UPDATE No. 2:
Just gonna cat out of bag. Hearing Mangino out as leading candidate and WVU's Bill Bedenbaugh as the leading candidate to replace Patton.— SoonerScoop.com (@SoonerScoop) February 11, 2013
The more I check into Bedenbaugh, the bigger home run hire he would seem to be. Great recruiting and player development.— SoonerScoop.com (@SoonerScoop) February 11, 2013
UPDATE: James Patton will be reunited with his friend Kevin Wilson and fellow former OU/Northwestern staff, Kevin Wilson at Indiana. Also, here is the official release from Bob Stoops and the university on Patton leaving.
The talk has been out there for a while that Oklahoma offensive line coach James Patton may not be returning for the 2013 season. The rumors were confirmed Monday morning with multiple reports that Patton will not be a part of the Oklahoma staff next season. Reports are that Patton met with his offensive linemen Monday morning to inform them that he would not be returning next season.
The speculation has been that Patton could potentially land a job on the Illinois coaching staff, but as of the time of this story that has not happened. Regardless, much like the Willie Martinez situation, this will very likely be presented as a staff member pursuing other opportunities as opposed to a true "firing."
From an outsider's perspective, it comes at an odd time given what Patton was able to accomplish this past season while his unit was ravaged with season ending injuries. For whatever reason/s, which with Stoops' track record we'll likely never know, Bob Stoops has decided to go in a different direction.
Let the speculation begin as to who Bob Stoops will choose to replace Patton. The talk for a couple weeks has been the idea that Stoops would like to bring back embattled former Kansas head coach (and OU staff member), Mark Mangino. However, according to Carey Murdock of SoonerScoop.com there seems to be at least some level of hesitation on the part of the Oklahoma administration.
Ideally, you'd like to bring someone in with a considerable amount of experience to counter balance the lack of just that in Oklahoma's other offensive line coach, Bruce Kittle. Preferably that would be someone with NFL experience as that can be such a huge selling point when out on the recruiting trail.
This search is now officially on for Patton's replacement. The only question, at least at the moment, is whether or not it will involve an actual search for the "best possible candidate" or whether the decision has already been made and Stoops simply has to sell his bosses on bringing back another former staff member.