Did Texas rush in to a bad coaching decision? Photo: USA Today Sports
We were told Texas would have coaches clamoring to fill the vacancy in Austin. We were told Texas would have their pick of the litter. Maybe we were fooled.
Texas has been turned down by potential targets Art Briles of Baylor and Jim Mora of UCLA. This news comes after the idea of hiring Nick Saban failed to come to fruition and Gus Malzahn of Auburn and Mark Dantonio of Michigan State appearing to be comfortable in their current positions as well. Luring an NFL coach back to the college game? Forget it.
Maybe Texas rushed to the decision to fire Mack Brown, and the program would have been better off going through one more year with Brown in charge.
Think about it. How bad would one more year under Brown have been anyway? Texas won eight games this season, highlighted by a win against rival Oklahoma (who beat Saban and Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, of course). The Longhorns were a win away from winning the Big 12 championship and playing in the Fiesta Bowl too. It is not that Texas has been a train wreck the last few years, but since winning 13 games and playing for the BCS championship in 2009, the Longhorns have failed to clear the bar raised over the term of Brown's stay in Austin. In three of the last four years the Longhorns finished the season in the AP top 25 just once. For a program like Texas, this simply should not be the case.
Ty Duffy, who takes the lead in college football coverage on The Big Lead, may have figured out the problem for Texas...
A coach was not interested in leaving Baylor for Texas. BAYLOR. TV money has changed the game, folks.— Tyler Duffy (@tyduffy) January 3, 2014
Texas does have their own network of course, The Longhorn Network, but with increasing television revenue through expanding conference media rights deals, that is not as much of a difference-maker as it was hyped to be. Baylor is growing their program and has a bright future ahead of it with a brand new football stadium. Throw in a Big 12 championship and a Heisman Trophy winner over the last three seasons and you can see why Briles may be comfortable with the position he and his program are in. Now he can sell recruits that he turned down Texas -- TEXAS! -- to coach at Baylor.
Your move Texas.
A few weeks ago I was on board with the idea that the time to make a change had come in Austin, but that was under the assumption Texas would be able to hire their coach without much standing in the way. Time has changed that perception slightly. Yes, it could be beneficial to make a change now and there is still time to find a guy that seems like a great fit for the program. That said, we are starting to see that the Texas job may not be as glamorous and sought after as it once may have been.
Louisville head coach Charlie Strong appears to be one of the top names yet to officially take his name out of consideration, but he also does not feel like the right kind of fit for the program. Strong is a heck of a coach, there is no doubt about that watching Louisville turn things around since his arrival, but he lacks the personality that would be demanded by the media attention the Texas job will have. That is not a knock on Strong of course. He just wants to coach.
Vanderbilt's James Franklin is still out there for the taking, although he may be one of the top targets of Penn State as well. Imagine if Strong confirms he is staying at Louisville though, and what if Franklin decides to stay in the SEC or accepts an offer at Penn State? Todd Graham is off limits. David Shaw is not leaving Stanford.
Steve Addazio? Kyle Whittingham? There are a number of assistants to check out as well.
It is not time to push any panic button at Texas. Sometimes you have to dig deep before striking gold with the right hire.
Hey, Mack Brown's available.