Coaching carousel: Agent changes and the non-denial denials

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There are two major job openings in the world of college football. First, we had the USC job after the Trojans fired Clay Helton. Not long after that move, we had LSU announcing that the Tigers would move on from Ed Orgeron following the season. Another Power Five job recently came open when Texas Tech relieved Matt Wells of his duties.

In the hierarchy of college football, the Red Raiders job is way down the list. At the very top, we have LSU and USC. The interesting part of the coaching carousel is agent movement. A head coach candidate that is tied to both the Tigers and Trojans openings switched agents to industry titan Jimmy Sexton. That’s no coincidence.

James Franklin changed his representation to Sexton, an agent that represents the very top head coaches in college football. Sexton represented Jimbo Fisher, so there is already a working relationship with the athletic director, Scott Woodward.

When asked about the move, Franklin stated that he changed agents over the offseason and the news is just coming out now.

“I’m not going to get into the details, but what I will tell you is this is being reported now,” Franklin said. “this is something that happened over the summer. “Obviously, I didn’t make an announcement. I don’t know anybody that ever does when that happens, but this is something that happened over the summer that’s just being reported now.”

This brings me to rule No. 1 when it comes to head coaches and job speculation, never believe the head coach. Nick Saban stated he wouldn’t become head coach of Alabama, days later he was. Mel Tucker stated he wouldn’t leave Colorado for Michigan State, and then he did.

As far as other candidates go, we have the non-denial denials. Coaches will discuss their current spot instead of directly answering the question more times than not.

James Franklin, Penn State

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“I care what people think and I want to handle things the right way all the time with the players, with the staff, with the administration,” Franklin said this week when asked about how he handles job speculation. “I want to use the golden rule… treat people the way you want to be treated.” –per 247Sports

Mel Tucker, Michigan State

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

“My focus is on the upcoming game against the school down the road,” Tucker said. That’s where my concentration and my focus is, and I really appreciate you understanding that.”

Tucker is no stranger to being linked to a job and he has proven you can’t believe what he says when it comes to job speculation.

Lane Kiffin, Ole Miss

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“I think the team knows how focused we are and how we take it one day at a time so I’ve never addressed that,” Kiffin said. “Maybe I should, but we don’t worry about things that we can’t control that are on the outside. Obviously in recruiting you’re always battling all that. I feel like every coach probably battles that but especially (me) ever since leaving Tennessee. It is what it is and we’ll work our way through it.” – via Tiger Droppings

Not a denial there.

Dave Aranda, Baylor

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“It’s sad when those days, like last week, when those days come,” Aranda said. “You don’t ever want to see that….I love it here and my family loves it here. Baylor has been everything I’ve wanted it to be.” – via 247Sports

The defense hasn’t been the same since he left, bringing him back would make a lot of Tiger fans very happy.

Dabo Swinney, Clemson

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“This is the only Death Valley I’m concerned with right here,” Swinney said when asked about the job.

Joe Brady, Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

“I didn’t really have any thoughts on it,” Brady said. “Unfortunately for us, we just came off of a loss when all of that stuff came out. There was a lot more things on my mind so I don’t have many thoughts with that. I had a great experience in my time there but I was way more concerned with our performance this past Sunday and trying to find ways to improve this Sunday.”

Joe Brady was the architect for that high-flying offense during 2019 but many feel he won’t come back to college. His denial is a bit more believable.

Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh Steelers

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

And then we have Mike Tomlin’s very emphatic response: “never say never, but never.”

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