Texas has a full staff now. Let's dive in and talk about the new hires.
Brick Haley will join Texas after stints at LSU, the Chicago Bears, Mississippi State and Baylor. He should be up to speed in East Texas and Houston recruiting and while it may be tempting to believe he'll give us a boost in Louisiana, the man he was demoted for at LSU, Ed Orgeron, will have something to say on that. And what Orgeron will say will be authentic Cajun gibberish. Wait - Haley was on an administrative assignment at LSU after being replaced by Ed Orgeron as their DL coach? What? Making sense of that depends on who or what you believe. Let's hear some irresponsible theories!
1. Some LSU fans contend that Haley and new defensive coordinator Kevin Steele didn't see eye to eye (they had a stop together before at Baylor where Haley was his DC) and this was the reason for his removal. Others say that's nonsense.
2. Ed Orgeron is the best evaluator and recruiter on the defensive line in college football, so there may be not much shame in being ousted for him. This is Drew Bledsoe (4 Time Pro Bowler) losing his job to Tom Brady (GOAT). LSU replaced an A- performer with an A+. Coaches like to shake up their staff and, similar to our acquisition of Jay Norvell, we may now have a coach with a big chip on his shoulder eager to prove his old boss wrong.
3. Actually, LSU made an A+ hire to replace a C+. Haley is an underachiever with a draft record bolstered by recruits he inherited in the middle of a defensive lineman hotbed where anyone moderately competent should thrive. LSU has seen a notable decline in DL performance under his watch and Tiger fans were more than happy to show him the door.
4. None of the above.
5. All of the above.
6. Note: Louisiana contextual side note. I'm a Texan, but my family is originally from SW Louisiana. An important thing to understand is that the people, while great fun and incredibly colorful, are unrelentingly crazy and have more in common with 19th century Sicilians than modern Americans. They are prone to wild conspiracy, lengthy grudges, insane proclamations and wild emotional reversals depending on their whim of the moment. So the best way to evaluate Haley will be what he does here.
I'm not as sold on Haley as some, but we'll know fairly quickly whether he's getting it done or not.
Jeff Traylor joins the Texas staff from Gilmer, an East Texas powerhouse (175-26 over 14 seasons, 3 state titles, 5 championship game appearances) that combines the rarest athletic trifecta: great athletes, great schemes and strong discipline. Traylor is known for his organizational acumen, ability to relate to kids while still maintaining order and for installing a wide open plug n play offense and penetrating defense that exploited the Gilmer athlete (basically, imagine a team where every player weighs between 160-200 and everyone runs between a 4.4 and 4.8 40). He can help us in recruiting, he can help us organizationally and he can help us with Xs and Os.
Fielding special teams that don't resemble an orangutan humping a greased up pool floatie might be an added bonus.
Like any incredibly successful coach in East Texas - and the argument for Traylor as the greatest coach in East Texas history is pretty compelling - Traylor draws equal parts of resentment and admiration from his colleagues. Overall, our ability to identify and recruit raw talent in that region will be improved and we should be better poised to exploit the raw athletes from Beaumont to Jasper whose profile resembles more what you find in the Deep South and the Florida cane fields than the metro powerhouses of DFW, CenTex and Houston.
While Traylor is unproven at this level, there's every reason to believe he's a rising star. He's not abandoning a fantastic high school job and an East Texas fiefdom to simply collect a check and work 40 hour weeks. I think he's got bigger plans. If you further consider that this is Chambers replacement, Traylor is a colossal upgrade.