Oct 26, 2013; Tampa, FL, USA; Louisville Cardinals head coach Charlie Strong against the South Florida Bulls during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Charlie Strong, James Franklin among finalists for Texas Longhorns job

Texas Longhorns athletic director Steve Patterson stated he wanted to have a new head coach named by the end of the recruiting dead period on Jan. 15, but Mack Brown’s successor could be named much sooner with Charlie Strong and James Franklin among the finalists, according to Orangebloods.com.

James Franklin

Nov 9, 2013; Gainesville, FL, USA; Vanderbilt Commodores head coach James Franklin. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

“A source close to the Texas coaching search says Vanderbilt’s James Franklin and Louisville’s Charlie Strong are among the finalists to replace Mack Brown at Texas.”

Each has already interviewed with Patterson as Orangebloods reported with Strong’s interview taking place on Tuesday and Franklin’s coming shortly after Brown’s resignation. Franklin is also among the top three candidates for the Penn State Nittany Lions job.

With Art Briles staying put with the Baylor Bears and Jim Mora not leaving the UCLA Bruins and Gus Malzahn reportedly no longer a candidate, the pool of available and desirable candidates is dwindling.

Could Texas be waiting to meet with Florida State Seminoles head coach Jimbo Fisher after his team plays in Monday’s VIZIO BCS National Championship Game before moving forward with either Franklin or Strong? Most likely, but

Strong has a 37-16 record as a head coach but is 2303 in the past two seasons with potential No. 1 pick Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback and is 3-1 in bowl games during his four years with the Louisville Cardinals.

Franklin has led a resurgence of Vanderbilt Commodores football taking the team to its third straight bowl game in Saturday’s BBVA Compass Bowl vs. the Houston Cougars. He has a 23-15 record in the last three seasons with nine wins in the SEC over the past two.

Either Franklin or Strong would be home run hires in my opinion and while Fisher remains in the picture as a longshot candidate it looks very likely that Franklin or Strong will be patrolling the sidelines in Austin in 2014.

And I’d expect for the announcement to happen before Patterson’s self-imposed deadline.

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Tags: Charlie Strong James Franklin Louisville Cardinals Texas Longhorns Vanderbilt Commodores