This is a gathering of data points, not insider information. Treat is as such. Right now I'm pulling for Steve Patterson to do a great job and make the right hire, irrespective of short term fan or media reaction.
1. I believe we've been exploring the base of our candidate pool. The floor. I don't necessarily mean that in a negative way. While we're slow playing them, 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. In no particular order.
2. I'm sure we'll be announcing before January 15th.
3. I actually wish Patterson hadn't set a date at all. Hire when it's right. Whether tomorrow or January 21st. Let's not pretend there's some grand recruiting class at risk. The best in the group want to be Longhorns, the lesser guys are happy that we're their best offer, the ones we lose are replaceable. Impatience is about fans and media being stupid, bored or anxious and lashing out.
4. I'm not impressed with our executive search guy. I made light of his various choices, but there's a more serious message beneath my ribbing and it's deeper than some awkward videos. At some point, Patterson will be making a career-defining choice at a moment where he'll be most vulnerable to experts offering counsel. Maybe Jed Hughes is sharp as a tack in some areas, but in some pretty fundamental ways, he doesn't get it. I want that warning label fixed firmly on the ingredients before it gets thrown into the decisional gumbo.
5. Our monied types offer a wide range of helpfulness and acumen as it relates to coaching specifically and football in general. The ability to create a high net worth comes with a lot of powerful and admirable attributes, but a firm grasp of the trends in college football isn't necessarily one of them. And I suspect as they get more powerful, they less often hear people disagreeing with their pronouncements and hear a lot more laughter for their jokes. I think their value is added to the process when it's time to advise the new hire on creating an organization and building out a team - probably not in the hire itself. Irrespective of athletics, I hope they keep giving generously, because they're a huge part of what makes UT great.
6. I don't think our hire is coming from the SEC.
7. I don't want a hire that makes us feel good in mid-January. I want a hire that makes us feel good in September. Even if that's September, 2015.
8. Hire as if Mack Brown never existed. Whether seeking his good traits or fleeing his negative ones. Just identify what criteria the job actually entails and hire the right coach for Texas. There are lessons to be learned in Texas hiring history, but those lessons are a compass, not shackles.
9. Be open to surprises. Be willing to take in new evidence. Pete Carroll was a 5th choice joke of a hire for USC...until he wasn't. Bill Belichick was the bum who got fired in Cleveland that New England fans mocked after his first year. Nick Saban was a sub .600 coach at Michigan State sure to fail in SEC culture. DKR was 17-13 in 3 years at Mississippi State and Washington before he came to Texas. We can see their greatness in retrospect, but at the time, no one was standing on a soap box loudly guaranteeing their entry into the Coaching Hall of Fame.
10. Nobody knows nothing about anything.