I tried unsuccessfully to address the Saban or Bust mentality some time ago and was amused to find the people arguing that it wasn't happening were the same people panicking as Saban dissipated as an option - only to champion the next magical hire. Fisher, Malzahn, Harbaugh, even Jon Gruden - God help us.
Let's reset. How did we get here?
You fire your current coach not for the promise of who may replace him but because he is failing badly. Mack Brown couldn't revive his career. 2004-2009 wasn't happening again. That's the most important piece that seems to be glossed over. Who you get after that is a function of the available crop of coaching talent, the politics of Texas (state, athletic department, and school), and specific, individual situations out of our control. If you're setting up a construct that specific Coach X > Mack Brown, you're doing it wrong, and the psychology of any other hire will feel like a letdown. The truth is that Many Coach X > Mack Brown. The Mack Brown of 2010-2013 had to go and any reasonable replacement can't be worse.
Texas didn't offer Jim Mora the job. He wasn't interviewed. He was contacted to explore interest as a possible candidate. Mora wisely stuck to a medium expectations environment that suits his demeanor where 9-4 means fan contentment instead of revolt and an occasional Top 5 ranking makes you a demigod. Being a millionaire coaching in Westwood splitting California NFL talent with USC if you're willing to simply get out of bed in the morning does not suck as a lifestyle choice. I would have stayed at UCLA and I obviously love the hell out of Texas.
Texas didn't offer Art Briles the job. They asked him to interview. Briles felt that his interview was delivered on the football field by crushing Texas and winning the Big 12 at lowly Baylor. He didn't want to a Baylor program that had been so good to him through interview uncertainty under the national spotlight only to possibly have the rug pulled out late. Had Texas offered the job straight up, Art Briles would be our next head coach. Had he interviewed, he might be our head coach. Briles wasn't interested in might. Texas wasn't interested in a coach who couldn't grace us with his presence in an interview room. Pretty straightforward for both parties and I fault neither.
Other than our ham-handed Saban flirtation, any other coach who has "pulled their name out of consideration" was never really under consideration or they're shaking down their AD for a raise.
Our failure to land a "big name" is as much a function of bad luck and individual situations as the fact that there were some people we simply didn't ask or were unwilling to wait on. The latter fact is the only thing that irritates me, but those guys were like trying to convert 3rd and 17. It would have taken steel nerves to hold on through late January.
So we hired from the tranche I suspected all along.
...we'll throw a ceiling Hail Mary or two, but barring divine favor - I suspect we'll be circling back to the first group of candidates soon. That tranche would be these sorts of guys: Strong, Briles, Mora, Dantonio.
Ta-da. Charlie Strong is your new head coach. If you were set on another coach, fine. But I hope we give Strong the best possible chance to succeed. He's going to have an adjustment period - that much I can promise you. But Texas is a good job. And he has potential. So let's grow with him.