Holtz, USF and other coaching nuggets
I'm in the middle of the circus, here at the Orlando World Center, where the national coaches' convention has practically everybody in college football wandering around.
Walk into the media room, and there's Tommy Tuberville. Come back an hour later and Nick Saban is holding court. Elevator doors open up and Bob Stoops walks out.
I was over here Sunday and am back today, and I've seen every assistant on USF's still-in-limbo coaching staff, along with all the grad assistants and program assistants. They're in a bad place, their futures uncertain through no real fault of their own, still hopeful that they might be able to keep their jobs but resigned to the reality of having to pursue other openings right now. There hasn't been as much turnover in the business this season, so it's not a good year to be fired, if you will.
-- East Carolina coach Skip Holtz, front and center in all USF talk here in Orlando, spoke with reporters this morning, and I was fortunate enough to speak with him for a few minutes this afternoon.
He said he has not heard from USF since their initial call Sunday to gauge his interest -- "it's their decision at this point," he said. To be clear, he's not politicking for the job, just indicating an interest. "It's a Big East job and a great situation," he said.
Asked if he'd expressed a public interest in other jobs he's been mentioned with, including Big East openings at Cincinnati and Louisville, and Holtz said this is different, if only because of the timing with the convention and reporters like me in direct contact with him.
"I haven't walked around the corner and had eight media in front of me," he said. "(Normally) you don't answer the calls. I try not to do my business in the media with all this. It's my honest opinion that I have an interest."
-- Talked with Houston coach Kevin Sumlin, whose name has been mentioned as a potential candidate, and he seems nearly annoyed by the way his name has been floated for so many vacancies. "All this speculation, it hasn't come from South Florida, and it hasn't come from me," he said.
-- Former Tennessee coach Phil Fulmer has indicated an interest in USF, but after talking with him, I think he'd be interested in most high-level openings right now. "I don't know enough about South Florida to say yes or no, but I set my parameters pretty high if I were going to get back into coaching," Fulmer said. "I'm looking for somebody that competes at a high level and is committed to winning championships. I think they fit that bill. I haven't heard anything from them. They know how to reach me if they need to." Fulmer's wife, Vicky, is from St. Petersburg and a Seminole High graduate, so the area has more significance to him.
-- Latest name dropped by Yahoo's Tom Dienhart is Middle Tennessee State's Rick Stockstill, who played at Florida State and grew up in Fernandina Beach. Dienhart said Stockstill was contacted by USF on Sunday, much like Holtz, but I haven't been able to reach him here in Orlando.
-- I've seen a few players turned coaches, like Marcus Edwards and Danny Verpaele, and former assistants like Earl Lane and Troy Douglas. Former Bulls defensive coordinator Rick Kravitz, who's had a rough few years since leaving the Bulls to go to N.C. State, landed this weekend as defensive coordinator at I-AA Youngstown State.