Replacing O'Brien: The Candidates

Joe Raedle

Let's take a look at some of the potential candidates to replace Bill O'Brien.

Bill O'Brien quit as head ball coach, and BSD begins looking at the list of possible candidates.  We'll review all the names no matter how stupid, even Greg Schiano, because we're thorough.

Mike Munchak

Currently: Tennessee Titans (NFL) Head Coach

Age: 53

Hometown: Scranton, PA

Coaching Profile: Munchak hung up his cleats in 1993, and joined the Titans' (then Oilers') staff as a quality control guy in 1994 (that's the NFL equivalent of Graduate Assistant).  In 1997, Jeff Fisher made him O-line coach, and that's where Munchak stayed for the next 14 years, making a Super Bowl appearance in 2000.  When Fisher burned out after the 2010 season, Munchak took over the Titans' big boy chair.  His record stands at 22 - 26 in three years with the Titans, despite having Jake Locker at quarterback some of that time.

Penn Stater: with a bullet.  1978 - 1981.  He missed the 1980 season with a knee injury, but stayed only 4 years because there were no redshirts in the NCAAs until 1985.  Still, he started at guard as a true sophomore in 1979, and was named 1st Team All-American as a senior in 1981.  Said Steve Wisniewski of Munchak: "he made everything look so easy."

He was drafted in the 1st round, 8th overall, by the Houston Oilers, and played 12 seasons on the line, making the Pro Bowl 9 times, All-Pro 4 times, and was named to the NFL's All-Decade team of the 1980's.  He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2001.

Fund Raising / Charisma / Representative: 8/10.  Munchak's not an electric speaker in front of the NFL media - but so what.  He's a Penn Stater who bleeds blue and white, understands our traditions, and embraces them.  He's smart, saavy, STABLE, and extremely likable.

Recruiter: 7/10.  He's never had to recruit, unless you count free agents.  But he's a straight-talking tough guy with a Hall of Fame jacket and 3 decades in the pros.  That probably carries some weight.

Ability to Assemble a Staff: 6/10.   This might be a little low, but his staff in Tennessee has been a source of criticism from time to time.  Plus, college is a different deal than pro for assistants.

Greg Roman

Currently: San Francisco 49ers Offensive Coordinator

Age: 41

Hometown: Ventnor City, NJ

Coaching Profile: Greg's coaching start came in the NFL in 1995 - at age 23 - with the Carolina Panthers.  He spent 12 years in the league with the Panthers, Texans, and Ravens.  In 2008, out of a job when Brian Billick was canned in Baltimore, Greg spent one year as the offensive coordinator for Holy Spirit High School (Absecon, NJ).  The next year he joined Jim Harbaugh's staff as offensive coordinator at Stanford.  2009 and 2010 were his only two years at the college level, as he made the jump with Harbaugh to the 49ers in 2011.

Penn Stater: Nope.  But as a self-proclaimed "finalist" for the coaching search in 2011, Greg said (paraphrasing) "Penn State is a destination job.  You take that job and you don't go anywhere else."  Given the timing of that statement back then, and in light of O'Brien quiting, he gets partial credit, even if you don't trust that he meant it.

Fund Raising / Charisma / Representative: 6/10.  Wildcard.  He's not going to win you over on looks, that's for certain.  But you've got to give the guy credit for talking his way into an NFL job straight out of college, despite a non-existent playing career.  That's salesmanship.

Recruiter: 7/10.  See above.  He can probably sell.  But he's only had two years at the college level.

Ability to Assemble a Staff: 7/10.  Given his coaching resume, you can tell other coaches like him.  Dom Capers hired him in Carolina, and then took him to the Texans and made him QB/TE coach.  He made friends with someone in Baltimore, and Jim Harbaugh along the way, too.

James Franklin

Currently: Head Coach Vanderbilt

Age: 41

Hometown: Langhorne, PA

Coaching Profile: Franklin played QB at East Stroudsburg from 91 - 94, and entered the coaching ranks in 1995.  His first six seasons were all one-and-done deals at D2 and D3 schools.  Franklin caught his first big break with Maryland's Ralph Friedgen, who hired him in 2000 as his WR coach, where Bill O'Brien had been hired as RB coach.  Franklin stayed at Maryland thru 2004, before trying out the pros as WR on Mike Sherman's staff in Green Bay.  That apparently didn't fit, as he stayed only one year before heading back to college in 2006, as OC and QB coach on Ron Prince's Kansas State squad.  In 2008, Franklin returned to Maryland as Fridge's OC and was designated "head coach in waiting" - a stupid idea that was sweeping the nation at the time.  Like every other instance, the "in waiting" part didn't work out.  A new AD at Maryland didn't like Franklin or Fridge, and Franklin left for the Vandy job.  At Vandy, Franklin took over a team that had gone 4 - 20 in the prior two years, and had been to a grand total of 4 bowl games ever.  Franklin won immediately, going 6-7 his first season, and has taken the Commodores to three straight bowls.

