|I don’t think I’ve ever seen a weirder, wilder drama than the coaching search for the University of Texas. If there has ever been anything like this I’d like to know about it. The only thing recently that comes to mind is Urban Meyer’s first retirement. But even that went down very quickly.
As of right now (Tuesday, December 21st) no new hires are on the staff and nothing has changed since Will Muschamp took the Florida job 10 days ago. The lack of official information has led the Longhorn collective to be very hungry for information and, in my opinion, some close to the program to offer information that might not be 100% accurate. I don’t think anyone is intentionally misleading the fans and media (yet another rumor out there) but they are offering their opinions on what might happen and others are taking it as the truth, or they aren’t completely privy to what is going on and are unknowingly passing on what they believe to be reliable information to the media that just isn’t as reliable as they think it is. So, with the lack of concrete info the rumor mill is in full swing. Here is a sampling of the names and scenarios that have been out there. Let’s start at the beginning:
- It starts with “who will get fired at Texas?” after the 5-7 season. Would it be Greg Davis? Mac McWhorter? Both? Neither? There was open speculation that Mack Brown might not have it in him to rebuild the team and might just step down and let Will Muschamp take over. If that happened, you could expect many staff changes to come. Or Mack Brown could carry on with everyone in the same position in 2011. No one seems to know what will happen, only that something should happen. Many believe nothing at all will happen. Those people are wrong.
- Defensive tackles Mike Tolleson is rumored to be retiring. Again.
- December 6th. Greg Davis resigns and Mac McWhorter and Mike Tolleson retire. An immediate national search to replace Davis is underway, at least by the fan base. The top three names are Guz Malzahn (Auburn OC), Brian Harsin (Boise State OC) and running backs coach Major Applewhite.
- Strength and Conditioning coach Jeff Madden is rumored to be moving to a different position inside the athletics department.
- Gus Malzahn is rumored to be out of the running due to his recruitment of Mitch Mustain while at Arkansas and with his current success is considered to be a candidate for a head coaching job himself.
- Oklahoma State OC Dana Holgerson jumps into the picture as a possible replacement. Word is Muschamp likes him a lot.
- Bobby Kennedy is rumored to be joining the staff at UCLA, the staff of Colorado or becoming the head coach at Kent State or Northern Colorado. The wide receivers coach’s departure seems to be imminent.
- Norm Chow, UCLA OC, is rumored to be a candidate for the same role at Texas.
- December 8th. Urban Myer, the head coach at Florida, retires for the second time in a year. This time he means it.
- Boise State OC Brian Harsin drops off the radar as a potential offensive coordinator for Texas because Boise State head coach Chris Peterson is a target for Florida and the thought is Peterson takes Harsin with him or he stays on and possibly becomes Boise State’s new head coach.
- December 10th. After hearing Lee Corso’s speech at the College Football Awards show I think he’s saying goodbye and, like others, I believe ESPN will make a run at Mack Brown as a replacement. Chip Brown of ESPN Austin and Orangebloods.com says as much on the air.
- Houston Cougar defensive ends coach Jim Jeffcoat, father of Jackson, was rumored to be leaving UH and is rumored to be a candidate for the defensive tackles coaching position.
- Nebraska defensive tackles coach and special teams coordinator John Papuchis is rumored to be in the running for the same positions at Texas.
- Rumors have Mack Brown and Will Muschamp in concert as they search for new coaches. They both seem to be lining up the staff to Muschamp’s tastes so a transition to him as the head coach will be seamless and it seems more and more likely that transition is coming soon.
- December 11th. A day Texas fans will not soon forget. As Cam Newton wins the Heisman, the Florida Gators make a huge publicity grab to trump him and steal Auburn’s spotlight by hiring Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp as their head coach. Most everyone at both Florida and Texas is shocked.
- Now Texas is in disarray with the loss of all three coordinators (Mike Tolleson ran special teams) and the offensive line coach and the patience and deliberation Texas was using to hire the new OC was replaced by panic from the fans.
- Immediately names start to surface as Muschamp replacements. Former Miami head coach Randy Shannon is considered the leading candidate in the 30 hours after the Muschamp departure and is rumored to have already accepted the job as Texas’ new defensive coordinator. It had to be true. Luther Campbell of 2 Live Crew tweeted congratulations to Shannon on his new gig and Wikipedia even had him listed as the new DC at Texas.
- Reports are recruits have been told Randy Shannon has been hired, or soon will be.
- In the coming days it is revealed that Mack Brown doesn’t know Randy Shannon and that offer, and the interview for the job, never happened.
