December 18, 2010

The Ticket City Locker Room

Q: (TYR0NEBIGGUMS) - 1.) Is Teryl Austin a guy that is looking to coach in college for a long time, with aspirations to be the head coach at a university some day? Or is he an "NFL guy" that will always be looking for that opportunity to jump back into the league? Pete Carroll is probably a bad comparison because he enjoyed coaching in college, but he always struck me as a guy waiting for the right opportunity to get back into the NFL.

2.) Scenario: Mack Brown & Urban Meyer step down after this past season. Does Will Muschamp step in for Mack at Texas, or does he go home to coach in Gainesville?

A: Good questions and I'm not sure I can completely answer the first one because I just don't have a first-person experience of covering Austin and can only go off of third-hand information I've acquired from other sources. Based on the conversations I've had this week with those that have covered Austin in the NFL and during his short stint in Gainesville, there's mixed opinion on Austin's long-term aspirations as a coach. One person in Gainesville that has had a chance to interact with him on a professional level told me this week that believed Austin's eventual goal was to become a head coach at the college level, but others from NFL circles have reminded that the NFL game is still fresh in Austin's blood and after a decade of working as an assistant at that level, the possibility of a return should never be ignored. The differences between coaching in the pros and in college is so different because of recruiting that we'll simply have to wait and see if the appetite for recruiting year after year will still appeal to him.

As for the scenario you submitted, I think Muschamp picks Texas if all things are equal. The Longhorns had a huge advantage in that he was already vested in the program for three seasons and his family loves the environment, but you can only prepare for the start of a race without knowing where the starting line is at for so long.

Q: (JTM Horn) - Why is it that every time Jerry Gray's name comes up as a possible DC candidate you say that Mack would never hire him? Is there bad blood there for some reason?

A: The feeling among those with knowledge of this situation is that the best way to apply for a job with Mack Brown is by not politicking for the position through the media and in the past Gray has been quite vocal about his desire to get back to Austin. In fact, his dream job is to be the head coach at Texas and there's a long-time impression from those that know both sides of this story feeling that Mack has simply never wanted to hire Gray for those two reasons - the politicking to the press and the apparent appetite to crave Brown's job.

Despite the fact that both are Longhorn legends, I don't think the two know each other at all and like Randy Shannon, the only thing Brown knows is that their names have been latched to open Longhorn positions in the past, and it's assumed that it happened through their own doings. Gray's use of the media to get lobby for the job is well known, but insiders have told me that Mack believes that either Shannon or someone close to him leaked false rumors of him being offered the Texas defensive coordinator position in 2006 for his own person gain at Miami in 2006 (Houston Chronicle's Shannon to Texas story.)

Again, multiple sources have told us all week that Shannon does have an interest in the Texas defensive coordinator position, but that there hasn't been any contact between the Mack/Shannon, despite feelers having been sent on behalf of the former Miami head coach.

Q: (Type O) - A proactive question on the recruiting front. With the recent coaching events, I know the main focus has been to keep the 2011 commitments solid, but what about the chances of going on the offensive once all of the coaching hires are complete? With the recent RB and DL attrition (Newton, Mims, Higgins potentially), seems like we might go after a late-bloomer, or approach a kid that we had originally spurned after the hiring dust settles. Would love to hear your thoughts on any "last minute" additions to the class, and where you see any gaps.

As always, keep up the great coverage.

A: The Longhorns have taken an obvious liking to Brenham defensive lineman Brandon Alexander and he's a guy that's likely going to be in play in the final month of the season. There could be others as well, but I doubt they go after another running back because they have showed zero urge to make a play outside of their current commitments since they landed Malcolm Brown. Where things could get dicey is if the Longhorns have a guy or two peels off with all of the change and the Longhorns are forced to potentially fill spots late. Over the years, the Longhorns have done a bad job of spotting players late and offering them in January. In almost every case from 2006-09, the late January offer produced little in the way of eventual quality play.

Here's the list of players the Longhorns offered and received a commitment from late in the recruiting process from 2006-09:

2006: Jevan Snead, Antwan Cobb and James Henry
2007: G.J. Kinne, Tyrell Higgins, Ian Harris and James Kirkendoll
2008: D.J. Grant
2009: Tevin Mims

Whatever you think Kirkendoll was as a college player, whether it was an above-average or average college receiver, he's without question the most productive player of the bunch. History suggests they need to hold the offer and not go hunting through the second tiers of prospects for their answers because the past rewards look like a lump of coal in a Christmas stocking.

Q: (Texas 1969) - Ketch, who would you put on your 2010 All-Texan College Football Team, consisting of current college players from Texas? I imagine you'll put Andrew Luck and LaMichael James on first team offense, and possibly Michael Egnew, DeMarcus Love, Jake Kirkpatrick and Marcus Cannon. On defense, I'm guessing you'll have Sam Acho, Jeremy Beal, Von MIller, Aaron Williams and perhaps Brandon Burton on first team. If you could do a first team I would be mucho grateful.

