What the heck; third time’s a charm, right?
After two failed attempts to woo Chris Petersen away from Boise State, Penn State will reportedly make yet another run at the coach. According to a tweet from CBSSports‘ Charlie Casserly, the Nittany Lions are going to take a shot at a coach who has spent the vast majority of his coaching career to the left of the Rockies and has shown no desire to leave the Broncos for jobs in locales east, west, north or south of Boise.
With the exception of a private denial that was reported publicly, Petersen has yet to comment on the speculation connecting him to the Nittany Lions’ vacancy.
As Penn State is the only Div. 1-A job currently open, speculation as to the permanent replacement for Joe Paterno has taken many shapes and forms over the past couple of weeks. In addition to the ongoing Petersen rumors, Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Munchak has been at the forefront of reports, with a very vehement and very public denial followed by a report of private second thoughts. New England Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien was all but signed, sealed and delivered as the next PSU coach, until he wasn’t. Former Cleveland Browns and New York Jets head coach Eric Mangini has also been mentioned as a possibility.
Given all of the rumors masquerading as smoke and/our outright fabrications, it’s hard to get a gauge on what is actually transpiring in the school’s first search for a head coach in nearly five decades. Interim head coach Tom Bradley, quarterbacks coach Jay Paterno and defensive assistant Larry Johnson Sr. have all been confirmed interviewees from within the current staff, as has Green Bay Packers quarterbacks coach Tom Clements.
Another confirmed interviewee? San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman. The former Stanford assistant’s agent told the Associated Press that his client interviewed for the job in November and is on the short list — i.e. a finalist — to land a job that, prior to the Jerry Sandusky child-sex abuse scandal, would’ve been one of the premier openings in college football.
With all of this uncertainty swirling, there really is an easy answer for Penn State’s coaching conundrum that can be summed up in two words: Tim Murphy. An out-of-the-box candidate? Absolutely. But, and especially given the current situation the football program finds itself in, Murphy’s the safe yet swing-for-the-fences hire it needs to make.