Well, now with Nick Saban gone to Alabama, it's time to talk about who will replace him here in Miami. There have been tons of names already thrown around by either the media or by fans. The first thing I am going to do is literally list EVERY coach that has been discussed as a possible replacement to Saban. First, here are the college head coaches who have been discussed, should the Dolphins decide to go down that road again:
-Boby Petrino, Louisville - He has been a hot name in NFL circles and many believe that he deserves his shot at the NFL, should he want to leave Louisville.
-Kirk Ferentz, Iowa - Ferentz has been talked about for longer than just this year as a potential NFL head coach. However, he really enjoys coaching at Iowa and I don't see him leaving anytime soon.
-Bob Stoops, Oklahoma - There was an unconfirmed report that Huizenga likes Stoops and would be interested in bringing him in for an interview. Personally, I don't think he is really that great of a coach. Was it me or was he outcoached against Boise St. a few days ago?
-Greg Schiano, Rutgers - Schiano completely turned around the Rutgers football program, leading them to the school's first bowl victory ever. He's a very good coach, but he even turned down coaching the Hurricanes to stay in Jersey. I don't see him leaving Rutgers just yet. He loves the state, is a Jersey guy, and is even having a house built on their campus.
-Pete Carroll, USC - Carroll was just 33-31 in his previous NFL head coaching jobs with the Jets and the Patriots. I simply don't think he is a good enough coach for this level. And I also don't think he'd be interested in leaving USC.
-Chris Peterson, Boise St. - Peterson has just one year of experience head coaching experience. Of course, he is undefeated, coming off of one of the most memorable college games of all time, the 2007 Fiesta Bowl. However, I'm not sure he's ready to be an NFL head coach. But when that day comes and he gets his shot, he's probably going to make a hell of a coach.
Next, we'll take a look at some current NFL coaches and/or coordinators who could find a new home in Miami as the next Dolphins head coach:
-Jim Mora Jr., former Head Coach of Atlanta - Mora's name has already come up in some media outlets. He's a good, young coach. As poor as his team played this season, he is a Coach of the Year award winner from nack in 2004. And, let's be honest, the Falcons really weren't that good of a team to begin with, so you can't simply blame Mora for their struggles. Michael Vick was also an issue. He liked to throw Mora under the bus a little too much for a guy who hasn't done crap for his career. Mora has also been linked to a college job, so who knows if he'd even be interested in Miami.
-Dennis Green, former Head Coach of Arizona - Green, recently fired following a disappointing 5-11 season, has been mentioned by many Dolphin fans as they guy they want, despite his 16-32 record in Arizona. Why do they want him? Simply because of the offensive success he had with Daunte Culpepper in Minnesota. These fans also think that Miami could try to bring in Randy Moss to play with C-Pep if Green was in Miami. Though I do think Green is a good coach, I'm not sure he's right for this job, but I'd bring him in for an interview.
-Al Saunders, Offensive Coordinator, Redskins - Saunders is a guy that will certainly get consideration for many openings. He's an offensive minded coach who would probably make a good head coach. He led Kansas City's offense to great success and, though struggling in Washington, still got their offense to play far better than what I expected. He should be a candidate if interested.
-Cam Cameron, Offensive Coordinator, Chargers - Cameron has become a hot name already, and he still has a job to finish with San Diego. He's a very smart offensive guru and will certainly be in line for his first head coaching opporunity this offseason. He has already been contacted by the Cardinals. This is a guy I'd love to see Miami bring in, if they can.
-Ron Rivera, Defensive Coordinator, Bears - Rivera is another hot name being discussed to fill a head coaching vacancy this offseason. He's a smart defensive mind and many think he will make a great NFL head coach. He, along with Lovie Smith, have resurrected the Bears franchise. I'm just not so sure he'd be an ideal guy for the Dolphins simply because I think they need to get an offensive minded guy.
