A lot of names have been offered to replace Greg Davis, particularly after FanTake's own Recruitocosm first reported that Greg Davis would be replaced as Offensive Coordinator.
If you're not regularly reading the Recruitocosm, I can only assume you're not interested in Texas sports or you like paying money for free things. Or that you're a power bottom in life.
My advice: get a therapist, a budget, and a nicer boyfriend.
The next obvious question - after you Google "power bottom" - is: so who are we going to get?
What I can offer is that Major Applewhite will be more heavily involved in the new offensive regime, no matter what the title next to his name says (and it could say RB coach, QB coach, co-OC, passing game coordinator). Major is being groomed as the offensive coordinator of tomorrow and it might be that tomorrow is now if some things don't pan with a big splash hire.
Next, a Big Wow Hire might not happen. We have some baggage issues with the sexier candidates. More on that later...
In reading some of these lists, it's pretty clear that most run their fingers down the list of top offenses in college football and grab a bunch of names irrespective of personnel, context, and who really primes the engine. That's fine, except that doing that in 2005 or 2008 would have yielded the name Greg Davis. So perhaps that's not the best method?
We need fit. Not just names. The Miami Heat agree.
Let's take a look at some of the names being thrown around as I believe they fall into distinct categories:
Facepalms & Front Men
Mike Leach - Key West
This is a name thrown around so frequently that it makes me question how some of the people who propose it can share a UT degree with me. I've written many times before that Mike Leach is an elephant. I love elephants. From afar. I never want to own one. Neither does Texas. Those who propose this know nothing about Mack Brown, Texas, Mike Leach, risk mitigation, have likely never made a managerial decision of consequence in their lives, ignore human psychology, and are possibly congenitally mongoloid.
Beyond that, I value and respect your opinion.
Garrick McGee - Arkansas
Sweet offense. And Bobby Petrino runs it.
Jim McElwain - Alabama
I'm sure Major can't wait for
that reunion (correction: McElwain was Major's successor). He's not leaving Bama. Even if Saban rides his staff like Madonna rode the Lakers.
Mike Helfrich - Oregon
A quick Socratic dialogue: Do you know who Chip Kelly is? Who actually runs Oregon's offense? Do you know what personnel Oregon requires to run their offense? Do we have those personnel? Then why are you bringing up Helfrich, you Helfwit?
Better Be Patient
David Shaw - Stanford
You have to love Stanford, their philosophies, and what they've been able to accomplish. It's power football with a deep passing game and it feeds me viscerally.
However, two things to consider:
That offense is Harbaugh's baby and Harbaugh is a control freak of the highest order. Where does Shaw begin and Harbaugh end?
Second, we have serious personnel challenges for Shaw. Namely, our OL have been in neutered schemes, have received poor S&C, and have had minimal coaching for years. Stanford wants 290 pound guys with high motors and blue collar attitudes. Not exactly our template. And we're not exactly stocked with TEs and FBs. Shaw's hire would require a substantial cultural shift and though he would be successful long term, is the short term pain of a two year transition something we could bear?
Paul Chryst - Wisconsin
See my last comment above. Fans who clamor for a an OL coach from Wisconsin or their OC are ignoring that Wisconsin's offense represents the full culmination of a S-Y-S-T-E-M. Wiscy's offense is built from the OL up and it starts in their evaluation process, their S&C program, their position level teaching, their schemes, their program attitude, and even in their selection of skill personnel to make their big boy's jobs easier (deep threat big body WR, game manager QB, physical RBs).
Like Shaw, he would be ultimately successful, but the notion that you can plug and play this guy without serious growing pains is naive.
The Wow Hires
Bryan Harsin - Boise State
Ah, yes, The beguiling Boise hire. Because if they can do it in Idaho, imagine if they just had Texas athletes!
Interesting that the most coveted coaches from Boise predating Petersen - Hawkins and Koetter - were major college failures at schools with greater resources. Is Boise bigger than any one man? Harsin is well-versed in offense, but as with Kelly or Petrino OC's, you never know if you're getting an implementer or a creator.
Bryan Harsin is a more risky hire than the average fan believes. But a clean, attractive name and not one I discount.
Gus Malzahn - Auburn
He is less likely to be our hire than the pundits imply. Gus is a smart guy and an offensive innovator, but he also has a sketchy rep in some circles. I'm not insinuating he's batshit crazy like Tony Franklin or bent like Dave Bliss, but Malzahn is not a classic Mack Brown hire.
Having your university purchase a 250 pound Vince Young/Tim Tebow composite will also help you run spread offense effectively.
Malzahn is considered a very likely hire by many. My sources and my brain say Not So Fast. And Not Goddamn Likely.
Dana Holgorsen - Oklahoma State
Now we're talking. He's not the best long-term solution - he's the best short-term solution. And that's what we're looking for given Mack's timelines and our need for a quick shot of adrenaline. Holgorsen is basically Mike Leach with less Asperger's, a stronger commitment to the running game, and a proven track record post-Texas Tech at U of H and making wine out of Welch's at Oklahoma State.
However, Texas has vetted him and found a potential deal breaker. It's not important you know what it is, just that it gives us pause.
Home Is Where The Heart Is
Major Applewhite - Texas
There is comfort and control there. Mack likes those things.
Applewhite does have a track record of good coordination at Rice. At Alabama, he had Sarah Jessica Parker Wilson at QB, tight reins under Saban, an uncomfortable job share, and a rebuilding year. I don't hold his bad experience there against him.
Additionally, we all know he has a serious dedication to the game and a strong work ethic in the film room and the recruiting trail. My biggest concern is that much of his tutelage happened under Davis and his own track record as a QB was as a standard drop back passer. That may be how he sees the game being best played, which I disagree with. Equally, I'm not convinced that he has been exposed sufficiently to sound running games and running game principles. Does he know what good looks like in the running game?
This is a possible fallback if our big splash hire doesn't pan. And that's looking increasingly possible. Nor should you discount the idea of Major having a Co-OC job share with another bright young thing or a more experienced grey beard with a running game background.
Consider that these guys would likely be brought in as OC job shares with Major. I don't list any experienced coaches with running game backgrounds because I wanted to keep this under 1500 words.
Justin Fuente - TCU
A goddamn Sooner (via Murray State). If he came in, it would be as a running game coordinator with Applewhite as passing game coordinator.
Gilbert's mentor has done a nice job at Tulsa as Co-OC. The problem is that he doesn't have much college experience - one year. That hire is risky as hell when you're coming off of 5-7. He doesn't address the running game blind spot.
Lincoln Riley - East Carolina
A high quality dark horse candidate and another quality former Leach staffer. Very well regarded.
Seth Littrell - Arizona.
See above. Another Leach acolyte. Leach's coaching tree will sprout into an oak soon enough.
You also need to factor in that our OC hire needs to be able to operate in congruence (or possibly even help select) our OL coach hire. That's critical. Particularly if we go with an established OC.
That's what I've got. Hope you enjoyed it.
Whether you read it here or elsewhere.