The latest name to start some smoke around the Arkansas coaching search is Vanderbilt coach James Franklin. We began seeing reports from various media outlets that the Razorbacks have reached out to the Head 'Dore as he nears completion of what could be Vanderbilt's best season since 1982.
However, there have also been reports that Franklin isn't interested in Arkansas. Here is the story from SB Nation's JP Starkey:
Another name can be crossed off of Arkansas' list for a new head football coach, as Vanderbilt Commodores head coach James Franklin is not interested in the Razorbacks job, according to CBS Sports' Jeremy Fowler. This follows up on a strange report elsewhere about Franklin not taking a potential N.C. State job.
While I would hardly make the argument that "didn't get impression it would happen" translates to "crossed off Arkansas' list", there has been a lot of chatter that Franklin is not in the mix at Arkansas. It should be pointed out hat Franklin is notorious for not speaking about anything beyond the current game at hand, so it doesn't surprise me that he might not be showing serious interest in other jobs until his regular season is complete on Saturday.
I'd also think, particularly for currently employed coaches who might be looking for the best job available, they're not going to jump on a job until all possible jobs are on the table early unless they have some sort of tie to a school or know that a job is specifically the one he wants. That means Franklin may be waiting to see if the Auburn job becomes available, or perhaps he's waiting to see what Tennessee does, or what Cal does. It's likely that more jobs will come open as teams end their seasons over the next two weeks, and lots of coaches are going to be paying very close attention to what happens on the market before making any decisions.
Historically, coaching searches move like drafts. The highest profile school on the market selects first, and so on down the chain. Of course, each coach can have his own definition of which jobs are better than others, but they will enjoy waiting to see what various coaches get paid when they sign new deals.
Despite what Razorback fans might think, if a coach thinks Tennessee or Cal or Auburn is a better job than Arkansas, he isn't likely to jump to Arkansas until he knows his first choice of jobs isn't available. We don't really know which jobs may interest Franklin, but we shouldn't be surprised he's not jumping on the Arkansas offer A) before his season is over, and B) before we know what the coaching carousel will look like after the regular season is complete.
As much as I wish there was some sort of Mike Anderson of football out there who would only leave his current position to come to Arkansas, that doesn't seem to be the case.
Being patient at this point in incredibly frustrating. After seven months of waiting, I'm as anxious to find out who the next coach will be as everyone else. Wait-and-see is downright painful.
So what do you think? Should we scratch Franklin's name off the list?
This doesn't imply that any other coaches have turned Arkansas down yet either. So, by all means, keep on creating viral Gruden videos.