Report: Auburn courts Morris
Former Lake Travis coach, now at Clemson, is one of four candidates.
Clemson’s Chad Morris, who has directed one of the most explosive offenses in the country the past two seasons as offensive coordinator, is being courted as a potential head coach at Auburn University.
Morris, who led Lake Travis to a pair of Class 4A state championships en route to the school’s unprecedented five in a row, has been contacted by Auburn for its head coaching vacancy but has not yet interviewed for the job. The SEC school is conducting interviews to replace the fired Gene Chizik in Nashville, Tenn., a source familiar with Auburn’s process told the American-Statesman on Monday.
Morris, who previously was offensive coordinator at Tulsa, was interviewed by North Carolina State as well but didn’t get that job. Dave Doeren was hired by the Wolfpack after leading Northern Illinois to a second straight Mid-American Conference championship and a berth in the Orange Bowl.
The source said Auburn has focused its search on four candidates, including Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart and Louisville head coach Charlie Strong.
Kansas State’s Klein wins Unitas Award: Collin Klein won the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, given to the nation’s top upperclassman quarterback.
Klein passed for 2,490 yards, ran for 890 and accounted for 37 touchdowns (22 rushing and 15 passing) for the No. 7 Wildcats (11-1).
The other finalists were Southern California’s Matt Barkley, West Virginia’s Geno Smith, Florida State’s EJ Manuel and Alabama’s AJ McCarron.
Florida hires former Kentucky coach: Joker Phillips joined the Gators as receivers coach and recruiting coordinator.
Phillips was a longtime receivers coach before taking over at Kentucky in 2010. He went 13-24 in three years at Kentucky.
South Carolina gives Spurrier extension: Steve Spurrier received a two-year contract extension that will keep him with the Gamecocks through 2017.
There was no salary increase in the deal. Spurrier is scheduled to again earn $3.3 million in 2013.
Noteworthy: The University of Idaho announced that Paul Petrino, the former offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Arkansas, will be its new coach. He replaces interim coach Jason Gesser, who guided the Vandals during the final four games after Robb Akey was fired.
■ Penn State quarterback Matt McGloin won the Burlsworth Award, given to the top college football player who began his career as a walk-on. McGloin helped the Nit- tany Lions to an 8-4 record, setting school records for yards passing (3,266) and TDs (24) in a season. The senior also holds the school mark for career passing TDs (46).
■ Northern Illinois students attending the Orange Bowl won’t have to pay admission. The DeKalb, Ill., school announced it is giving each student one free ticket for the game against Florida State on Jan. 1, hoping to lure Huskies fans to Miami for the first BCS game in the program’s history and the first ever by a Mid-American Conference team.
Chad Morris won two Class 4A state titles while the head football coach at Lake Travis.