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Crossfire with McPhaul - 12/4/2013


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I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday this past week. It was great watching the good guys win over a program that looked to be on the rise only to find out that they were, at the end of the day, just who my contacts had been telling me they were all season long: Tech. What that means is Tech is going to be Tech. They may sneak up on you and sting you every now and then, but it is unlikely that they will ever be a consistent player on the National scene in College Football. And as I said last week, I make no apologies about it, I’m an “old school” guy that misses the good, old days of the pageantry and rivalry between ourselves and the Aggies on Turkey Day. No matter WHO you try to replace the hated Aggies with (Notre Dame, Tech, TCU, whoever), it just ain't the same- it’s NOWHERE NEAR the same! Fortunately it’s looking like that may be changing in the near future. As I mentioned last week, there are just so many memories I have with my family surrounding that game that it just isn’t the same without it. Well, one of the things that I am thankful for this week is I got to spend time with one of my old friends over the weekend grilling steaks, drinking fine scotch, watching football, and seeing how the other half lives. As the NFL Network commercial says with the song “Dear Mr. Fantasy” playing in the background, “it doesn’t suck to be rich!” That being said, this week we will go into our conversation in-depth. We will discuss Mack’s future. How much longer until he announces his resignation? How does the Alabama loss to Auburn affect time lines as it pertains to Nick Saban? Does Rick Barnes have a future at UT? How much longer will the Bev Kearney situation continue to hang around? What does the future hold for Chris Plonsky? We will discuss all of those things and more in this week’s “Crossfire.”

 

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NICK SABAN STILL THE GUY- TIMELINES?

 

McPhaul: I’ve been getting catching grief from some folks for saying 3 weeks ago that “I was 100% convinced that Nick Saban was coming to Texas as Mack Brown’s replacement. Consequently, I have my readers continually asking me, “Darrell, has anything changed this week? What are you hearing from your contacts?” That being said, my first question is “has anything changed since we spoke last week?” Is there any reason why I shouldn’t be telling my readers that Saban to Texas is 100%.

 

Friend of Bevo: Not a thing has changed. Everything is moving forward accordingly. I told you previously that we would be nice and perform a “professional courtesy” in vetting candidates that were of Mack’s liking. I know you heard me because I read your “Thanksgiving Crossfire” and you put it in there. I also told you that we would extend that “professional courtesy” to make him feel good about things but at the end of the day he would have little if any impact on the decision making process. That is just how it is at this point. The decision makers feel like he put this thing in the ditch, and after 4 years he still doesn’t know how to get it out. We’re going in a completely different direction- that ship has sailed.

 

McPhaul: Alright, I’m going to jump to the next question that everyone has wanted to know about since Chris Davis returned that attempted Field Goal back 109 yards (yes I know it can only be 100 yards in College) for a TD to win the game for Auburn. With Alabama for the time-being being on the outside looking in on the National Championship game, does this impact the Saban hiring time-line?

 

Friend of Bevo: Did Auburn beating Alabama impact Nick Saban’s time-line on coming to Texas? Is that your question? Son, you know the answer to this already: “Hell yeah it impacted the time-line. It expedited it!” Now we don’t have to continue with these charades and “cloak and dagger” games. We can go thru our process on our agreed-to terms (between Sexton, Saban, & UT decision makers). This allows Saban the ability to come in and get started at his new gig as opposed to having to worry about an SEC Championship & BCS Championship game.

 

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McPhaul: Will Saban want to Coach in an “at-large” BCS Bowl Game or will he want to come to Austin and get started?

 

Friend of Bevo: Son, there aren’t any guarantees that Bama is playing in a BCS Bowl Game, however I would be surprised if they weren’t! There isn’t a guarantee that WE won’t be playing in a BCS Bowl Game as a Conference Champion- although it would be surprising if we did. I would think Nick would want to begin the process of letting Bama get on with their business by naming Smart as their new Head Coach and Nick & Terry getting acclimated to their new digs in Austin. The Sabans may be special but no matter how special you may be, moving is still a HUGE pain in the ass! The Sabans are going to have to get moved to Austin, hire a staff, and hit the ground running from a recruiting standpoint. Even with professional moving companies and all of the assistance they will be receiving with their move, that’s a LOT to do if you are waiting until after the beginning of the year to get started! Your job just got a HELL OF A LOT more difficult in getting things turned around!

