University of South Carolina officials hope to have a new football coach in place "as soon as possible," according to a report in The State newspaper of Columbia, South Carolina.
In many ways, however, they're just getting started. Sports Illustrated's Pete Thamel reports that South Carolina interviewed UA coach Rich Rodriguez, South Florida's Willie Taggart and former Rutgers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano on campus Friday.
Source: South Florida coach Willie Taggart interviewing today at South Carolina. (Along with RichRod and Schiano).— Pete Thamel (@SIPeteThamel) December 4, 2015
What that means for Rodriguez's future at the UA is unclear.
Auburn defensive coordinator Will Muschamp is still seen by many as the favorite to replace Steve Spurrier; Spurrier himself has put his support behind Muschamp.
Muschamp, in fact, has already reached out to former South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore about a position on his staff — assuming he’s hired.
Rodriguez, in his fourth year as Arizona’s coach, was linked to vacancies at Virginia Teach and Miami (Fla.) this offseason, and has previously been a candidate at Louisville. The UA's coach spent the early part of this week visiting recruits throughout the west, and is scheduled to attend Sunday's team banquet at a local hotel. The Wildcats will begin practicing Monday for their as-yet-unnamed bowl game.
Still, his flirtation with South Carolina appears to be different: UA athletic director Greg Byrne, typically active on social media, has been mum over the last two days. And Rodriguez's involvement this late in the process might mean Tanner has had a change of heart.
South Carolina can offer more money — Spurrier made more than $4 million annually before retiring earlier this fall — and a closer proximity to elite recruits. Rodriguez is familiar with the state of South Carolina: He spent two seasons as Clemson’s offensive coordinator before being named head coach at West Virginia.