Long the top candidate at SDSU

By George Schroeder Published: December 16, 2005
NORMAN - For Chuck Long, the Holiday Bowl might be more than just a visit to San Diego.

Oklahoma's offensive coordinator has emerged as a leading candidate for San Diego State's head-coaching vacancy. Sources said Long interviewed for the job last week in Las Vegas.

San Diego State athletic director Jeff Schemmel did not return calls Thursday. But Schemmel has not commented on prospective candidates. He has said he would like to hire a new coach before Christmas. Tom Craft, who was 19-29 in four years, was fired Dec. 5.

Earlier this week, former NFL and college coach Dennis Erickson told the San Diego Union-Tribune he had talked with San Diego State but had not had a formal interview.

Several others have been mentioned as potential candidates, including: Atlanta Falcons quarterbacks coach Mike Johnson, Cincinnati Bengals receivers coach Hue Jackson and San Diego Chargers receivers coach James Lofton.

Long, who might be higher on Schemmel's list than any of those, could not be reached late Thursday evening.

Last week, Long denied he had been in contact with San Diego State officials or had conversations about the vacancy. But this week, an agent with knowledge of the situation said Long had been interviewed. A separate source also said Long had been in conversation with San Diego State about the job.

If hired, Long could conceivably split duties as OU's offensive coordinator through the Holiday Bowl, even while transitioning to the new job. OU is scheduled to practice at San Diego State while at the Holiday Bowl, an arrangement that presumably would be convenient to Long's adjustment.

Long, 42, is in his sixth season as an OU assistant, his fifth as the Sooners' offensive coordinator.

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