**** UPDATE: HAZELL REPORTEDLY ACCEPTS PURDUE JOB
Cal has talked with Sonny Dykes, Darrell Hazell, Gary Andersen and perhaps others about its football coaching job.
But we’ve heard nothing on Chris Petersen (everyone’s No. 1 choice) or Mike MacIntyre (the obvious local candidate).
Here’s what I believe is going on: Cal or its search firm likely made preliminary contact with Boise State’s Petersen and San Jose State’s MacIntyre immediately after Jeff Tedford was fired on Nov. 20.
Easy to imagine the response from both: I’m busy with my team. Get back to me when the regular season is over.
That means this week.
As far as we know, Louisiana Tech’s Dykes still is in the picture. Perhaps former Raiders coach Hue Jackson is, too. Kent State’s Hazell will be introduced Wednesday as the coach at Purdue, ESPN reported. Andersen announced last Friday he is staying at Utah State.
Now the real action begins. MacIntyre on Tuesday morning told the Bay Area News Group’s Jimmy Durkin that he has had preliminary contact with schools. He wouldn’t say which schools. But we can assume Cal is one of them.
Sources in Boise tell me they still expect Cal to make a push for Petersen, as virtually every big school with an opening does every year.
I’ve had several people suggest that Petersen could be more open to a change this year than in the past because circumstances with Boise State are changing. Most notably, the football team will enter the Big East in the fall of 2014, and who knows if Petersen is excited about flying all around the country to play in a league whose membership is changing by the day.
Here’s the problem with Petersen as a Cal candidate: Even if he does decide it’s worth looking outside Boise for employment, with a record of 83-8, he will have other offers. Presumably lots of them. And a few will be better than Cal. Substantially better.
A month from now, he could be offered the Oregon job if Chip Kelly flees to the NFL, as expected. Petersen worked at Oregon in the past and Phil Knight is likely to give him as many pairs of free Nikes as he wants, plus a couple bucks.
If not Oregon this year, how about USC next year? One more year of failing to meet expectations and Lane Kiffin could be out the door. Trojans AD Pat Haden no doubt would try to scrape together whatever is necessary to tempt Petersen.
Those are just two potential opportunities Petersen could have merely by waiting a month or a year. He knows it and Cal athletic director Sandy Barbour knows it.
It would be fascinating to hear Barbour’s pitch to Petersen and what she’d say Cal has to offer that he couldn’t get somewhere else. She has to try, but hard to imagine should could be compelling enough to get him to say yes.
MacIntyre would be a second choice to Petersen, but so would anyone else. He would not be a consolation prize, however, but a very solid choice. In three years, he has taken an SJSU program whose academics and football were in shambles, and resurrected both.
The Spartans are 10-2 and going to a bowl game.
MacIntyre may not score a KO at an introductory press conference (as Petersen likely would, simply by his presence), but he quickly would grow on Cal fans. He’s down to earth, likable, accessible, enthusiastic, hard-working and smart.
He he has shown at San Jose State he can build a program. And while his family and football roots are in the South, he is here and seemingly comfortable now as a West Coast guy.
We cannot be sure that would be the case with Dykes, who spent three seasons as an assistant at Arizona, but is a west Texas guy whose career mostly has been spent in the South.
And while Dykes fielded the nation’s highest-scoring team at LaTech, the Bulldogs also ranked last nationally in total defense. Not near the bottom, but at the bottom. And that defense cost them in a 52-43 loss to San Jose State.
If it comes down to Dykes or MacIntyre, I’m not sure where I see an edge for Dykes.