 

PLAN “B”?

 

McPhaul: I know we’re all in with Saban. I get it! I am sitting at 100% committed that this thing will happen. That being said, my readers want to know about Plan “B”- is there a Plan “B”? If so, who might some of those coaches be?

 

Friend of Bevo: I understand, you’re just asking me a question on behalf of your readers, so I won’t tell you how dumb you are for continuing to ask me the same questions week-in, week-out. Remember when you heard Saban’s name come up, but there was also Shaw- who is a Hell-of-a-Coach! You also heard early-on Will was coming back. You heard Gary Patterson’s name. You heard Gruden’s name. You heard Larry Fedora’s name and Pat Fitgerald’s name early-on until the losses started mounting. Of course, you heard Urban Meyer’s name. Until a couple of weeks ago you were hearing Briles’ name being thrown out there! Hell, now you’re hearing Chris Petersen’s name. Petersen is one of those “Mack professional courtesy” names to make him feel like he is part of the process. Hell, I’m now hearing Jimbo Fisher’s name come up on a Florida site.

 

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McPhaul: Speaking of Fisher, what are your thoughts on Jimbo at Texas?

 

Friend of Bevo: Son, have you see what the hell is going on over there in Tallahassee with professors being threatened by football players unhappy with their grades? Did you hear about the gay professor and his encounter with one of the Seminole football players? That crap doesn’t fly at the University of Texas! The tough part for the professors is they really DO love Seminole Football. But the crap going on over there on Fisher’s watch is right out of Barry’s World when he was at the end of his career at OU. You’re talking about a mess- NO THANKS! Saban is the guy- I can’t put it in plainer words than that!

 

WHAT WILL SABAN’S COACHING STAFF LOOK LIKE?

 

McPhaul: Are there any guys on this current staff that are retained by Saban when he comes to Texas?

 

Friend of Bevo: The Alabama staff or the UT staff?

 

McPhaul: UT staff.

 

Friend of Bevo: I would imagine he will want guys that he has a relationship with. Folks that know how to build a program the way he likes a program to be built. Take a look a Patrick Suddes, That kid was with Saban for damned-near 10 years. He was with Saban at LSU. Then with the Dolphins. Then with Bama. The kid knows EXACTLY what Saban wants. He knows how he wants his camps set up. He knows how to filter recruits. He knows how to manage recruit relationships. For years we would hear recruits say, “I haven’t heard from UT in a while.” Well shouldn’t happen with a guy like Suddes. Nothing slips thru the cracks!

 

McPhaul: Suddes is the Director of Player Personnel, how about the coaches; do any of these guys get to stick around?

 

Friend of Bevo: Keep in mind, Saban is an SOB to work for. This aint gonna be “Camp Cupcake!” Not only is it going to be a culture shock for the players but for the coaches as well! They may NOT want to be here. Nick is hard on his assistants. That being said, you first have to look at if Nick has any existing relationships with any of these guys. Relationships are key in the coaching community. I would imagine he will want SEC guys and Searels fits the bill. I think Searels coached under Saban for a year at LSU so it would depend on how that relationship went. Bo Davis and Saban had a history at LSU and he thought enough to bring him to Bama later on. Depends on how that relationship played out. Larry Porter seems like an SEC guy to me. Hell of a recruiter while he was at LSU prior to going to Memphis as Head Guy. He might be a keeper. Darrell Wyatt has done a very nice job and is well respected in the coaching community. His knowledge of the Big 12 and recruiting prowess might keep him around as well.

 

McPhaul: What about Major? Is he a SEC guy? Do you think Saban would keep Major around?

 

Friend of Bevo: Major had a cup of coffee in the SEC- that doesn’t make him a SEC guy. I don’t really know how their relationship ended after 1 year but I wouldn’t think so.

 

McPhaul: What about Strength & Conditioning Coaches? Do they survive?

 

Friend of Bevo: No.

 

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McPhaul: What about Bennie?

 

Friend of Bevo: No.

