How could Oklahoma and Notre Dame coaching searches affect Miami football?

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - NOVEMBER 11: (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
MIAMI GARDENS, FL - NOVEMBER 11: (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images) /

The departure of Brian Kelly from Notre Dame to become the head coach at LSU shocked college football. LSU hiring Kelly came about 24 hours after USC hired Lincoln Riley away from Oklahoma and Florida hired Billy Napier from Louisiana. How will the Oklahoma and Notre Dame openings affect the Miami football program?

Two of the biggest programs in college football hiring new head coaches have created openings at two other legendary programs. The prevalence of rumors surrounding replacements for Kelly at Notre Dame have centered around Luke Fickell of Cincinnati, Matt Campbell of Iowa State and Notre Dame defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman.

Miami could be impacted more by the coaching search at Oklahoma. CBS Sports reported on Sunday that Oregon head coach and former Miami offensive lineman, Mario Cristobal, Tennessee head coach and former Sooners quarterback Josh Heupel and Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables are Oklahoma’s top candidates.

Of the aforementioned six candidates, Cristobal is the only one that has been primarily linked to Miami. Some college football analysts have speculated that Fickell would be a good fit for Miami if they choose to move on from head coach Manny Diaz. Cristobal and Mississippi head coach Lane Kiffin are the leading candidates for Miami.

Cristobal is 35-12 in four full seasons plus coaching Oregon in the Las Vegas Bowl in 2017 when Willie Taggart left for Florida State. The three potential candidates at Notre Dame and Heupel and Venables at Oklahoma seem like perfect fits. Prior to coaching at Iowa State, Campbell was the head coach at Toledo.

Kiffin is worth watching in the Oklahoma coaching search. Replacing Riley with Kiffin makes sense. Kiffin and Riley are considering two of the brighter offensive minds in college football. Venables played at Kansas State and was the defensive coordinator at Oklahoma under Bob Stoops from 1999 through 2018.

Mark Stoops who is the brother of Bob, has also been linked to Miami. Stoops was the defensive backs coach for Miami from 2001-2003. The likelihood is that Miami is going to go hard after Cristobal. If Cristobal chooses to stay at Oregon, the Miami football program would turn its attention to Kiffin.

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If both Cristobal and Kiffin turn down Miami, the chances Diaz would remain as the head coach become much stronger. Other speculation has been that Miami will not make a decision on Diaz and a potential new head coach until a new athletic director is hired. It should be a frantic few weeks for the Miami football program.