- Both Major Applewhite and Duane Akina are reported to be on the way to Florida with Muschamp.
- Florida defensive coordinator Teryl Austin jumps to the front of the line for the DC job, according to reports.
- In fact, reports say Austin had met with some of the players and had been named the new Texas DC.
- Meanwhile, other sources dispute this and say that Randy Shannon is still the leading candidate.
- As the days pass, neither Austin nor Shannon is announced as the new defensive coordinator.
- Wisconsin OC Paul Chryst and offensive line coach Bob Bostad are rumored, both individually and in tandem, to be contenders for the newly open offensive positions at Texas.
- Brian Harsin from Boise State is back in play, per sources, as the new OC.
- Major Applewhite and Duane Akina are both rumored to be staying put in Austin, being the integral guys in holding the 2011 Texas recruiting class together.
- The name Mike Leach as an offensive coordinator gets tossed around a few places, citing inside sources as the reference.
- George Wynn, the interim for the on-leave-with-pay Cleve Bryant (another story entirely) is rumored to be a top target of Will Muschamp for the Head of Football Operations position there.
- Dewayne Walker, head coach at New Mexico State, enters the picture as a DC candidate.
- Walker denies this, yet some insist the potential for him to be the new DC is very real, per inside sources.
- North Carolina DC and former Texas secondary coach Everett Withers, an early initial candidate that took a back seat, is rumored to still be very much in the picture.
- Teryl Austin is rumored to be not in the running any more due to his lack of enthusiasm for the vagaries of the college game and wants to return to the NFL. Meanwhile he prepares his Florida Gators for their bowl game.
- Jeff Madden is reported to be on the way out and on his way to CU.
- Sources say Austin is still, in fact, the leading candidate for the Texas DC job.
- George Wynn is rumored to be staying put at Texas.
- Tennessee Volunteer DC Justin Wilcox is the new hot candidate to be in the running for the DC job, according to reports.
- A west coast website has Wilcox already making moves and contacting a potential defensive tackles coach at a Pac-10 school to join him at Texas.
- Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley says Wilcox is still, in fact, the Tennessee DC and is preparing the Vols for the Music City bowl. He said he will not “beg assistants to stay” which leads many to believe Wilcox’s people have been contacted.
- Rumors that Jeff Madden could be on the way back to Colorado are said to be false.
- Nebraska defensive coordinator Carl Pelini is rumored to now be on the list of candidates to replace Will Muschamp. In related news, I just vomited a little.
What did I miss? I think Lost had less twists and made more sense than a lot of this stuff floating around about the Longhorns right now.
Here we are, over two weeks later and we are no closer to a solution (at least publicly) than we were when it all started, despite what everyone is saying. And if you notice above, people are saying a lot.
It seems to me that Mack Brown’s immediate concern was the 2011 recruiting class. He sent his best and most visible guys out to talk to the commits and assure them Texas would be fine once the new hires were made. There are some commits wavering, but Texas can’t rush their hires to appease just the here and the now. They must also address the there and the later. I think Applewhite, Akina and the guys in the field did a terrific job calming the fears of the recruiting class and that security is allowing Mack Brown to take his time and make sure he has the best hires for the University of Texas.
I’m with you in that I was hoping it would be faster and for at least one job I thought it would be; however, with every day of no official news it seems to me that Mack Brown is waiting for someone still playing, either in the NFL or a bowl game, to finish their season before he makes that hire. He seems to have gone through a list that might be partially known and he has a more extensive one he isn’t sharing with anyone.
So, in short, I don’t see any new hires coming this week. I could be wrong, but the tea leaves and the patterns tell me that most of what is out there is just rumor and speculation. I guess. Like I said, this is such a weird year there is nothing to compare it to.
This is like a soap opera, Isn’t it? I keep wating to see Jack Bauer scooping up Mack Brown and whisking him to safety as some inside plot to take him down is being hatched. I’ve seen that some are enjoying this drama. I’m not one of them. I want this solved and solved ASAP, but at the same time I want the right guys for the job hired so Texas is fundamentally sound from here on out and I, for one, think the extra time Mack Brown is taking is perfectly fine as long as he makes the right decisions.
I expect on OC before a DC and I could see that going down next week, but who knows? This is a crazy ride right now. I can handle crazy if it accomplishes the one goal for next year:
“Bury” is the nicest word I could think of and certainly not the one I use in my viral, word-of –mouth marketing campaign to erase the 2010 Texas football season from memory.
See you guys next week unless something breaks before then. Catch me on Twitter for that in the mean time.
From the Stands