 

McPhaul: We keep hearing Saban coming out and talking about these quick-tempo, spread offenses and lobbied hard about how adjustments need to be made to the game because the rules have become TOO friendly to the offense. Will the number of Spread Offenses in the Big 12 concern Saban from coming to Texas?

 

Friend of Bevo: Son, do you hear yourself? Saban to Texas is done. Now, if your question is does Nick Saban want to avoid up-temp, Fast-break offenses well then I got bad news for Nick: those up-tempo, spread offenses are not just in the Big 12 but the PAC 12 and with Mizzou, A&M, moving to the SEC, they are going to see the up-tempo, spread there as well. More now than ever. Hell son, you see the up-tempo, Spread Offenses on EVERY level of football today. EVEN THE NFL! If Nick Saban wants to continue coaching football, then the spread offense is going to be there no matter what level. And the last time I checked, Nick Saban has won 3 out of the last 4 National Championships with the offense he runs.

 

McPhaul: Good point. Recently we’ve been hearing a lot of smoke surround Pat Narduzzi (DC Michigan State) as Saban’s Defensive Coordinator hire. What are your thoughts?

 

Friend of Bevo: The young man can flat-out coach defense. No doubt about it. Hell, he’s Bill Narduzzi’s son (former Youngstown State Coach) so he ought to know how to coach! But son, it’s like I told you from the outset on any of these hires- it’s about relationships! My understanding is Narduzzi, is from Ohio and Nick is from West Virginia. Do they have a relationship together? I don’t know. Perhaps the dad and Nick knew each other?

 

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STEVE PATTERSON AND HIS IMPACT

 

McPhaul: Let’s move on to Steve Patterson. How are things going with Patterson now at the helm?

 

Friend of Bevo: Very well. My understanding is he is evaluating ALL aspects of the Athletic Department right now. He’s got a lot of people in his ear jockeying for position. No one wants to be left standing when the music stops. And when you have nearly 400 administrators supporting 500 student athletes, well obviously there is a TON of fat! Patterson is in the process of deciphering all of the BS and that in itself will take some time.

 

McPhaul: I’ve made it quite clear that I miss the Aggie Game. I also have heard that Patterson is a proponent of having Texas & A&M play again in the near future. Fact or fiction?

 

Friend of Bevo: I think that game is good for the State of Texas. Thanksgiving just hasn’t been the same around here since that game went away. And yes, I’ve been told Patterson wants to get that game back on Thanksgiving- sooner vs later. When exactly? I don’t know. Personally I would prefer not until we rebuilt ourselves. We have to rebuild and that will take some time.

 

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McPhaul: We know that Patterson likes his hoops. Any idea if Barnes is a “dead man walking” or is he really getting a fair evaluation?

 

Friend of Bevo: Darrell, let me be clear about this: Patterson will give EVERYONE on this staff a fair evaluation. But keep in mind, 15 years is an awful lot of case study on whether or not someone is a keeper. And yes, Barnes has changed his mindset on a lot of things. But just like Football, Basketball needs a refresh at this point and unless Barnes can do something special this season then he is likely out as well. It’s nothing personal. It’s just time.

 

McPhaul: Coaches to replace Barnes?

 

Friend of Bevo: The same ones you posted on your site last week. The same ones everyone wants. But keep in mind, this IS Steve Patterson’s hire, and Steve Patterson wants to make a HUGE splash! This hire will have Patterson’s fingerprints all over it.

 

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McPhaul: Let’s move on to Augie and the Baseball Program. Is Augie going to be back in ’15?

 

Friend of Bevo: I’m not sure Augie wants to come back at this point. He’s getting up there in age and may want to go out on top. However, Augie has a great Freshman recruiting class coming in this season. If he made a run to the CWS this Summer then me might come back. It would probably be left up to Augie. Anything short of that and I’d imagine he’s shown the door.

 

McPhaul: Replacement candidates?

 

Friend of Bevo: If there is anyone on the staff then probably Skip Johnson- but Darrell, that is SO far down the list of issues facing the University of Texas right now, it’s just not on the radar right now!

 

McPhaul: What’s going on regarding Bev Kearney these days? Any updates? When does this nightmare end?

