NORMAN — Bob Stoops' connections and reports linked a few coaches to Oklahoma's new staff opening, created by offensive line coach James Patton's departure.
Here are three possible candidates to replace Patton:
Current position: West Virginia offensive line coach
Why it could happen: Bedenbaugh's reputation as an outstanding recruiter is likely a major factor in his candidacy, which was first reported by SoonerScoop.com. He's got lots of experience in spread offenses; Bedenbaugh spent six seasons as a Mike Leach assistant at Texas Tech, and the last two on Dana Holgorsen's West Virginia staff. He also worked under Mike Stoops at Arizona for four seasons.
Why it might not happen: Bedenbaugh and Holgorsen are close; they were Iowa Wesleyan teammates in the early 1990s, and coached together on Leach's Texas Tech staff. Bedenbaugh also received a sizable raise — to a reported $300,000 a year, according to a Charleston Gazette report — within the last month.
Current position: Duke offensive line coach
Why it could happen: Latina coached with Bob and Mike Stoops at Kansas State in the early 1990s, and Bob Stoops reportedly offered Latina the job early in his OU tenure. He's been successful at many career stops, including Notre Dame and Ole Miss.
Why it might not happen: Latina already turned Stoops down once, and he worked under Duke coach David Cutcliffe for several seasons at Ole Miss. He might be hesitant to leave his old friend after only one season at Duke.
Current position: Not coaching
Why it could happen: Mangino's on-field success is undeniable; he was Stoops' offensive coordinator during OU's 2000 national championship run, and he led Kansas to unprecedented success as its head coach for seven seasons, peaking with a 12-1 season and Orange Bowl victory in 2007-08. He and Stoops remain close friends, and Mangino watched OU's regular-season finale at TCU from the sideline.
Why it might not happen: Mangino resigned following the 2009 season amid allegations of emotionally abusing players, and has been out of coaching ever since. Fair or not, those accusations likely aren't going away. Mangino's wife is also still recovering from breast cancer, although her condition has drastically improved in recent months.