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Crossfire with McPhaul - 1/8/2014


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Well everyone, I hope you’ve had a Happy New Year so far. Well, with every New Year there are fireworks and there certainly were a few of those throughout the Longhorn Nation since the Alamo Bowl last week. The twists and turns have been unseen, unpredictable, and perhaps even dangerous at times when one considers the careers involved. One thing is for certain: Red McCombs is NOT happy with the way things went down! Why isn’t Nick Saban coming to Austin? Did Steve Patterson circumvent the entire Head Coaching Search Committee altogether? If so, what are the ramifications as it pertains to his career at the 40 Acres going forward? It’s obvious we’re going be a tougher squad in ’14 however do ANY of the current coaches survive? Where do we go from here? And finally, what does our old buddy “Friend of Bevo” have to say about all of this? Can he read the tea leaves for us?

 

Oh, there were indeed fireworks this past week at the 40 Acres and we’ll discuss all of that and more in this week’s “Crossfire.” On to our conversation with Friend of Bevo”:

 

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FRIEND OF BEVO- SABAN, THE LAST CHAPTER

 

McPhaul: Thanks for meeting with me today.

 

Friend of Bevo: Hello Darrell, sorry I couldn't meet with you earlier.

 

McPhaul: No worries. I appreciate you taking time-out to meet with me.

 

Friend of Bevo: You bet. We have a lot to talk about.

 

McPhaul: I like the sound of that! I’ve been going back and forth on whether I even wanted to bring up the Saban saga or just move on and talk about the future- what do you think?

 

Friend of Bevo: Let’s close it out.

 

McPhaul: So, what happened?

 

Friend of Bevo: First of all, you and that other cat they call Jesus Christ were pretty much on the money throughout this whole process.

 

McPhaul: (laughing) They don’t call him Jesus Christ- they call him Jesus Shuttlesworth.

 

Friend of Bevo: What the Hell kind of name is that? (laughing).

 

McPhaul: It’s a fictitious character from a movie.

 

Friend of Bevo: OK, let’s move on. So you want to know what happened with Saban? Regardless of what may be out there in the media, there was indeed a contract put together for Saban and approved by the University of Texas AND by Bill Powers or it would have never gone out the door. That’s Texas way of “saving face”- it makes it look like we really weren’t pursuing Saban when in fact we were. I think it’s crazy that we are even trying to paint this perception that Saban never had a contract from us!

 

McPhaul: He received a contract from us- why did he turn us down?

 

Friend of Bevo: Saban got a feeling that he wasn’t the choice of Powers or Patterson. Saban was having more conversations with the BMD’s than he was the AD & President of the University. The “powers that be” in Dallas were excited to Saban aboard. Red was excited to have Saban aboard.

 

McPhaul: Was there ever any indication from the BMD’s that Patterson was not on board with the hiring of Saban?

 

Friend of Bevo: ABSOLTELY NOT! That is why everyone was caught off guard and dumbfounded when the offer when out to Strong!

 

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THE HEAD COACH SEARCH COMMITTEE AND STEVE PATTERSON

 

McPhaul: I know for a fact after speaking with multiple sources that there were a lot of your buddies that were not pleased with an offer going out to Charlie Strong SO FAST. There are NOT HAPPY!

Friend of Bevo: Darrell, first of all after speaking with my friends NO ONE is displeased with the selection of Charlie Strong as our next Head Coach. What they were displeased with was the lack of input they had in the selection of Charlie Strong as our next Head Coach. Those are 2 separate issues altogether! There was a selection committee that put forth a list of criteria that the next Head Coach needed to meet or exceed to be named as a candidate. Patterson however took the criteria that the selection committee put together and selected the candidate that HE wanted based upon that very criteria- locking the selection committee out of the hiring process altogether. Nevertheless, just to be clear - EVERYONE is on-board with Charlie as our Head Coach.

 

McPhaul: So what are the ramifications of this with Steve Patterson and BMD’s going forward?

 

Friend of Bevo: Well I will say this much, the most successful Head Coaches at the University of Texas, Darrell Royal and Mack Brown, both needed and had the BMD’s in the corners for the most part of their tenures at Texas. Now concerning Patterson, this was his hire and his hire alone. He had no qualms about making it. He simply did his job. If for some reason Coach Strong doesn’t work out at Texas, Steve Patterson is smart enough to know that this hiring is his responsibility. We at Texas do forgive but we don’t forget. I can assure you none of the BMD’s or their sons will forget what Steve Patterson did with this hiring. Let’s all hope everything works out.

 

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DEEP THOUGHTS WITH RED MCCOMBS..

 

McPhaul: What about Red McCombs and his lashing out about Strong’s hiring and the stuff said about Gruden?

 

Friend of Bevo: Good night! Wasn’t that embarrassing?!

