LINCOLN, Neb. -- With Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer having interviewed for Nebraska's head coaching job, speculation turned to who the next candidate would be to meet with athletic director Steve Pederson.
Omaha and Lincoln newspapers reported in their Tuesday editions that Mississippi coach David Cutcliffe, California coach Jeff
Tedford and former Oakland Raiders coach Bill Callahan were
Zimmer's wife, Vikki, confirmed to the Lincoln Journal Star that
Zimmer was in Lincoln on Monday.
Cowboys officials referred all questions about Zimmer to the
university. NU officials declined comment, as they have throughout
the hiring process.
The Associated Press has a standing request for copies of any
application materials submitted by people who are selected as
finalists for the head coaching position. To date, the university
has no such materials to hand over, said NU spokesman Joe Rowson.
Cutcliffe told the Journal Star that no contact had been made
between NU officials and Cutcliffe or anyone representing
Cal associate athletic director Bob Rose said that Tedford and
the school's athletic director, Steve Gladsone, had not been
contacted by Nebraska.
Attempts to reach Callahan were not successful.
Utah coach Urban Meyer, who has been the focus of speculation
since Solich was fired, told The Associated Press on Monday night
that he had not been contacted by Pederson.
Nebraska fans have been in turmoil since the Huskers went 7-7 in
2002, the school's worst showing since 1961. After that season,
coach Frank Solich replaced six assistants, all of whom had worked
under former coach Tom Osborne.
Pederson came on board after Solich revamped his staff, but
fired Solich this November after a 9-3 regular season.
Solich's record at Nebraska was 58-19 in six seasons, but
Pederson said that he felt the program wasn't progressing.
The Huskers finished 10-3 this season after beating Michigan
State in the Alamo Bowl under interim coach Bo Pelini, who was
hired in December 2002 by Solich from the NFL as Nebraska's
Pederson has said that Pelini and quarterbacks coach Turner
Gill, who played under Osborne, also will be interviewed for the
head coaching job.
Pelini, however, is reportedly a candidate to become defensive
coordinator at Oklahoma, and was on the Sooners' sideline in New
Orleans Sunday night to watch OU lose the national championship to
Zimmer, who helped build a Cowboys defense that ranked No. 1 in the NFL in 2003, joined the Dallas staff nine years ago.
Zimmer, 47, was promoted to defensive coordinator in 2000 and
was one of just a handful of carry-overs from the previous staff to
be retained by new coach Bill Parcells for the 2003 season.
Before joining the Cowboys, Zimmer also coached at Illinois
State, Missouri, and Weber State. His father, Bill, coached at
Earlier, Arkansas coach Houston Nutt rejected an overture from
Nebraska, saying strong family ties and a job left undone kept him
with the Razorbacks.
Nebraska also expressed interest in Kansas City Chiefs offensive
coordinator Al Saunders, who withdrew from consideration.
Pederson said no one has officially been offered the job and no
offer will be made before a candidate meets Chancellor Harvey
Perlman, who has the last word on who the next coach will be.