At this point, I imagine the easiest way to address the current coaching search is to just give a brief overview of all of the things that we know at this point, plus just a bit of personal extrapolation based on some of those things. So, here goes:
- We currently have an opening, but no one knows exactly what that entails. Given the assignment of Bobby Williams as tight ends / special teams coach, it seems unlikely that we will have a major re-shuffling of the coaching staff. At this point, Pendry will likely not be promoted to offensive coordinator. He will likely retain his status of assistant head coach / offensive line coach, and we will bring in an outsider under the title of offensive coordinator. However, Pendry will continue to play a major role in game-planning, as would be expected. Some people may make a bit much of that, but game-planning involves the entire staff, and it is not just the work of an individual. What will be important is exactly how the prospective hire meshes with the rest of the staff and just how much free rein the offensive coordinator, whoever that may be, will have. That is just something we cannot speculate on at the moment because of a lack of information.
- Former Michigan quarterbacks coach Scot Loeffler has been in Tuscaloosa, and he has interviewed for the opening. He stayed in Tuscaloosa on Thursday night, and left Friday. He has been the only confirmed candidate to have interviewed for the position as of yet. For those who have not read on him yet, he has been the quarterbacks coach at Michigan for several years now, and he has had much success with their quarterbacks. He is generally regarded as one of the top quarterbacks coaches in the country, and he is a great recruiter, as he was very integral in the recruitment of both Chad Henne and Ryan Mallett.
- Seemingly, Loeffler would be a great fit in Tuscaloosa. He is a great recruiter -- always important when working under Saban -- and he is a perfect idealogical fit with what Saban and company would like to run with the pro style offense. At this point, he likely has to be the front-runner for the job. With little doubt, he would be a great addition to the staff, and in terms of a pure quarterbacks coach, he would represent a significant upgrade over Applewhite.
- Georgia Southern head coach Chris Hatcher has created quite a stir as a possible candidate. It has all created some very vehement denials of interest from Hatcher himself, which makes the possibility of him getting the job all the more interesting. I've followed coaching searches long enough to know that when you hear a lot of coach speak, something is probably up. Hiring Hatcher would represent a huge turning point for us, considering he is an Air Raid guy who was schooled under Hal Mumme. That would open up a whole can of worms, but it would be an extremely exciting, and possibly very productive, hire. I'm not sure how feasible he is as a candidate, but all of the coach speak, at the very least, means we should definitely keep an eye on him for developments.
- Green Bay Packers quarterbacks coach Tom Clements has been mentioned, again, as a possibility. If you remember correctly, his name came up for consideration last year, but things never came to fruition. With Clements, though, we just have to wait and see. The Green Bay Packers play the New York Giants tomorrow night in the NFC Championship Game, and if the Packers win, we will have to wait until after the Super Bowl -- two weeks later -- before we can get him. Considering how Saban would like to have someone in place well before National Signing Day for recruiting purposes, I doubt we would wait that long. However, if the Packers lose tomorrow night, Clements becomes fair game and he may very well get an interview.
- A lot of other names are being thrown around out there at the moment. Some people mention Norm Chow and Gary Crowton, but both are likely not legitimate possibilities. Many of the rest of them simply have no links to the job at the moment, aside from rumors.
Update [2008-1-20 2:45:0 by outsidethesidelines]:
According to various reports, Jeff Brohm has turned down the job. I don't know how legitimate of a candidate he was in the first place, but he has asked for his name to be removed from consideration. It would have been extremely tough to pull him out of Louisville anyway -- he is a Louisville graduate, and he has a lot of family ties -- but he is officially out of the running now.
Also, Scott Moore is reporting that Chris Hatcher has been officially offered the job of offensive coordinator, and that we might find out something definitive in the next twenty-four hours. For what it is worth, I wouldn't put a whole lot of stock in anything that Moore says, but nevertheless the report is out there, legitimate or not.