The buzz for Ole Miss coaching candidates seems to have settled around three – Mike Norvell, Billy Napier, Lane Kiffin -- with Charlotte’s Will Healy as a down-the-line option.
I would think there’s some level of interest in Boise State’s Bryan Harsin. There should be if you’re going to consider the less-experienced Healy.
I will say this, though. People who have been around Healy are very impressed, one calling him the most organized coach he’s ever seen.
Four of those five are in conference championship games Saturday, so things could heat up late Saturday or Sunday.
Nothing’s really changed from what’s been written here and in other places.
Norvell is still, I believe, the preferred candidate.
How far down the road he is with Florida State and his preference between FSU and Ole Miss is a bit of a gray area.
I’ve seen it written that he has a “handshake agreement” with Florida State in place, and I’ve heard from a few places that he and his wife would favor Ole Miss for family reasons. He’s from Texas, she’s from Arkansas, and they have a 5-year-old daughter.
Norvell is the domino that when falls will either end the Ole Miss search or send people scurrying to see what’s next.
What’s next could be Napier, who has been considered the second choice this week.
I had an assistant coach tell me he’s hearing Napier to Ole Miss, but a couple of people in Lafayette with a fair amount of access to Napier say they’ve heard no talk of that at all and would be surprised if that happened.
That could mean those folks aren’t as close to Napier as they think.
It could also mean that Napier is subterfuge and that Keith Carter’s true after-Norvell preference is Kiffin.
There seems to be a lot of interest in Kiffin from some Ole Miss fans with a social media push to get him in Oxford.
I’d kind of like to see Kiffin in the job if only to see if a new couch for Chris Kiffin is part of the deal.
Someone earlier this week posted, “What’s Kiffin done?” and it’s a fair question.
He has the NFL pedigree which has opened doors for him.
He was just 5-15 with the Raiders in 2007-2008, but he was like 11 when he got the job. That’s more a reflection on the Raiders than on Kiffin.
He went 7-6 in one season at Tennessee when he left abruptly, a West Coast guy going to USC, which at the time, was not far removed from its dominant years. Kiffin was a Pete Carroll assistant during those dominant years.
He went 28-15 at USC winning 8, 10 and 7 games in his first three seasons. He was 3-2 when he was fired in 2013. Things spiraled downward in 2012 when USC began the season ranked No. 1 and finished it unranked.
It appears he rehabilitated as offensive coordinator at Alabama, staying their three seasons in which it was delightful to watch he and Nick Saban interact.
Now at Florida Atlantic he’s playing UAB for the C-USA title Saturday and has a chance to win 10 games for the second time in three years. FAU was 5-7 last year after winning 11 in Kiffin’s first season.
Kiffin, 44, has done his best coaching after USC.