When Bellmont writes the required job qualifications using the candidate's resume as a crib sheet, that's generally a tell, isn't it?
I am ambivalent about this hire.
Austin had exactly one year of defensive coordinator experience at Florida (which accounts for his entire career), where he had a year that was roughly comparable to Muschamp's 2010. Horrible offense betrayed the Gator defense with short fields and cheap scores, they struggled against the run at times, and they had some trouble replacing elite losses to the NFL. Similarly, as at Texas, there was a wide divorce between scoring defense and yards allowed/yards per play.
His experience as a defensive backs coach at the college and NFL level is estimable, but as a defensive coordinator, we've hired a blank slate. This is a coach who will still be growing on the job, which doesn't disqualify him, but certainly doesn't recommend him.
Much is being made of the fact that Urban Meyer hired him, an endorsement by arguably the shrewdest guy in college football, but it ignores the timing and context of the event. Meyer's staff was gutted by coaching hires to other programs, Urban had his brief I'm-Retired-No-I'm-Not flirtation, and Meyer's new hire defensive coordinator at the time - George Edwards - left the Florida job after only month for a NFL gig in Buffalo.
Urban Meyer found himself scrambling for a defensive coordinator in February with uncertainties clouding his own willingness to continue long-term.
Was Teryl Austin the best coordinator hire in college football? Or the best available then?
I suspect we all know the answer to that.
Similarly, don't discount the notion that Urban Meyer feels more than a tad guilty for leaving staff in the lurch at Florida. He's an Ohio Catholic named after a Pope - it's written into his DNA. He hired Austin with assurances that he would there long term. It would feel good to fulfill his responsibility to a good man by placing him at another elite destination job at a comparable program. Perhaps his evaluation of Austin to Brown reflected that feeling.
I know little about Austin as a recruiter. I suspect he's not a negative there and having an African-American in a key staff position is helpful, if not powerful. Unfortunately, he is a blank slate as a talent evaluator. I consider recruiting rainmaking a secondary concern for a defensive coordinator, but the evaluation ability has to be there. Particularly given our history of allowing good to be the enemy of great on the recruiting trail.
Most troubling, his children are named Tyler, Trey and Torin, Alexa and Alivia. He is an ALLITERATION-NAMING PARENT.
All kidding aside, Mack Brown's hiring record at defensive coordinator is mixed - Reese, Robinson, Akina/MacDuff, Chizik, Muschamp - span a range from uninspired failure to great success.
Could Teryl Austin be a fantastic hire? Absolutely. However, unlike Will Muschamp, who I knew would be a game-changer the moment he was hired, the best I can offer is wait-and-see. I hope Austin is wildly successful and a year from now we're all crowing about having the hottest coordinator in college football. Until then...
Trust Mack, it seems. Again.