Penn Stater: Nope.

Fund Raising / Charisma / Representative: 5/10.  Charisma?  Yes.  Fund raising, representative?  I'm not so sure.  Franklin's been prone to some sophomoric behavior on the sidelines and in front of the microphone.

Recruiter: 8/10.  The dude can recruit.  He has a borderline top 25 class in hand this year, at Vandy, amid the wolves and boosters of the SEC.

Ability to Assemble a Staff: 6/10.  LJ Sr and Vandy don't strike me as Franklin's type of guys.  According to Franklin, he selects his assistants on their recruiting ability, which he judges based upon the candidate's wife's pulchritude.

Jim Caldwell

Currently: Baltimore Ravens OC

Age: 58

Hometown: Beloit, WA

Coaching Profile: Caldwell is a Hawkeye alum, and spent time at Colorado and Louisville before catching his first big break as QB coach for Joe Paterno, from 1986 - 1992.  His success with Tony Sacca (?) helped him get his first head coaching job, at Wake Forest.  He lasted seven awful years with the Deacons before turning pro.  In 2002, he joined Tony Dungy's staff in Indianapolis as QB coach and assistant head coach, where Peyton Manning was lighting the NFL world aflame (though, Tom Moore got the credit as OC).  When Dungy retired following the 2008 season, Caldwell was tabbed for the big boy chair.  He took the Colts to the Super Bowl where they were upset by the Saints.  Then Manning got hurt, the team quit, and Caldwell got fired by Jim Irsay, who is a douche bag.  Meanwhile, John Harbaugh fired his OC, Cam Cameron, halfway thru the 2012 season, and brought Caldwell on board.  The Ravens won the Super Bowl and Joe Flacco got a huge contract.  This year they missed the playoffs.

Penn Stater: 1986 - 1992.  But Caldwell usually identifies as a Hayden Fry Hawkeye.

Fund Raising / Charisma / Representative: 3/10.  Charisma?  No.  Fund raising?  No.  Representative?  Yes - we won't have to worry about Caldwell driving drunk and naked through a Wendy's drive-thru at 3am.

Recruiter: 5/10.  He can show off a Super Bowl ring, and point to Manning and Flacco.  But, he's not selling popsicles to Eskimos.

Ability to Assemble a Staff: 7/10.  Age, experience, calm demeanor - people will want to work for him.

Tom Clements

Currently: Green Bay OC

Age: 60

Hometown: McKees Rocks, PA

Coaching Profile: Tom Clements said Tom Clements was a finalist for the Penn State job in 2011.  So here we list him again.  He's a Domer, though he publicly begged for a shot at the PSU job in 2011.  He coached QBs at Notre Dame from 92 - 95.  Then he joined the NFL ranks, and has been a QB guru since then.

Penn Stater: -1 for being a Domer.

Fund Raising / Charisma / Representative: 3/10.  He has a JD (from, you guessed it, Notre Dame), so he's probably a message board maven.

Recruiter: 4/10.  I coached Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers.  Oh - and Tommy Maddox.  I'm also medicare eligible in a couple of years.

Ability to Assemble a Staff: 4/10.  In the pros since 1997, and he never rose above QB coach until Joe Philbin took the Dolphins job in 2012, and Mike McCarthy promoted Clements by default.  When Brian Schottenheimer gets an OC gig, and Josh McDaniels gets two, how does Clements not get a sniff in 15 years?

Darren Perry

Currently: Green Bay safeties coach

Age: 45

Hometown: Chesapeake, VA

Coaching Profile: Darren finished his pro career in 2000, and got his first coaching gig as DB coach for the Bengals in 2002, under then head coach Dick LeBeau.  He joined LeBeau in the same capacity at Pittsburgh, before trying out the Raiders, and now, the Packers.

Penn Stater: Bet your ass.  1987 - 1991, safety.  1st Team All-American in 1991.  Among the all-time leaders in INTs, with 15.  Drafted in the 8th round, because the NFL is stupid.

Fund Raising / Charisma / Representative: 8/10.  He'd be a home run on this front.

Recruiter: 6/10.  We have no idea, and neither does Darren, because he's never had to do it.  Who knows if he even wants to do it?  But spending the last 22 years in the NFL as a player and coach ain't gonna hurt.

Ability to Assemble a Staff: 4/10.  I'm not sure how deep Perry's network reaches, particularly when talking about the college ranks.

Greg Schiano

Currently: fired from the Tampa Bay Bucs

Age: 47

Hometown: Wyckoff, NJ

Coaching Profile: he went to Bucknell.  Do I have to do this?  Alright - let's get this over with.

