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Report: Greg Schiano, Mike Munchak And Vanderbilt’s James Franklin Have ‘Inquired’ About Possible Penn State Opening

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You gotta hand it to some of these guys; they certainly know how to position themselves. Take Greg Schiano, a man who is clearly not meant for the NFL but whose team in Tampa has actually turned it around a bit. Does that mean he’s going to stay? Of course not. He’s a smart man and knows it’s time to quit while he’s ahead and head back to college. Perhaps most interesting about this whole story, though, is that Penn State seems to once again be an attractive place to coaches. Who would have ever thought it to be so. From the Patriot News:

Knowledgeable PSU sources have told me at least three other head coaches have had their intermediaries inquire about the Penn State job, curious about the chances it might come open: Tennessee Titans coach Mike Munchak, a Penn State grad who was on the verge of getting the Penn State job two years ago when the Titans’ unexpected resilience in the NFC playoff picture led the late Titans owner Bud Adams to secure his then-rookie head coach. Munchak is known as an accomplished offensive line expert and had a stellar career with the Titans/Oilers organization as both an All-Pro player and an assistant coach dating back 31 years. He has not worked for anyone else. Finishing his third year without a playoff appearance and with Adams having died at age 90 during the season, it’s possible Munchak’s days are numbered in Nashville, at least as the head coach. The Titans are 21-26 during his tenure, 6-9 this year in probably the NFL’s weakest division. With QB Jake Locker hurt much of the season, opponents have loaded up against an offense designed to feature a power running attack that’s never gotten untracked. I’m told the money men who pull the strings behind the Penn State program would again lean toward the dignified and straight-shooting Munchak as the favorite if, indeed, they must begin a search – which they hope not to. Vanderbilt coach James Franklin whose Commodores enjoyed a breakthrough season in the nation’s preeminent college conference. The energetic and relatively young Franklin, not quite 42 years old, has led Vandy to 9-4 and 8-4 records the last two seasons but, more important, 9-7 combined in SEC play. In the 2013 season’s second half, Franklin’s Commodores upset Georgia, won at Florida and at in-state rival Tennessee. That’s an unprecedented accomplishment for the Northwestern-like academic member of a football-obsessed conference. Franklin grew up in Bucks County and played quarterback at East Stroudsburg. But he’s also known as a sophisticated offensive mind having learned under O’Brien’s own mentor Ralph Friedgen during two stints at Maryland. Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano, a Bucknell grad and former Penn State assistant who’s finishing his second season with the Bucs, a rocky one that’s featured grumbling from players as he’s tried to clean up an undisciplined team. The Bucs are 4-11 on the heels of a 7-9 rookie season for Schiano. They play decent defense but the quarterback situation has been a mess and the Bucs commit the worst possible sin from an ownership viewpoint: They are a snooze to watch. Schiano made his name largely at Rutgers where, during a decade there, he turned the Scarlet Knights from a perennial loser into a viable force in the Big East with consistent bowl appearances. Regardless, Schiano is not thought to be high on the would-be PSU contingency list.

For what it’s worth, Schiano denied this report, according to ESPN:

Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano shot down a report Tuesday that an intermediary had inquired about the possibility of the head coaching job opening at Penn State. “There’s zero truth to that,’’ Schiano said. “Let me make it clear, the only job I want is the one I have right now.’’  Still, it’s the time of year when reports like this surface. There’s been speculation that Penn State coach Bill O’Brien could leave for an NFL job. There also has been speculation that Schiano, who once was a Penn State assistant, might not get a third season with the Bucs.