Mack Brown must silently be cursing Mike Haywood right now. It's certainly not a stretch to think that a large mass of Longhorns fans are wondering what might have been if the former Pitt coach hadn't gotten himself embroiled in a domestic violence case and fired just about as quickly as George O'Leary did at Notre Dame a few years back.
The falling dominoes in this case seem to have brought down the best chance for Texas to land Paul Chryst, who was reportedly on the verge of accepting the Texas OC position before now-coachless Pittsburgh came calling. It's not clear whether or not Chryst has interviewed for that position yet, but the likelihood that he will pushes back his decision-making timeline further than Mack Brown would surely like with the contact period in recruiting now underway.
So Brown appears to have moved on quickly. Boise State offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin, who has looked like the back-up plan since earlier in the week when Chryst was in town interviewing and receiving his offer to coach the Longhorn offense, is presumably on a private jet to Austin and will meet with Mack Brown Thursday afternoon. The plane will land in Austin shortly after 2 pm CST, when confirmation will come out from the reporters stalking the plane at the airport that Harsin is indeed aboard. Or not.
The speculation has been for some time that the Boise native Harsin would be difficult to drag away from the town in which he has spent his entire life save one season at Eastern Oregon. Think about that for a second. Texas has two major advantages in trying to lure Harsin away from Idaho: 1) the Longhorns can offer a great deal more money than the $300k Harsin makes now, like three times as much, and 2) the Texas OC position would be a fantastic springboard to a head coaching position, just as it has been for numerous Texas defensive coordinators over the years.
The biggest blow to possibly having to move on from Paul Chryst is losing a chance at bringing Wisconsin offensive line coach Bob Bostad to Austin as well, who greatly sweetened the deal and made Chryst a much more appealing candidate than he would have been on his own. As hard as it will be to get Harsin to leave Boise, getting his offenslve line coach, Chris Strausser, to depart will reportedly be even more difficult.
In that case, some names that haven't been brought up for some time in the search may once again surface. The preference here is for current Arkansas offensive line coach Chris Klenakis, a guy who has experience working with the Pistol offense from his time at Nevada and has extensive experience as an offensive coordinator. It's a formation that has been spreading like wildfire around college football the last several years and would fit extremely well with the multiple offense that Harsin likes to run at Boise State. Another name that was out there prior to Chryst looking like a virtual lock for the job is that of Auburn offensive line coach Jeff Grimes.
Also of note is that there is a scheduled press conference this afternoon, ostensibly to introduce new defensive coordinator Manny Diaz, though there is an outside possibility that Harsin could swiftly take the job, but that seems extremely unlikely