Joe Paterno gave Schiano his break as a GA in 1990, and then Schiano coached DBs and learned defense under Jerry Sandusky from 1990 - 1995.  Chicago Bears and Dave Wannstedt in 1996 - 1998, where he met Butch Davis.  Followed Davis to Miami (FL), where Davis made him his DC.  He looked smart in Miami because he had 10 1st round draft picks on defense, including Ed Reed, thanks to an almost un-disturbed 40 years of cheating and illegal benefits, such as hookers and blow, by Miami, 2 Live Crew, and its ponzi scheme boosters.  Schiano took the Rutgers job in 2001, and over the next 11 years, he didn't fail miserably, which many heralded as noteworthy, because Rutgers.  In 2012 he jumped to the NFL, where he embarrassed himself on the sidelines, and outed himself as a complete jackass off the field.

Penn Stater: No, not really.

Fund Raising / Charisma / Representative: 0/10.  Everyone with a brain realizes he is toxic.

Recruiter: 3/10.  Three, because kids gotta go to college somewhere.

Ability to Assemble a Staff: 3/10, because unemployed coaches gotta coach somewhere.

Al Golden

Currently: Miami (FL) head coach

Age: 44

Hometown: Colts Neck, NJ

Coaching Profile: Al spent one year in the NFL as a TE for the Patriots (1992).  He landed a GA job with former Penn Stater George Welsh, at UVA, in 1994.  He joined Tom O'Brien at Boston College in 1997 as LB coach.  He returned to Penn State for one season, 2000, as LB coach, before heading back to UVA as defensive coordinator, for Al Groh, from 2001 - 2005.  He took the Temple job from 2006 - 2010, and worked a few miracles.  He joined Miami in 2011, was told nothing about a potential NCAA investigation into cheating, and then had to wallow thru the last 3 years under self-imposed sanctions, with the threat of the morons in Indy likely to dole out additional sanctions.  Despite that, and a horrible QB this year, the Canes were ranked in the top 10 at one point in 2013.  Oh - and Al didn't shit his pants and head out of town when horrendous sanctions were leveled, about which he knew nothing.  He also didn't cry that he had to represent the University on and off the field, instead of just coaching football.  And, despite being a Miami outsider - actually, the opposite of a Miami guy - he connected with prominent alums, and got everyone working in the same direction, without crying about dissenters, or using them as an excuse to bolt town.  So - there's that.

Penn Stater: 1987 - 1991 as a player.  Team co-captain as a senior.  2000 as LB coach.  And he wears a tie on the sidelines, with khakis and black shoes.

Fund Raising / Charisma / Representative: 8/10

Recruiter: 8/10.  This is a tough one to call, because Golden was dealt a pretty shitty hand at Miami the last 3 seasons.  But his current 2014 class is ranked top 5 in the nation.  And, somehow, he found and developed players at Temple, including that schools first 1st round pick in forever (the DT who went to the Jets).

Ability to Assemble a Staff: 8/10.  He's done it a couple of times, and fellow PSUer Mark D'Onfrio has joined him everywhere.

Ed Orgeron

Currently: unemployed Pac12 coach of the year

Age: 52

Hometown: Larose, LA

Coaching Profile: Coach O's first real gig was as D-line coach under Dennis freaking Erickson at Miami (FL), from 1988 - 1992 - the pinnacle of Miami asshat-ed-ness.  Ed spent three years at Syracuse, 95 - 97, under Paul Pasqualoni, before jumping to SoCal with Paul Hackett at USC.  Hackett was canned at SC in 2000, but Ed stayed in place under Pete Carroll, lighting up the recruits.  He took his first head coaching gig at Ole Miss in 2005, but lasted just 3 seasons in Oxford.  He spent a year with the Saints in 2008, and then joined Lane freaking Kiffen at Tennessee and USC.  Ed was given the reins at USC this season when Kiffen was fired on the LAX tarmac.  He won conference coach of the year for salvaging that sinking ship, and then quit when he didn't get the full-time job.

Penn Stater: uhh, not one bit.

Fund Raising / Charisma / Representative: 3/10.  Charisma?  Yes.  You want to fire up a crawfish boil, drink yourself blind on wood alcohol, and laugh till you puke with Uncle Ed.  But Fund Raising, or Representative of the University?  Not quite.

Recruiter: 10/10.  The ol' boy can pull in the cruits.

Ability to Assemble a Staff: 4/10.  He's probably got a better handle on things the second time around, but it didn't work out so well at Ole Miss.

Rob Chudzinski

Currently: fired from the Cleveland Browns

Age: 45

Hometown: Toledo, OH

Coaching Profile: he played at Miami (FL) from 1986 - 1990.  He started as a GA at Miami in 1994, rising to OC under Butch Davis and Larry Coker, from 2000 - 2003.  He went to the NFL in 2004, and has been there since.  He was OC at Carolina in 2011-2012, and got his first head coaching gig with the Browns in 2013.  Then he got fired, because Cleveland.

Penn Stater: not one bit.

Fund Raising / Charisma / Representative: 3/10.  Looks like a tool to me.

Recruiter: 3/10.  Yes, he recruited at Miami.  But at Penn State he won't have neither the blow, boats, nor ho's.

Ability to Assemble a Staff: 10/10.  He and his entire staff are ready and available.

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