Monday, January 21, 2008

Third Paragraph... Dream Come True?

Alabama coach Nick Saban's search to fill Major Applewhite's coaching vacancy will continue in earnest this week, with more interviews expected in the coming days. Saban is expected to move quickly (but not TOO quickly) in filling the one current opening on his staff. For obvious recruiting purposes, a hire is sought before National Signing Day.

So far, I've got to say it has been much easier to eliminate possible names than come up with definitive new ones.

But here's a rundown after another day's worth of phone calls and questions:

- Former Michigan QBs coach Scot Loeffler was the first confirmed candidate to interview when he arrived on campus Thursday night and stayed through Friday morning. Loeffler (politely) declined comment when I reached him on the phone Friday afternoon, and remains firmly in the mix for a job at Alabama. My main question: Is Loeffler, 33, a candidate for OC or merely a QBs coach position? Despite a strong track record with QBs at Michigan, Loeffler has never been a coordinator.

- threw two more names into the mix tonight: Nebraska OC Shawn Watson and Texas Christian OC Mike Schultz. Watson was one of only two coaches recently retained by new Huskers coach Bo Pelini. He may want repay that loyalty. But his salary of $225,000 is unchanged from last season, per the Omaha World-Herald, and the Crimson Tide paid five assistants a higher total last season.

- Georgia Southern HC Chris Hatcher continues to insist he is NOT a candidate at Alabama. I repeat: Chris Hatcher is NOT a candidate. I covered Hatcher in a previous job and spoke with him last week and again today, during which he said nothing has changed since the first time he denied interest in the position. Despite continued message board speculation, Hatcher said again that he has not spoken with Saban and is not leaving his current position at Georgia Southern. Perhaps most telling, Hatcher called me back to say this. Serious candidates for jobs rarely call back reporters voluntarily, and they certainly don't offer much of a comment when they do. Hatcher -- twice -- has clearly said, "No."

- Most of you probably know this already, but folks at Louisville are saying it's doubtful that Cards OC Jeff Brohm would seek a job on Saban's staff at Alabama. Brohm turned Saban down a year ago.

- Green Bay's loss in the NFC Championship Game could help Alabama in the Tom Clements hunt. The veteran QB coach for the Packers, Clements' odds would have dropped had his club reached the Super Bowl, requiring a wait of two weeks. Like Brohm, Clements was targeted previously by Saban.

- LSU's Gary Crowton may have more of an interest than was first thought. His name has come up several times now.

- So has Boise State's Bryan Harsin, basically because he was a previous Saban target. There has been no confirmation from Idaho that Harsin, who is currently at his alma mater, would be more interested in moving this time.