 

McPhaul: You tell me.

 

Friend of Bevo: Keep in mind, Red was not part of the Selection Committee for a reason.

 

McPhaul: Why is that?

 

Friend of Bevo: Red did not move off of the Mack Brown wagon until it was too late. Next, the Dallas contingency had already moved on as it pertains to Mack and when Red finally decided to get on board it was too late as far as these guys were concerned. Next, keep in mind when Red is on a committee he believes that HE is the committee.

 

When Red caught wind that Saban was not going to come here, Red took it upon himself to find the next Head Coach at the University of Texas ala John Gruden.

 

McPhaul: How far along was Red with Gruden?

 

Friend of Bevo: Red thought he had him that is why he is pissed-off Darrell!

 

McPhaul: Is this the end of Red McCombs as a BMD at UT?

 

Friend of Bevo: I highly doubt it. After Steve speaks with Red and reconciles things I’m sure everything will be fine again however it’s sad that Red has brought a bad light to his name and this University with this recent event.

 

NEW SHERIFF IN TOWN WITH A NEW PHILOSOPHY

 

McPhaul: Let’s move on to Coach Strong.

 

Friend of Bevo: OK, what do you want to discuss?

 

McPhaul: What are your initial thoughts about Strong as Head Coach?

 

Friend of Bevo: The more I read about the man the more intrigued I become. Not only by his coaching acumen but the type of man that he is. It is apparent to me that he has a lot of “on the job training” that will be coming his way as would be the case with whoever the next Head Coach at Texas would be. I can see the cultural dynamics of the Athletic Department changing drastically with his hiring.

 

McPhaul: Combined with Steve Patterson’s hiring, is that a good or bad thing?

 

Friend of Bevo: If it was indeed our intention to change the culture of a “good old boy” system that has been cultivated under the Dodds & Brown era then we couldn’t have made a better selection with these 2 hirings. As we have already seen, Steve Patterson is his own man and is not afraid of the consequences that come with his decisions. You have to respect that!

 

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WHAT IS THE PIT?

 

McPhaul: What types of coaches will Strong be bringing in?

 

Friend of Bevo: As we just discussed with the cultural change, a lot of that is going to begin with the Strength and Conditioning Coaching hiring. As you are aware neither Jeff Madden nor Bennie Wylie will be retained.

 

McPhaul: I know how you feel about Jeff Madden. What are your thoughts about Bennie Wylie and his lack of progress while at the 40 Acres from a S&C impact on our program?

 

Friend of Bevo: I don’t know what the metrics from a measurement standpoint were for Bennie so I cannot give you a fair evaluation of whether he did or did not do a good job while at UT. Nevertheless Charlie will bring on his own guy in Pat Moorer. He is from Florida and doesn’t screw around. In the past, guys at UT could get injured and would avoid having to work while rehabbing. Not the case with Moorer. You know about “the Pit.” Let’s just say this about “the Pit” not the place where you want to be. (wryly smiling)

 

Off-season work-outs begin when the team reports back after the holidays. This off-season we’re going to separate the boys from the men. With the new culture there will be accountability in the weight room like there hasn’t before. It will be a cultural shock for these boys!

 

McPhaul: Do you think we’re going to lose guys over this?

 

Friend of Bevo: Every time you have a coaching change you’re going to lose guys over it. Some guys are just not going to want to do what is going to be done to stick around going forward. Now as it comes to offensive vs defensive philosophy and how it may jibe with a player’s talents, more offensive players are interested in seeing what kind of offense we’re going to run. The defensive guys are probably pumped because Strong is a defensive coach and he knows how to coach defense.

On the flipside, in recent years we have recruited an awful lot of receivers expecting to run the spread. These guys will want to know if we are going to run the spread or move to something more conservative offensively before making a decision on whether or not this is the place for them. Strong has stated that he wants to incorporate the spread but be able to run the ball as well so. There should be a place for everyone that is here already provided they develop the right attitude.

 

McPhaul: We know Strong wants to bring along Vance Bedford. What are your thoughts on Bedford?

 

Friend of Bevo: First of all he’s a UT Alum. From Beaumont, former all-SWC Defensive Back. Coached under Lloyd Carr, Urban Meyer. Coached DB’s for the Bears for 6 years. The guy was DC at Okie State for 2 seasons before moving to Louisville. Good pedigree. As we’re all aware there is always talent coming out of the Golden Triangle area (Earl Thomas, Tony Brown come immediately to mind!)

McPhaul: What about the Linebacker’s Coach that he has coming with him.

 

Friend of Bevo: Heard he was up for award for position coaches. Don’t know much about him.

 

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ANY COACHES ON THE CURRENT STAFF MAKE THE CUT?

