Safe or unsafe? With no timetable in place for Will Muschamp's ascension to the throne of Texas football, an off-season rite of passage is quickly becoming speculation on whether Coach Boom will ever be the head coach in Austin. Sometimes the speculation is simply a result of beat writers trying to find something to fill up column space during the dog days of summer and sometimes there's actually a legitimate reason to have the discussion, as there was when Tennessee came calling some months ago.
For the foreseeable future, the narrative revolves mainly around two schools -- LSU, where a growing number of losses and high-profile clock management mistakes are quickly eroding the support for Les Miles, and Georgia, Muschamp's alma mater.
Surely, fans who follow the off-season goings on in college football even casually have heard about last week's indiscretions by Damon Evans, the now-former athletic director at Georgia. The sordid details include a young, panty-less woman in the passenger's seat of the married Evans when he was pulled over, a laughing comment that he was "feeling good", and a non-bribe bribe.
Conventional wisdom generally holds in such situations that the incoming athletic director often has little connection with the coaches already in place and often will look to put their own imprint on the program, though it may not be immediate. In this situation, the thinking goes, that could spell trouble for Mark Richt, whose seat is not exactly hot, but there is a growing sense of discontent around the program after a disappointing season.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Mark Bradley has a different take, however, and one that Texas fans will find extremely appealing. Bradley points out that Evans did not hire Richt himself and paints the former athletic director as neither a strong supporter nor someone ready to fire Richt were the Bulldogs to lose four or five games in 2010.
As the argument continues, Bradley disputes the conventional wisdom that new athletic directors are more willing to fire incumbent head coaches than those entrenched in the job. Bradley even cites Chan Gailey's relatively quick dismissal and the quick hook with Bill Callahan in Nebraska also comes quickly to mind.
The argument in this space is that for an athletic director to fire a coach they hired is to admit that their original hire was a mistake, something that undermines their own administration, whereas a new athletic director firing a poorly-performing coach can easily cast the decision as putting their own mark on the program. Basically, it's a matter of loyalty and investment.
The two early candidates for the vacated AD position, Georgia assistant AD Carla Williams and Greg McGarity, a Georgia alum now working for the Florida AD, both have strong ties to the program, meaning that if either one receives the job, they would not be outsiders walking into a program looking to make their mark, but would probably be more willing to maintain the status quo in regards to the football program, at least for a year or two.
Ultimately, as this talk is irrelevant if Georgia wins football games this season and as a result, it probably behooves Texas fans concerned about losing Muschamp to cheer every Bulldog victory and mourn the losses, because what happens between the hedges and in opposing SEC stadiums will have as much to do with Richt's job security as any athletic director. So, in that spirit and motivated by the desire to keep Coach Boom in Austin, go Dawgs!
Much ado about nothing, mostly. The rumor du jour circulating the message boards on Monday evening was that SA Madison RB Aaron Green, who has been vocal in recent weeks about his annoyance with the recruiting process, had come to an early decision and was ready to commit.
Not so, according to Jeff Howe of Inside Texas, per his Twitter feed. There has been no change in Green's timetable or list of four favorites. In an inteview with the Nebraska Rivals affiliate ($), Green once again noted his irritation with the process and the constant questions about where is going to college, saying that if he knew where he wanted to go, he would quickly make that decision public. So, there's basically no change in the stats of his recruitment.
Well, except for one thing. When asked about the amount of contact he has had recently with the Texas coaching staff, Green said:
I haven't talked to them. It was a long time ago. I don't even know [when]. They're not recruiting me.
In some ways, the statement doesn't come as a surprise -- it's been clear for some time that Cibolo Steele RB Malcolm Brown is the top target for Texas and the Longhorn coaches are in a position to leave Green alone right now and let him come to his own decision without any pressure from Austin.
