The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Rob Rossi has what might be the final report on the Penn State coaching search of 2011, just under five hours from the new year. In it, he offers a few interesting nuggets.
Interim coach Tom Bradley and Green Bay packers quarterbacks coach Tom Clements will receive another interview, and each has been vetted by Penn State officials, the sources said.
Penn State officials also hope to speak with at least one top assistant from a team playing in a BCS bowl game, though the assistant's identity and team was not known by the sources.
Clements' new interview was first reported by Ron Musselman of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette earlier on Saturday, but reports of a new Bradley interview are fresh, as is reporting that Penn State would like to talk to a "top assistant" from a team in a BCS Bowl game.
Who might that "top assistant" be?
Try Alabama's Kirby Smart. As Ben Jones of StateCollege.com says in a report by Mike Poorman, also of State College.com...
"Kirby Smart, Alabama’s ultra-successful defensive coordinator, played for Georgia and coached there briefly. He’s had his name in and out of coaching searches over the past year. There was even talk of Georgia firing Richt last year to hire Smart. A lot of Alabama fans expected Smart to make the jump to the head coaching ranks this year, but in the middle of Southern Miss’ search he removed his name rom consideration on Dec. 17 -- the same time period as Richt’s supposed talks with Penn State and A&M. If by chance Smart expects Richt to be gone, he might now have a shot at his dream job."
Poorman then goes onto to suggest that maybe Kirby Smart, and not Georgia's Mark Richt, could be Penn State's target, and that hypothesis would appear to jive with Rossi's report, as Smart will be coaching Alabama in the BCS National Championship game on Jan. 9.
It should be noted that beyond Rossi's report, this is all dot-connecting and speculation. Nevertheless, Poorman and Jones could be onto something, so developments with Smart could be worth keeping an eye on in the next few days.
For the latest on the Penn State coaching search, stay tuned to SB Nation Pittsburgh.