Weighing the Choices: Major v. Harsin

Whenever I have had a tough decision to make, I make a plus/minus chart. Given what's on the table - Harsin and Applewhite are the two leading candidates by all accounts to take over the reigns from longtime assistant coach Greg Davis.  Some of these items I do not agree with, but they have been stated enough on the interwebs that they've got to play some part of things. In my system, no one item is allowed to count more than another as that allows emotion to sway into decision more than it already has.

Here's what I think Mack could be weighing between these two:


1. Proven recruiter in Texas Major has been instrumental in several of our recent recruiting wins, including Malcolm Brown. 
2. Relates to players There's plenty of anecdotal evidence out there on various boards stating how much players love playing for Major.
3. Part of the program already From a recruiting perspective especially, this looks good for Mack as he hires from within the family.
4. Is well thought of as an offensive mind outside of the burnt orange nation Without any ties to other programs bounced between Syracuse (Big East) to Rice (Conference USA) to even Alabama (the big bad SEC). You cannot impress that diverse of a group of schools without good coaching speak.
5. Has worked under Mack before This should expand to mean, he's played and coached under Mack and has seen Mack of old and Mack today. He's got to have figured out ways to get his own way by now.
6. Productive with less talent Transformed a wide receiver into a Biletnikoff finalist. Alabama showed offensive progress through the course of the season with him at the helm.
7. HCIW knows and likes him Will Muschamp thinks highly of Major. Should he do well, Major's success will likely lead to him maintaining the job after Mack steps down for Will to take over. Another smooth transition.
8. Walked into offensive situations that were a mess Rice was running a triple option offense before Major. He gave them a spread identity and managed to guide them to Bowl eligibility.
9. Young and hungry He's known to spend a lot of time studying game film. He's not stupid or lazy.
10. Has coached BCS conference football This goes back to his time at Alabama. He knows what it's like to face a tough team week after week.

1. Will be expected to behave within GD parameters Mack will likely think he will throw out his own Xs and Os on Major and Major will relent to his ole coach/boss. No one outside of the program knows for sure how much the offenses strategic ineptitude is Mack's meddling or GDs laziness.
2. Fan perception of small change/under Mack's thumb As Texas fans, we are conditioned to expect big things. NCG appearances, 5-star recruits, offseasons dedicated to what conference we want to play in and big coaching hires. Promoting from within after a disaster of a season rings small to these fans/boosters' ears.
3. No extensive WINNING experience outside of program Neither Rice or Alabama were conference killers with Major on staff. Nor did they win their conferences.
4. Image within Longhorn history at risk A lot of fans have this glowing image of Major from his playing days - the venerable, tough as nails QB who suffered an unfair QB controversy and put it aside to win at all costs. He bleeds burnt orange clearly as he took a demotion to coach at Texas.
5. Potential myopic view of program issues The old axiom goes "winning begets winning" and "losing begets losing". While he's seen his share of success, Major also is heavily involved in the politics of the program and his vision of what needs to be done could be cloudy.
6. Has not o-coordinated in 1 place for more than 1 season There's no previous work experience to prove what Major can do as an offensive coordinator for more than a single season. 1 season at Rice got him 1 season at 'Bama. How do teams respond to Major after 1 year.
7. Most recent experience is under Greg Davis
 His strategic view of the game could very well be tarnished by his second tour of duty with Greg Davis around.

8. Mack doesnt trust Major. This is a curious but often repeated minus on Major. Major has fought for (and failed) to align himself with Mack in recruiting. There's the recruitments of Chris Whaley over Christine Michael; Malcolm Brown over Brandon Williams. In each case Major wanted one guy, Mack another. Mack won. He reportedly called his own plays in the huddle as a QB, overriding Mack and Greg Davis. Would Mack trust this kid to call the offense?


