Bob Smizik: Munchak could be PSU fallback candidate

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When the Tennessee Titans fired head coach Mike Munchak Saturday, the organization might have provided Penn State with a fallback option in its search to find a successor to Bill O’Brien. It looks like Al Golden of Miami and James Franklin of Vanderbilt are the team’s two top choices but both could be difficult to lure away from their current positions.

This isn’t to say Penn State does not have other college options -- Dan Mullen of Mississippi State has been discussed -- but there is an attractiveness to Munchak, a Penn State alum and decorated player, that can’t be denied. He could be the lifer -- the man who won’t move on to another job -- if he has success at Penn State.

At Miami, athletic director Blake James discussed Golden’s future in a text message to Christy Cabrera Chirinos of the South Florida Sun Sentinel on Saturday. It said: "Al and I are in regular communication. He is our football coach and I believe he will be our coach going forward."

A Florida-based Internet site reported Friday afternoon that Golden had been offered the job and was going to accept it. It turns out, Golden hadn’t even met with Penn State at that time.

According to ESPN, Penn State met with Golden Saturday, although that has not been confirmed. There also are reports the Penn State search committee will meet with Franklin today.

Just because coaches agree to discuss a job situation does not mean they have a strong interest in the job. They could be using the interviewing process to broker more money in a new deal with their current school. It happens all the time.

Munchak was drafted by the Houston Oilers in 1982 as the eighth overall pick. He had been with the organization. which later became the Titans, during a Hall of Fame playing career and as a coach until he was fired Saturday. He was 22-26 in three seasons. The drawback to Munchak is an absence of coaching on the college level and a close familiarity with the vital process of recruiting.

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A lot of criticism has been directed at O’Brien for leaving Penn State after only two years. It’s true that’s a short period of time. But O’Brien had always made it clear of his desire to coach in the NFL. The criticism of his departure, some of it brutal, is nonsense.

Since when is it wrong to pursue your highest ambitions or seek a better job or make more money? A lot of people would call that pursuing the American dream.

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