getting back to being a top SEC team) , Georgia and Auburn (both had off years).
    Is funny how extentions and raises are floating around this week. I would love to see some consideration for Charlie Strong. Knows defense and has had to prepare defenses against the SEC speed. May have no head coach experience but that may be good. Lower the expectations for the first couple of years. Give the prgram time to rebuild instead of bringing in a top coach and expecting a NC right off the bat.

  12. Jake - Dec 2, 2009 at 3:26 PM

    Perhaps it’s time to look away from the “big names”, who obviously are avoiding ND’s overtures like the black death, and consider someone like U Con’s Edsall. He has run U Con for quite sometime and has a good record. He has gone to a couple of bowl games in the recent past and won them. In 07 he went 9-4 which I certainly would take at this point for the Irish. He would also come in without the immediate expectation of a BCS top bowl that Meyer or Stoops would be assumed to hand them.
    For ND they could probably get him for much less than the reported 3 Mill they offered to Stoops. Currently Edsall is at 1.3 Mill.
    For Edsall it would be a win/win situation. Even if he failed he could go back to a good second tier program who’s AD would froth at the mouth for a former ND coach. If he wins he is immediatly up for Sainthood.
    Maybe it’s time to stop looking at the “usual Suspects” and think a little out of the box. Who knows perhaps there is another Lou Holtz lurking out there.
    Jake

  13. Trebor - Dec 2, 2009 at 4:46 PM

    The biggest problem that the Irish have is defense; thus it should follow that a defensive minded head coach would get more consideration. Therefore you have coaches like Stoops(very unlikly coming to Notre Dame), Patterson (contract extention and he is on a mission at TCU), Ferentz (maybe). If you want a safe bet and all that takes into account Kelly is the choice. If you want flash and offense then Harbaugh is your man.

  14. sharkey - Dec 2, 2009 at 6:03 PM

    *woops* meant irrell… ereli… irelava… Notre Dame doesn’t matter any more? I don’t think so! I hate tiping lol

  15. StephenOfTroy - Dec 2, 2009 at 9:29 PM

    Art, if you don’t stop pushing the Urban Meyer thing I’m going to have to send my “buddy” upriver to terminate your command. I bet even Robert T. Gilleran doesn’t think Urban wants any part of ND.
    For that matter, Robert is probably hard-pressed to avoid typing something about the “football factory” down in Gainesville being unable to keep its players from getting intoxicated and falling asleep in their cars at green lights. Beats getting punched in the eye after shoving a guy in the throat, though. At least he didn’t hit anyone.

  16. Art Vandelay - Dec 2, 2009 at 10:25 PM

    Where has robertg been? He worries me when he is not here spreading his multi-numbered paragraphs of joy. He is probably putting the finishing touches on his master plan to wreak economic havoc on StephenofTroy. By the way Stephen, you addressed my Pete Carroll comments but never addressed how badly he stunk up the NFL (slightly over .500). I don’t get that. I would think coaching is coaching and college athletes aren’t that far removed from the Pro’s but I guess they are different animals altogether since there are many examples of those who failed in the Pros but excelled in college and vice versa. Go figure. In any event, I will stop the Urban posts the day he is announced as Head Coach at ND and I will also dash off my “I told you so” post to your attention. To me, its the only hire that accomplishes what the admin needs to do now. Almost all the “usual suspects” have had ltd. success albeit with second tier programs. Urban is the only proven coach out there having won at the highest level. I’m sure his pre-Florida comments about Utah are on the web somewhere. He denied that move with the same fervor he now displays.

  17. StephenOfTroy - Dec 3, 2009 at 12:11 AM

    Oh, Art. Let’s not get into who didn’t address what from whom. Have you learned nothing from Tiger Woods? Dirty laundry should be aired in private.
    YOU didn’t address my sincere comment thanking you for being a veteran. No good deed goes unpunished.
    But since you’re so interested in the Pete Carroll wasn’t good in the pros thing, my two cents are that college is VASTLY different from the pros. College is about motivation, enthusiasm, basic skills, new people every year, and “want-to.” The pros get paid, and they have longevity at key positions — QB’s, right tackles, middle linebackers, all these guys are in place for a decade or more.
    Carroll understands the importance of recruiting speed on both sides of the ball, he knows how to get people to understand his approach and his philosophy, and he knows how to get players to play together for one goal. In the pros, he didn’t have the control and authority he has now.
    So no, coaching isn’t coaching, when you’re talking about pros vs. college. I would also say that WHERE you coach in college makes a difference, but that’s beyond the scope of what I need to address right now.
    If you’re going to keep writing about Urban, you may as well stand in for robertg and number your paragraphs. IT IS LUNACY. Madness, I tells ya! Urban ain’t coming. If Urban announces he will go to ND next year, I will pay for tickets for robertg and me to sit together at the first home game.
    I think robertg must have meant it when he said ND has “zero future” without Weis at the helm. He could also have been embarrassed as hell about that link you showed me, but I don’t think that man knows the meaning of the word “shame.” So who knows. Maybe the nursing home doesn’t have internet access during the holidays.

  18. grandpashyena - Dec 3, 2009 at 1:55 PM

    Deep in the bowels of disbarred attorney purgatory sits a little man wondering how the world has become so all wrong. He is not listened to. He is ridiculed and called out for his loyalty to CW. No one to tell ” I told you so, Charlie is coming back.” The monsters even make fun of his writing style. The walls are closing in. The bare bulb is getting dimmer. The voices are getting louder. The Horror, The Horror. The Nabobs and grocery clerks have won. Never get out of the boat.

  19. StephenOfTroy - Dec 3, 2009 at 8:54 PM

    grandpa: I actually lost respect for Robert T. Gilleran when he started saying ND has “zero future” without Weis, and that the firing of Weis will be “fatal” for ND football and for ND herself.
    There is NOTHING that USC (or, for that matter, ND) could do that would make me write such things. A blunder of a decision might set the program back a couple of years, but nothing would destroy the entire program forever, much less destroy the university. It’s one thing to be a nattering nabob of negativity. It’s another to be an utter lunatic who takes his deflated ball and goes home when he doesn’t get his way.
    But I liked your post, especially the nod to the grocery clerks. You are invited to watch the screening of Apocalypse Now and/or the reading of Heart of Darkness with me and Art Vandelay.

  20. grandpashyena - Dec 4, 2009 at 6:51 AM

    Thanks for the invite. I agree that he moved beyond the pale ( Irish allusion) when he included the “zero future” tripe in his usual and predictable rants. ND will always be ND and the right coaching choice will push it back to a better place. All programs cycle. Some at higher levels than others.The fate of ND football is in the future and will be interesting to watch and cheer on.
    Good Agnew allusion. Too bad Robert T. Gilleran didn’t use a little alliteration in his rants. They might have been more entertaining.It must be amazing to him and quite deflating that his high LSAT did not carry more weight in the decision making process at Notre Dame. It takes a special and I would think diagnosible maniac to plaster the blog with his stuff.I very small part of me hopes that he was pimping us all and was laughing at the reactions to his posts. I don’t think that even with his Spock level intellect he could pull it off. This leaves us with his naked lunacy. I don’t think we will hear much if any from him here. He will poke up his Putin like head somewhere else and sometime else. He needs a new team and a new crisis.

  21. Foster Lamorella - Feb 4, 2010 at 7:37 PM

    Miss the .com boom!? What’s with you man! Don’t miss it again

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