 

Friend of Bevo: Your guess is as good as mine. We should have just paid her off and went on our way. If this thing goes to trial, and it’s looking as if it may, then it will be an embarrassment to the University. A LOT of people are going to be dragged thru the mud on this one!

 

McPhaul: What about Chris Plonsky? What is the latest on her?

 

Friend of Bevo: I expect that she will resign. Maybe January time frame. The model we are looking at for our Athletic Department is to consolidate Men’s and Women’s Athletics.

 

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McPhaul: What about Conference Affiliation and Patterson? What do you expect to see happen if anything on that front? Any changes?

 

Friend of Bevo: Your readers may not like to hear this, but I don’t see anything happening until the playoff system is implemented. At that point, I would expect significant changes with our conference affiliation and I’ll leave it at that.

 

McPhaul: Finally, what do you think our Athletic Department will look like a month from now?

 

Friend of Bevo: 30 days from now, or in the month of January?

 

McPhaul: January

 

Friend of Bevo: We’ll have a new Head Football Coach.

 

McPhaul: 3 months from now?

 

Friend of Bevo: I would imagine you will see significant down-sizing in the Athletic Department. I mean 400 administrators for 500 student athletes? Darrell, of ALL of the people in the World you KNOW how I feel about government bureaucracies!

 

McPhaul: Yes sir! Finally, how does our Athletic Department look in 6 months from now?

 

Friend of Bevo: Darrell, unless I am working by Steve’s side I just don’t know- let’s just see how it all works out. There is just SO much going on right now. Again, we are only in the assessment stage at this point in evaluating where we go from here.

 

McPhaul: Finally, there has been a lot..(interrupts me)

 

Friend of Bevo: FINALLY?! (laughing)

 

McPhaul: Yes sir, finally. There has been a lot of different information being shared on various UT Websites. Some of the Websites are making some claims (consistent with this site) and others are in disagreement and even attacking the credibility of the writers of the other site- what gives? What is the reasoning?

 

Friend of Bevo: Darrell, you run a nice site and it’s a “breath of fresh air.” You just keep doing what your doing and soon everything will be out there and people can make their own decisions about who was right and who was wrong. You need to stay out of it and mind your own business.

 

McPhaul: Yes sir. Thanks as always.

 

Friend of Bevo: Glad I can help out.

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Excellent read. While I hope his statements about Saban are one hundred percent true, it made me a bit nervous when he more or less dismissed a Plan B. Things can always happen and I'd hate for us to lose out on a good coach because our egos led us to believe Saban would never say no. But this was a little reassuring, hopefully we'll here something on the Saban front pretty soon. The first step in that direction will be Mack announcing his retirement.

 

PS. He says son a lot.

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I'm sorry, but dang that was a hard read. You need to take out the "son's" ... when quoting someone, you don't actually have to put in EVERY word. Just give the meat of the info. The way you wrote makes it all seem very fake and contrived, which I know you didn't intend. Just my thoughts.

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Great report McPphaul.

 

I've heard this analogy used before regarding playing aggy again. Every Presidential candidate since Kennedy has stated they want to normalize relationships with Cuba, then they are elected and you never hear another word. They get access to the real documents and get past all the Chaffee.

 

Just as with Cuba, I believe Patterson will review the documentation as it pertains to UofH and aggy and conclude neither are worth dealing with in the near future. It just not worth it and why reward bad behavior?

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Great report McPphaul.

 

I've heard this analogy used before regarding playing aggy again. Every Presidential candidate since Kennedy has stated they want to normalize relationships with Cuba, then they are elected and you never hear another word. They get access to the real documents and get past all the Chaffee.

 

Just as with Cuba, I believe Patterson will review the documentation as it pertains to UofH and aggy and conclude neither are worth dealing with in the near future. It just not worth it and why reward bad behavior?

 

That's a good analogy.

 

In my own mind I just can't grasp how this game would benefit The University of Texas near as much as it would aggy. By the time they try to implement this game, aggy would be grasping for air as they would be at least three years removed from their Heisman QB leaving and on a continual downward spiral in the SEC without a marque rivalry to look forward to every year. We would be handing that to them on a silver platter and all it would do for us is give us an old rival in a non-conference matchup that would more than likely drop our strength of schedule.

 

Not worth it.

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