However, his statement that Texas is "not recruiting" him is a bit surprising, given his comment to Inside Texas at the end of June that each of his top four schools are recruiting him hard ($). The other difference within the last week or so is that Green now says he plans on taking only two official visits in the fall, down from four when he spoke to Jeff Howe. Before the Rivals interview, Nebraska and Texas would have seemed like the most likely destinations for two official visits, but that could be changing if Green takes the lack of attention from Texas personally, possibly leaving Nebraska and a school like Florida State as his visits. Stay tuned.
So, Gary Green hates Texas? After Quincy Russell's commitment and quick de-commitment, on many boards the main villain in the whole process quickly became Gary Green, Russell's head coach at SA Sam Houston and Aaron Green's uncle. Coach Green, it was said in the more cynical corners of the Longhorn interwebs, was pushing both Russell and his nephew towards Nebraska and the chances of Russell or Green coming to Austin were minimal because of Coach Green's influence.
It's well past time to put those rumors to rest with Russell's commitment and a growing sense (now somewhat diminished) over the last several months that Aaron Green could end up at Texas, particularly after the defection of Nebraska to the Big 12. In reality, Coach Green was simply looking out for Russell and attempting to make sure that he did not make a rash decision he would later regret. After all, Russell went from a relative unknown during his junior season to a top recruit with over 20 offers -- it only made sense for him to investigate all of his available opportunities.
As for Aaron Green, if he was lukewarm to Texas advances early in the process, who could blame him with the running game the Longhorns have had the last two seasons? What about the scheme would appeal to a player who would prefer to come downhill from seven yards deep in college? It's probably not a coincidence that the odds of Green heading to Austin seemingly increased throughout the spring as Texas transitioned to an offense using a tight end and an H-back.
There's no compelling evidence that Green has any strong feelings towards Texas either negative or positive -- therefore, there's no proof that he wants anything different from what almost every high school coach wants for his players and that's for them to be in the best situation for them to ensure future success both on the football field and in the classroom. With Quincy Russell's re-commitment , it's clear that the big defensive tackle made his own decision and there's no reason to doubt Gary Green's support of that decision.
All quiet on the defensive back front. Besides the comments from Lewisville Hebron's head coach some weeks ago, there was a long time in which there was no confirmation from Jenkins himself that he did have an offer. With Jenkins apparently vacationing in Louisiana, there was no word from the player about the possible offer and that has not changed, even with Josh Turner's commitment now roughly two weeks old. Until Tuesday, that is, when an interview with Jenkins ($) mentioned Texas among his offers. However, the article did not reference it as a direct quote from Jenkins, so the Texas offer in the Rivals database could still stem from Jenkins' quote.
Jenkins did mention that he liked Mack Brown and that the Texas staff has been honest with him, but did not say if his offer was committable or not. At this point, that seems unlikely with the commitment of Josh Turner several weeks ago.
Before Turner's commitment and with his timetable seemingly stretching towards the fall, it made sense for the coaching staff to pursue back-up plans, especially given the major depth concerns at cornerback. Obviously, Turner's commitment changed the thinking at the position and at this point, since it looks like Charles Jackson will most certainly not receive an offer and Jenkins' offer looks more and more dubious, if not uncommittable by the day, but the performances by Mykkele Thompson and Quandre Diggs at the Texas summer camp probably also changed the thinking.
By all accounts, both athletes performed extremely well on the defensive side of the ball and their showings may have gone a long way towards keeping Jackson from receiving an offer and displacing Jenkins from the radar following Turner's commitment. It's an unfortunate situation for Jackson, who appeared to really covet a Texas offer, at least enough to show up in Austin two weekends in a row in an effort to win over the coaching staff, but Mack Brown and company are in the business of making tough decisions and their honesty throughout the process with prospective recruits helps keep the program from alienating high school coaches. Best of luck to Jackson in college, which will most likely be at Florida or Oklahoma.
As for Jenkins, it remains to be seen if the Texas coaching staff is still interested in his services, but right now it looks like recruiting is finished at defensive back in the 2011 class, in large part due to the limited number of scholarships available, especially with a commitment from Austin Seferian-Jenkins looking more and more likely.