-Bill Cowher, Head Coach, Steelers - This is an intriguing situation. Should Cowher decide to "retire" from Pittsburgh, would he be open to coming down to Miami? I'm not so sure. But it is an option that Huizenga should look into because this would be an ideal fit. He'd have his coordinators, Dom Capers and Mike Mularkey. He's a top 10 alltime coach and would really be ideal for this franchise. Of course, the one downside to this would be that Mularkey would definitely be back in Miami.
-Mike Martz, Offensive Coordinator, Lions - Martz is just an absolute offensive genius. He built that Rams offense and improved the Lions offense. The problem here, though, is that he hasn't had much success as a head coach, as far as the playoffs are concerned. He seems like he just can't handle the responsibility of being a head coach. Maybe he'd have more success if he can leave the personnel decisions to someone else and just worry about coaching the offense. Bringing him in for an interview wouldn't be a bad idea.
-Ken Wisenhunt, Offensive Coordinator, Steelers - He's a very good offensive mind and has many "experts" thinking that he'd make an excellent head coach. He interviewed last year for Oakland's head coaching spot, but was turned down due to the fact that he wanted full control. If he pulls that again when interviewing for Miami, I'm not so sure Huizenga will be so keen on that.
-Norm Chow, Offensive Coordinator, Titans - Chow was most famous for his work at USC. He is a guy who simply has the ability to draw up effective offensive gameplans and is wise enough to handle the head coaching duties. He's probably going to get some consideration from Arizona due to the connection he has with Matt Leinart, so I don't expect him to land in Miami.
-Mike Sherman, Offensive Coordinator, Texans - Sherman is most famous for his stint as the Packers' head coach from 2000-2005. He also was the team's GM for 4 of those seasons. While he was GM, his team went 44-20. Wayne should bring him in for at least an interview, but he'd have to understand that he will not be the GM of the team.
-Jim Caldwell, Assistant Head Coach/QB Coach, Colts - Caldwell has had his name thrown around a few times as a possible NFL head coach. He's Tony Dungy's top assistant in Indy and is the guy who has received as much credit, if not more, than Dungy for the Colts' high powered offense. I just don't know how he'd be as "the guy." But interviewing him wouldn't be a bad idea.
Two other names come right from the Dolphins current coaches:
-Dom Capers - Capers had been the "special assistant to the head coach" under Saban. More or less, he was the defensive coordinator. It wouldn't be such a bad idea to retain him as head coach, as it would provide some continuity on the defensive side of the ball. The schemes would basically be the same, which would greatly benefit this group of veterans. Though he hasn't had much success as a head coach in this league before, let's not forget that both times, he was taking over expansion teams. Capers should be a candidate.
-Mike Mularkey - Currently Miami's offensive coordinator, I'd probably kill myself if he was promoted to head coach!! He was a terrible coordinator this season and was not a good coach while in Buffalo. Seriously, I'm not a Fins fan anymore if he gets the job. I'm not kidding!!
There are also two other names I'd throw into the mix:
-Jim Bates - Bates, the former defensive coordinator of the Dolphins, also served as an interim head coach following Dave Wannstedt's firing. He went 3-4 in that span. More recently, Bates was the defensive coordinator for the Packers. Following the firing of Mike Sherman, Bates was interviewed for the job of head coach, but a day later the Packers hired Mike McCarthy. Bates took the news hard and could not be convinced to stay in Green Bay. He's a class guy and the players in Miami loved him while he was here. The only issue is if he would want to come back to the organization where he was treated so poorly in his unceremonious departure from Miami. If he's interested, I'd definitely bring him in for an interview.
-Jim Fassel - Fassel hasn't been employed since his firing from Baltimore. However, he's a very good offensive coach and was a great leader in New York for the Giants. The players really seem to trust him and he knows how to get the most out of them. I'd surely love to see Fassel get consideration for this job, if he's interested.
So, there you have it. I will go out on a limb and guarantee that the next Dolphin head coach is on this list. Now, we just have to wait and see what Huizenga's next move will be.