1. Fresh eyes coming in, new perspective Remember how Muschamp was his first year? He played the best 11 and we knew it. Harsin would not have any legacy politics that would influence the way he decided to shape the offense.
2. Brings a proven system that GD couldnt understand Harsin's offensive philosophy does not resemble or could be accused of even resembling the strategy of the Texas offense under Greg Davis.
3. Is well thought of as an offensive mind nationally This coaching vacancy is not the only one that he has been mentioned for as a candidate. Other schools include Florida and Oklahoma. Besides if Malzahn or Holgerson leave Auburn or OSU respectively, he will be a name to replace their coordinators there as well.
4. Has coaches in and won 2 BCS Bowl games (including vs OU) There is not doubt that he can prepare for and be effective in big time games, including against the Sooners.
5. Has tutored a Heisman candidate QB who was not recruited practically anywhere No one knew about Kellen Moore a few years ago. I don't believe anyone outside of the Pacific Northwest or Idaho even looked at him. Harsin took this guy and developed him into a star and a pro prospect.
6. Proven to win with less talent Boise State has never been and will likely never will be a hotbed of 4-star and 5-star talent. When you don't have the players, you have to rely on tactics, teaching and development at Boise State.
7. Creates fan/boosters perception of great shift This is converse to the perception regarding Applewhite. A Harsin hiring represents a change of the old guard.
8. Brings a consistently winning mentality against all odds Not many outside of Idaho expect to win year in and year out. Harsin has been with a program that has a better winning %age the past 10 season than Texas. And they do win a majority of their "big games", including Oregon, Virginia Tech, TCU, and Oklahoma.
9. Young and hungry He's known to spend a lot of time studying game film. He's not stupid or lazy.
10. 5 years of O-coorindinating in 1 place Boise State's offense has been consistently productive with Harsin in charge. If Moore was a Colt McCoy type fluke in recruiting, Harsin has shown that he can win without a top-flight QB.

1. No experience outside of Boise St coaching Harsin has spent his entire Division 1 college coaching career as either a position coach or offensive coordinator at Boise State, making it difficult to see how he would respond to a new environment, politics, climate, etc.
2. Unproven recruiting skills vs big time programs When was the last time Harsin won a series of recruiting battles for 4/5 star kid versus Oklahoma, USC, Alabama, or any other big time program. There's a few of them, but not that many.
3. Fan perception that he is a cog in Peterson's offense When Coach Hawkins left BSU for Colorado, then offensive coordinator Chris Peterson took over. It's widely perceived that Harsin is not his own man and Peterson still runs the offense.
4. Chemistry concern with players Texas football has a swagger and mystique about it nationwide. The players are not necessarily cut from the same mold as the kind of player that would choose to play at BSU. How well can a guy from Idaho whose team relies on a SMURF turf for publicity, relate to the student athletes in Austin, Texas whose program needs no g immick to be marketed?
5. Has never coached BCS conference football He's coached a lot of big games and won, but how can he handle a schedule week after week with opponents who have far more talent on average than the WAC? Next year, the Big 12 will have 3 programs remaining that have won a (mythical) national championship in their history. The fanbases of these schools and others have long, rich traditions and big pockets. Again -  new culture for Harsin
6. Has never walked into an OC job that was already a mess Harsin took over a team with over 10 wins from Peterson and he has never left. How would Harsin respond to a program that is coming off a 5-7 disaster of a season. Does he know how to fix a program?
7. Religious affiliation rumors (or fact??) could be used as weapon in recruiting in B12-2 Rumors abound online that Harsin is a Scientologist. For the layfan that might not make a difference, but if you're a devoutly Christian mother of a recruit, this might mean something. This will be picked up and floated by our rivals in recruiting.
8. Handling egos of a locker room full of 4/5 star players Almost everyone is super talented and everyone wants playing time. How can he handle everyone wanting (deserving) to get more touches?
9. Potential repeat of Major got screwed by Mack again talk/friction with current staff
If Harsin comes in, would Major stick around or would he leave? Will the players/coaches feel Mack chose some new guy into the top job instead of a deserving ex-Longhorn player.

Can someone offer some additional fodder? In the end, Major wins this argument by the slightest of margins 2-1. Neither is significantly more qualified than the next.

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