After a weeks-long search that entailed a host of erroneous media reports, a reportedly extensive vetting process and easily the longest period of media silence in Mack Brown’s career as a head coach, the Texas Longhorns’ brand spankin’ new coaching staff finally started to take shape this week.
Out: Will Muschamp, Greg Davis, Bobby Kennedy, Mac McWhorter, Mike Tolleson, Jeff Madden. (Sheesh, did I miss anyone?)
In: Manny Diaz, Bryan Harsin, Bo Davis, Darrell Wyatt, Bennie Wylie. There’s also an offensive line coach still to be named.
“Extreme Makeover” would be an understatement. It’s closer to “Can’t Buy Me Love” – Greg Davis needs to watch out for sacks of dog crap arriving on his doorstep.
Gone are the vestiges of the old guard in Austin, as well as the dynamic heir apparent to Mack’s throne. In their place, an exciting crew of young rainmakers thought to be among the best and brightest minds in the ranks.
(Out of all those guys, Wylie easily scares me the most. Looks like the Mike Tomlin of strength coaches – a cool cat in a profession rife with douchebags.)
Meanwhile north of the Red River, a less inspiring candidate surfaced in the search to fill the lone opening on coach Bob Stoops’ staff: someone named Bruce Kittle, a guy who is two years removed from being a high school assistant.
Never have the fundamental differences between the two programs seemed more pronounced.
Somewhere in the Great Beyond, George Steinbrenner must be nodding approvingly as he watches Mack break the bank for all that coaching talent. Like the annual Bronx Bombers spending spree in pursuit of baseball’s premier free agents, Mack identified high-profile prospects and came at them with lucrative offers that few could refuse. It’s the same approach he has used in past years when he hired guys like Dick Tomey, Greg Robinson, Gene Chizik and Will Muschamp to be UT’s defensive coordinators.
Looking at all those flashy names joining their rival’s ranks, it’s easy to understand why OU fans are perpetually underwhelmed by Stoops’ clear preference to hire from within his own program or pursue coaches a little more off the beaten path. Promoting your recruiting coordinator to a full-fledged position coach doesn’t quite jump off the page like hiring Alabama’s defensive line coach.
Stoops has a carefully conceived vision of what he wants his team to be. There’s always room to tinker at the margins, but any fundamental changes to guiding principles and strategy come from the head coach. Coordinators and position coaches are hired based on their ability to execute Stoops’ plan and help him tweak that vision if needed.
Mack, on the other hand, clearly prefers to let his coordinators do the heavy lifting. Oh sure, there will be directives from on high to “go to a power running game” or “let Vince be Vince.” Yet, when it comes to putting together a staff, it’s about bringing in the best names and letting them figure things out.
It sounds great in theory – you want the best people working for you. But, what about the chemistry? Will everyone be pulling in the same direction? Does everyone’s style fit together seamlessly?
Then there’s the biggest red flag: The Mackiavellian philosophy is highly vulnerable to attrition. In other words, when Will Muschamp leaves, his D pretty much goes with him. The next guy is starting from scratch.
No one should fault Texas for giving its coaching staff an enema after a horrific 5-7 season. Individually, the new coaches down on the 40 Acres are some of the best up-and-coming prospects in college football.