Judging from the lists of defensive coordinators going traveling the rumour mill you might guess that "African American" is a qualifier for the next defensive coordinator.
Somehow much of the African American coaching tree is tied to the Cover-2 defense. Much of that is due to Tony Dungy but neither Jerry Gray, Everett Whithers, nor Randy Shannon have any connection to him that I'm aware of but seem to follow the same schematic tradition. Anyways, moving past that irrelevant detail,
I'm moving more and more into the "it's gotta be Major" camp. He's our best remaining recruiter and he knows the region. Whether or not he can build a running game x's and o's-wise, which is my concern with him, he has demonstrated a clear ability to evaluate and bring in the kind of RB talent that would facilitate a transition to run-based offense.
Chip Brown claims that Muschamp won't pull away Mack's staff (Akina and Major) out of respect for his hiring, HCIW tag, and fantastic coordinator-level salary. I don't know Muschamp personally so I'm not counting on that level of honor from him.
Major represents the only young talent Texas has on hand to start restocking and rebuilding coaching staff around. I'm for pairing him with an OL coach/running game coordinator as co-coordinators with Major handling the playcalls. If it takes a while to rebuild the offense under that regime that's okay, I'm more concerned with the program's long-term structure now than winning a championship with Gilbert on campus. Targets here could be guys from Stanford, Wisconsin, or wherever we can find someone that knows how to build an OL. Obviously a new direction in S&C is essential here as well.
Shuttlesworth says Harsin is the guy being targeted with Major as a co but obviously maintaining his duty from his previous employment as the play-caller. If we can do that and keep Major, fine. If not, keep Major rather than risking new offensive and defensive coordinators that will be looking to use this job as a springboard while Mack ponders retirement timelines. You better be sure that the new offensive coordinator is ready to commit to Texas in the long term.
Tim Brewster would be a strong addition in a co-role with Major and he is a proven recruiter here so that would aid with stability as well. The suggestion by jesus that Mike Leach could be here I will refuse to think about until I'm watching Leach in a press conference with burnt orange on.
Again, Shuttlesworth is saying Randy Shannon is the big name being used to keep a hold on Muschamp's next big incoming defensive class, which makes a good deal of sense.
In general, Shannon is a pedigreed coach with a phenomenal story and strong recruiting history. Having a black DC would also probably help Texas continue to invade the Dallas areas that would normally distrust UT in favor of the more historically African American-friendly OU.
On the political and recruiting side Shannon would be a great addition. My only concern is with his implementation of a 4-3 Cover-2 in the Big 12. We've been here before.
We may already have been heading towards leaving 3 linebackers on the field more this year with Uno Ocho, Robinson, and now Hicks all having talent that demands playing time and Shannon's expertise is with the LB corp but...
It' s one thing to dominate the ACC with Florida athletes using pro-schemes and it's quite another to do so in the Big 12 with Texas guys against other Texas guys playing in the spread.
Muschamp had 2 things going for him as a coordinator, first that he was on the cutting edge of defensive strategy. He understood how to use pattern-matching and the 1-hi safety defense to create leverage against the spread and running game. Secondly, he could improvise with what he had and turn it into something functional. He used packages, he drew up stunts and fronts to create mismatches, and he protected weak spots until 2010 when he either ran out of resources or inclination.
I could be wrong but Shannon strikes me as more of a bend-don't-break, 1 size fits all type coordinator. He'll run mostly Cover-2 zone or man under and rely on superior athletes, execution and offensive mistakes to keep points off the board. Think Bill Young of OSU, whom he hired previously to that to run the Miami defense.
Now, defensive excellence is far more dependent on talent than offense and this approach is a fine one that would likely keep Texas respectable on defense but it's a step down from Muschamp and there's a chance in my mind that Shannon will not have a strong answer for the spread offense.
He'll probably have what he needs in the front 7 but his system would collapse under the weight of the safety play Muschamp had this year.
You get a similar story with the other names. Whithers? Another C0ver-2 beat'em with better athletes and dominant line play guy. Jerry Gray? Well I don't actually know his philosophy. I don't know how Carl Pellini's name got out there but I don't think that's realistic. He seems like both a d-bag and excellent defensive mind but the Nickel Rover calculus team says that still averages to a passing grade. Surely Mack would go with Shannon or another comfort hire first, of course.
I wish we could emulate Sherman and find a Deyruter out there. A young up-and-comer but I'm sure the demands of maintaining recruiting momentum will be a bigger factor in this decision. I have no idea who such a person might be anyways.
This whole scenario is exactly what I feared from Mack's continued presence as HC at Texas. I'm firmly in the camp of those who were willing to put their chips in on Muschamp and his vision for a staff that was young, hungry, and innovative. Instead we get Mack's rebuild of Texas pt. 2 or whatever episode of the saga we are now witnessing.
To those who claim that Muschamp was a wildcard and that Mack is a known commodity, you are beliving lies. You don't know that Mack has the drive or the abilities at this point in his career to steer Texas in the right direction before he departs. He's ability to perform in that role is every bit the same unknown commodity that Muschamp was.
I fear that his attempts to make this happen on his own are going to hold back Texas from deploying it's full resources in salary and prestige to get the staff we need to ensure that Texas competes for championships in this decade. A new Head Coach.