Coachwatch: Onward! Onward!
Nick Saban: LSU Coach Interested

Posted Dec 1, 2004

It's time to start tracking the potential new guys. Let's rock!


Talk to a web-geek! It's fun! to email Barry.

12/01/04 AFTERNOON: Wherever there is devastation and carnage, you're sure to find carrion-munching fowl hopping about, chomping on any biomass unlucky enough to be around at the time.

Understanding this helps one comprehend why Baltimore re-named Art and Dave's football team the "Ravens", and also helps to understand why you see so many vultures wandering around this morning. As you would expect, there is some post-Butch piling-on today, as the power of 20-20 hindsight is used to examine the four-year Butch Davis Era.

I'd rather not focus on that as we start up the next wave of CoachWatch articles. Let's focus on the future.

The future hinges very much on some decisions about to be made by Browns owner Randy Lerner, who is the subject of many different articles which emerged today.

ESPN's Len Pasquarelli starts us off, and doesn't do himself any favors by claiming that Clevelanders frequently use the term "youse" (um, no), tossing some doubt on whether or not Davis really resigned (well, duh) and using the phrase "Mistake on the Lake" (don't say that around me, pal). He almost balances all this out by saying nice things about how well-informed Browns fans are.

If you're looking for anything other than uniformed overviews of Cleveland, Pasquarelli does extrapolate from a lunch he had during a visit to training camp during the Summer that Lerner is an active and dedicated owner.

The News-Herald talks about the same guy and says he might be too nice to be an effective owner. A similar opinion was voiced by Bernie's Insiders' Les Levine (subscriber story). Bud Shaw hews to the middle road by painting a picture of a publicly-meek but privately self-confident owner.

Onward! Into the Future!

Continuing a tradition that started with my slavish obsession about seeing Jamir Miller leave Arizona for Cleveland in 1999, we will track every news item, off-hand remark, foul insidious rumor, or promise of free beer. That sort of stuff, in addition to our nifty ability to convert oxygen into carbon dioxide, is what we were born to do.

Randy Lerner didn't really limit the scope of the GM and coaching candidates that we need to monitor. He said he wouldn't rule out college coaches, and that he probably wouldn't start interviewing in earnest until the end of the season.

So, let's start talking about some of the GM and Head Coaching candidates that are showing up on radar. Some I've just listed if I couldn't find info on them this morning. Feel free to if you think there's any I've missed.

General Manager Candidates

Terry Pluto put together an excellent overview of the backgrounds on a number of these possible GMs. Click here to check it out. Randy Lerner probably already has these names, as he is using experienced NFL executives to help him refine his short list.

1. Ozzie Newsome (General Manager, Baltimore Ravens)

Randy Lerner was asked yesterday by WTAM's David Kelly if he would be willing to give up partial ownership in the team to lure Newsome to the Browns. Lerner said he would not be willing to give up any ownership to get a GM.

2. Scott Pioli (VP / Player Personnel Director, New England Patriots)

We've actually been tracking Pioli's comments over the last week, including his recent remarks that he would be honoring the last years of his contract. Mark Shapiro, Indians GM, told skeptics like yours truly that Pioli really, truly means it and won't break a commitment. Is this professional sports? Who da thunk it?

3. Phil Savage (Director of Player Personnel, Baltimore Ravens)

A clear candidate who has already rejected opportunities from three NFL teams.

4. Randy Mueller, (ex-GM, New Orleans Saints)

5. Ron Hill (VP of Player Personnel, Atlanta Falcons)

6. Tom Modrak (Asst. General Manager, Buffalo Bills)

7. Bobby Grier (Associate Director of Pro Scouting, Houston Texans)

8. James Harris (VP, Jacksonville Jaguars)

Was mentioned this morning as a possible candidate by Jeff Schudel.

9. Mark Hatley (VP of Football Operations, Green Bay Packers)

Was mentioned this morning as a possible candidate by Jeff Schudel.


Head Coaching Candidates

1. Terry Robiskie

Robiskie has to be considered on the candidates for the job. After all, he's the team's interim head coach. Robiskie himself took the opportunity to talk about his love for Cleveland yesterday, but denied that he's focused on getting the job permanently. Roger Brown feels that Robiskie might just pull off a transition to the full-time gig.

2. Nick Saban

The most interesting news on Saban actually came from's Rich Swerbinsky, who reports that Saban, in speaking with associates, has expressed a great deal of interest in chasing the Cleveland job. Swerb did a terrific job in bringing this to our attention.

3. Kirk Ferentz

Steve Doerschuck reports for the Canton Repository that Ferentz's contract allows him to leave without requiring compensation to Iowa. At the same time, the Plain Dealer offers up that Ferentz probably wants to stay in his job at Iowa.

4. Jim Fassel

5. Mike Holmgren

The ex-Packers and current Seattle Seahawks head coach is mentioned as a candidate by the Canton Repository's Steve Doerschuck.

6. Brad Childress

7. Jeff Tedford, Cal

The best overview of the case for Tedford, can probably be found in the Watercooler, as Woof Blitzer makes the case.

8. Charlie Weis, New England Patriots (OC)
9. Romeo Crennel, New England Patriots (DC)

The Boston Herald talks about both coaches, as well as Scott Pioli, in an article about their coming to Cleveland this weekend.

10. Bob Stoops, Oklahoma

Coachwatch Archives

11/21 - 11/29 | 1/23/04 - 11/19/04

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