A: The Geoff Ketchum 2010 All-Texas team (consisting of any player that graduated from a Texas High School:

1st team

QB: Andrew Luck (Stanford/Houston Stratford)
RB: LaMichael James (Oregon/Texarkana Liberty-Eylau)
RB: Kendall Hunter (Oklahoma State/John Tyler)
WR: Jeff Fuller (Texas A&M/McKinney Boyd)
WR: Kendall Wright (Baylor/Pittsburg)
TE: Michael Egnew (Missouri/Plainview)
OT: Marcus Cannon (TCU/Odessa)
OG: Lane Taylor (Oklahoma State/Arlington Martin)
C: Jake Kirkpatrick (TCU/Tyler Lee)
OG: Chris Thompson (Houston/Hitchcock)
OT: DeMarcus Love (Arkansas/Lancaster)

DT: Cory Grant (TCU/Alief Elsik)
DT: Kheeston Randall (Texas/Beaumont Kelly)
DE: Jeremy Beal (Oklahoma/Carrollton Creekview)
DE: Sam Acho (Texas/Dallas St. Mark's)
LB: Von Miller (Texas A&M/DeSoto)
LB: Travis Lewis (Oklahoma/San Antonio Lee)
LB: Tank Carder [/db] (TCU/Sweeney)
CB: Aaron Williams (Texas/Round Rock McNeil)
S: Tejay Johnson (TCU/South Garland)
S: Tramain Thomas (Arkansas/East Chambers)
CB: Coryell Judie (Texas A&M/Marlin)

KR/PR: Jeremy Kerley (TCU/Hutto)
PK: Justin Tucker (Texas/Austin Westlake)
P: Quinn Sharp (Oklahoma State/Mansfield Summit)

Q: (randoke) - Assess the relationship OB has with Mack now and going forward and how will it hinder or help your job in covering the Horns.

A: I doubt much will be impacted by anything that has happened lately. Mack simply doesn't have a positive vibe towards anything online and I don't think he totally understands how a change in his attitude towards the modern media would likely benefit his program greatly.

At the end of the day, Mack knows that we have jobs to do and the very nature of our jobs flies in the face with his vision of a perfect world, which involves anyone outside of the program's walls from knowing anything about the program outside of what they release?

Without anything else having to be said, that creates a unique dynamic that will probably always prevent us from exchanging gifts together on Christmas morning.

Q: (10panther) - How long do you think Mack sticks around? I am hoping for five more years. If you know that Mack is leaving in five years, who would you keep on your short list to replace him if you're the AD? How long do you think until Major gets a shot as a HC at another program?

A: There are a lot of people close to the program that believe that 2010 was going to be Mack Brown's last season and a 5-7 season has changed the exit blue-print for everyone in the program. My current projection does not have him in Austin beyond 2012, but that's just my projection. As for Major Applewhite, my guess is that he's going to need to have some sustained success as an offensive coordinator before a solid head coaching job presents itself.

Q: (BurtHorn) - I know many feel burned by Muschamp and the HCIW label, but (in your own opinion) would Mack consider doing it again if the "right" coach came along? Is a coach like Bryan Harsin and/or Austin worthy enough to be HCIW, or would Mack take a "wait-and-see" approach? If Mack came to you and said "I want another HCIW so I can get the he!! outta here, who do you want?"

A: Texas doesn't need a head-coach-in-waiting unless the coach "in-waiting" has established himself as an elite head coach, prior to the arrangement. The Texas job shouldn't be one with training wheels and if the position opens up moving forward, the Longhorns need to have guys like guys that have achieved success as a head coach lined up as a successor. The future of the program should not be mortgaged for the sake of having an elite coordinator working for Mack in final years.

I don't know if I answered your question or not, but those are my thoughts on the matter.

Q: (todds) - Scheduling question for the new Big12 conference. Will Texas and the other teams pursue scheduling like Oregon did this year, where they have two bye weeks and the last game is held on the same weekend as other Conference Championship games? It would appear this offers three benefits, 1) an extra bye week allowing rest and recovery 2) Maintaining relevance in the final polls and 3) one less off week before the bowl game. If not this, would or could Texas consider adding a 13th game to the schedule? In either scenario, an annual Texas/ND showdown the first weekend of December would be a fantastic end of year finale

A: Although we haven't seen the first steps taken in this process, the answer is yes. All of the remaining Big 12 teams will need to take those steps, like other schools in conferences without championship games have had to do to remain in the nation's attention span.

Q: (Insp_Clouseau) - Any chance Mack will change his views on special teams and hire a true special teams coach who focuses on nothing else but special teams? I know Mack has wanted his position coaches taking care of this in the past, but it seems that teams that have one focused coach do much better. I know there is a cap on the number of coaches you have, but in my opinion, special teams play is crucial and our's has been in need of help in the past. Other teams in college do have dedicated special teams coordinators and it certainly works in the NFL.

A: There might not be enough flexibility with the numbers to hire a dedicated special teams coach, but I think you can absolutely count on Mack Brown taking special teams into serious consideration with one of the hires that he makes. Hell, Mack hired Larry Mac Duff as a defensive coordinator because of the payoff he thought the third phase of the game would receive. At least one of the new coaches will have heavy experience on special teams in my opinion.

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