There's a growing sense that the Texas A&M Aggies could hire Texas Longhorns defensive line coach Brick Haley away from the Longhorns amid reports that head coach Kevin Sumlin has officially offered Haley a position in College Station.
Sumlin is looking for a new position coach to replace departed defensive tackles coach Mark Hagen, who recently left College Station to coach defensive linemen for the Indiana Hoosiers, his alma mater. On Friday, the news first emerged that Sumlin had approached Haley about the possibility of joining his staff under defensive coordinator John Chavis, with whom Haley worked from 2009 to 2014.
After Chavis left Baton Rouge and Haley was removed from the LSU staff in favor of noted recruiter Ed Orgeron, Texas head coach Charlie Strong was able to convince Haley to join his staff in February of 2015 following the post-National Signing Day departure of Chris Rumph.
Now a critical meeting between Texas and Haley will reportedly happen on Monday:
Texas DL coach Brick Haley is expected to meet with Charlie Strong today to discuss his offer from Texas A&M. To be a fly on that wall ...— Anwar Richardson (@AnwarRichardson) February 15, 2016
Several factors are currently in play, including the willingness of the Longhorns to match whatever offer the Aggies made to Haley, which is expected to be more than the $250,000 that Haley made during his first season in Austin. Compared to the $415,000 that former defensive line coach Chris Rumph made with Texas and Haley's salary was quite a value for the Texas administration last year. In fact, it pales in comparison to the $475,000 that former Texas assistant Bo Davis is making at Alabama and the $445,000 salary for Orgeron, Haley's replacement at LSU.
However, Haley will have more than money to consider:
The big question Brick Haley needs to answer is who has the hotter coaching seat in 2016 - Charlie Strong or Kevin Sumlin?— Anwar Richardson (@AnwarRichardson) February 15, 2016
And here's a pretty solid answer to that question:
Whose seat is hotter? Strong has a job because he beat Baylor, OU, recruited well. Sumlin has a job because A&M couldn't afford to fire him.— Ryan Bridges (@RyanBridgesCFB) February 15, 2016
Then there's this:
Charlie Strong gave Brick Haley a chance after LSU gave up on him. A&M didn't want him. Now Brick's hot, they're all on him...Mike Jones— Anwar Richardson (@AnwarRichardson) February 15, 2016
Since Hagen was already in place at A&M when Chavis joined Sumlin's staff, bringing Haley with him from Baton Rouge may not have been politically or financially possible, but it's certainly true that Haley is now a much hotter commodity than he was last February after an immensely successful year as a recruiter in Austin that included a critical role in landing four Louisiana prospects in the 2016 class. Two of those players were among the five defensive tackles that Haley also helped bring to Texas.
So while there are differing opinions about how good of a defensive line coach Haley is technically, there's no question that losing him to A&M would be a significant blow in recruiting since Haley's addition allowed an entrance into Louisiana that had not previously existed.
However, it's also the case that Haley will have an opportunity to coach up all those young defensive tackles he just helped land in Austin, while Texas A&M failed to land a single defensive tackle signee in the 2016 class. There's some stockpiled talent in College Station at the position, but will Haley feel any loyalty to the players he just recruited?
In the cutthroat business of college football coaching, that probably won't be the case, so Haley's ultimate decision will likely be a result of how he assesses the respective coaching situations, the money on the table, and his reportedly strong relationship with Chavis.