Gus Malzahn (Auburn) very much a top candidate for CLE. Vandy’s James Franklin in the mix. One of them or McDaniels expected to get that job
— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) January 1, 2014
In some surprising news, Jason LaCanfora has mentioned that the Cleveland Browns are interested in Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn and Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin. While he still has Josh McDaniels heavily in the picture, LaCanfora has previously said he would be stunned if McDaniels did not get the job. This sounds like McDaniels is certainly in the picture, but maybe not a lock.
Malzahn has done incredible things in college on offense with Auburn both as a head coach and offensive coordinator. He was able to guide an offense led by Cam Newton to the National Championship and is now guiding a team that can run the ball almost exclusively and still have the other team not sure what to do about it. While he and Chip Kelly run different offenses, they are in the same type of conversation as far as how people view them as innovative offensive minds.
Franklin has turned around a Commodore program and gotten them to heights they just do not seem to get. He has been regarded as an extremely charismatic, grinder of a football coach, who has been linked to a number of big time college openings, but this might be the first NFL opening that has been linked to him.
The last time the Browns went with a college coach, it was by giving Butch Davis total control of the franchise, which proved to be a mistake. He was able to put together some good coaching performances, but the general manager role was far too much for him to handle.