- Paul Kuharsky, ESPN Staff Writer
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- If Mike Munchak isn't back as the coach of the Tennessee Titans, could he wind up at his alma mater?
According to David Jones the Patriot-News of Mechanicsburg, Pa., Munchak would be a leading candidate should Bill O'Brien leave Penn State for an NFL job and has let the school know he'd be interested if something opens.
Greg Schiano, who could lose his job as coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, has also let the university know he'd be interested if he was free if O'Brien leaves, according to the report. Vanderbilt coach James Franklin, who's from Pennsylvania, is not in danger of losing his job, but has let it be known he would be curious if there was an opening, according to Jones.
It's hard to get a read on what Munchak's fate will be. New Titans team president and CEO Tommy Smith has pledged to take a thorough look starting next week, once the season is over.
The Titans are 21-26 in his three years, but just 2-20 against teams that have finished with winning records. Sunday in Jacksonville was just Tennessee's second AFC South win in the past two years.
The Titans finish the season Sunday with a home game against Houston, the worst team in the NFL and a team that beat the Titans in overtime in Week 2.
O'Brien will be a hot prospect for open NFL jobs. The Titans should consider him if they decide to part with Munchak.
A former Bill Belichick assistant in New England, O'Brien has done fine work restoring Penn State after the Jerry Sandusky scandal rocked the university. He developed a walk-on quarterback, Matt McGloin into a quality quarterback who's had some success with the Oakland Raiders this year.
Munchak is from Scranton, Pa., and was drafted by the Houston Oilers out of Penn State in 1982. He's been with the Oilers/Titans as a player ever since. His name surfaced after Joe Paterno was removed as the school's head coach. But I do not buy Jones' report that Munchak was "on the verge" of being hired to replace his college coach. Munchak was a year into a four-year deal with the Titans.
Munchak would be a fine representative of the university, but I have no idea how he'd be as a recruiter or as a college coach.
If he is fired by the Titans with one year left on his contract, the Penn State job would be a real coup. He has no experience as a play-caller, and I am confident he'd be in high demand as an NFL offensive line coach but nothing more.
O'Brien could be linked to several other NFL openings. The Houston job is already open. Minnesota and Detroit are among the other teams that could be hiring.