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Exploring the Bears and college head coach candidates
During his press conference Tuesday, Bears general manager Phil Emery said he would look at a “wide variety of candidates,” mentioning offense, defense, special teams, as well as college and pro backgrounds.
But there are indications that Emery have interviewed or scheduled visits with coaches who haven’t yet been revealed.
The ones who make the most sense are those in college.
There’s a few reasons for that. College coaches don’t want to publicize the possibility of leaving their schools because it would raise flags for school administrators and potentially hurt them in recruiting.
Why would a highly-coveted high school player commit to a school if he thinks the head coach isn’t there for the long haul?
Plus, Emery’s background is rooted in college coaching and scouting, and he’s been crisscrossing the country this year, attending many games and checking out future pro prospects.
So who could be the candidates?
The big names are Nick Saban of Alabama, Chip Kelly of Oregon, Brian Kelly of Notre Dame. And there’s even been mentions of Doug Marrone of Syracuse Kirk Ferentz of Iowa and David Shaw of Stanford.
Many of those coaches are intriguing, and it’s worth noting that most of the Bears’ assistant coaches – a fine collection assembled by Lovie Smith – are still under contract. But I would tend to lean toward the coaches with offensive backgrounds.
Marrone is interesting because before taking over Syracuse in 2009, he was the offensive coordinator of the New Orleans Saints.
And he was highly successful.
Then again, it would be a surprise if Emery interviews a college head coach who isn’t even prominently mentioned on NFL radars.
Something else taking note of is the fact that many of these college head coaches probably have lucrative buyouts. Currently, the Bears are on the hook for more than $5 million for the final year of Smith’s deal, not to mention all the money for the assistant coaches. But Smith is rumored to be drawing interest from the Buffalo Bills and San Diego Chargers. If he gets a head job, the Bears could save some money.