 

McPhaul: I know we’re running short on time. Any coaches on current staff that Strong may retain?

 

Friend of Bevo: He’s met with several of the members of the staff on Tuesday. The remainder will be met with on Thursday. By the end of the week we will have a clearer understanding of who will/will not be retained.

 

McPhaul: Care to guess who will be retained?

 

Friend of Bevo: Porter, Wyatt, Searels, and Giles will get the most consideration.

 

McPhaul: Not Akina?

 

Friend of Bevo: I’m really not sure- I haven’t heard his name mentioned.

 

McPhaul: What about Major?

 

Friend of Bevo: Major would LOVE to be retained in some capacity but I’m not sure that is going to work out.

 

McPhaul: What about Patrick Suddes?

 

Friend of Bevo: My understanding was he has been retained.

 

McPhaul: I know you gotta go. Thanks for your time.

 

Friend of Bevo: You bet.

 

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FINAL THOUGHTS

 

Well, my Daddy used to tell me “son, may you live in interesting times.” Well Dad, if you were still here you would see that I do indeed live in interesting times. Do I feel good about where we are as a Football Program and Athletic Program going forward? Yes I do but I say that with some apprehension simply because as I stated earlier this week in a post, “Patterson had the bases loaded for him to ‘swing for the fences’ and what did he do? He squared around and bunted.”

The more I read and get to know about Charlie Strong I like. I think he is a solid hire and an 180 degree about face from where we were with the previous regime. My apprehension lies within the staff that Strong surrounds himself. Going after “middle of the road” assistant coaches as hires when people are expecting Home Runs is no way to ingratiate yourself to a still unconvinced fan base. We shall see how this staff comes together. Until then I want to take a “wait and see” approach to whether or not Charlie Strong is the great hire that I think he can become. Until next week- Hook ‘em and Welcome the the 40 Acres Coach Strong!

 

McPhaul

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Great read Darrell! Thank you!

 

What's your thoughts about the rumors out there that Bruce Chambers might stay? I believe they come from that "Beingreal" guy on Twitter, who I consider the most unreliable source. Dudes just throwing everything out there and deleting all the tweets where he's wrong.

 

Another rumor is that Joe Wickline from Oklahoma State might come down to Austin. Have you heard anything?

 

I love that it looks like Porter, Giles and Wyatt will be retained. Wyatt might be the most complete coach in all Big XII if you look at his recruiting ability, evaluation skills and actual X's and O's coaching. Giles is a solid recruiter who covers a huuuuge area and develops most of those guys he gets in. Porter is one of the best recruiters out there with good coaching skills. The runningbacks has looked good this year. The way he has been on Bergeron and his fumbling issues, I think he fits the "tough" mentality.

 

Once again, thanks for the great read!

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Good post. Glad to see most are on board with Strong. I think it is a great hire, for what it is worth. I would point out that he has a lot of the attributes that folks were wanting Saban for, except for the track record. I really look forward to fielding a physically tough football team.

 

Some of the current roster are in for a real surprise, and perhaps some will leave. That is fine. I hope everyone will give Strong a year or two to get his program in place.

 

My thought is that what happens this Spring may somewhat resemble what Bryant did at Junction. Strong will find out pretty quick who is tough and really wants to play.

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You bet I'm onboard.

 

What I have been told was Coach Strong seemed excited about building the best staff and Patterson took that as Coach Strong hiring the best available coaches across the country. Patterson should have clarified that the staff should have some Texas and have experience utilizing the type of scheme 90% of the Texas HS's run.

 

Evidently Coach Strong is looking at his hires based on who he is comfortable working with. I really hope that works out for but, I cannot sugar coat how upset the Texas fans are going to be if he brings on Watson and that is what it appears he is going to do.

 

I'm prepared to hear Watson tell us all that he will start incorporating some form of a spread offense mixed in with his scheme. I'm not sure if that is going to be enough to excite the recruits or fans. We shall see?

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Great read Darrell! Thank you!

 

What's your thoughts about the rumors out there that Bruce Chambers might stay? I believe they come from that "Beingreal" guy on Twitter, who I consider the most unreliable source. Dudes just throwing everything out there and deleting all the tweets where he's wrong.

 

Another rumor is that Joe Wickline from Oklahoma State might come down to Austin. Have you heard anything?

 

I love that it looks like Porter, Giles and Wyatt will be retained. Wyatt might be the most complete coach in all Big XII if you look at his recruiting ability, evaluation skills and actual X's and O's coaching. Giles is a solid recruiter who covers a huuuuge area and develops most of those guys he gets in. Porter is one of the best recruiters out there with good coaching skills. The runningbacks has looked good this year. The way he has been on Bergeron and his fumbling issues, I think he fits the "tough" mentality.

 

Once again, thanks for the great read!

 

I'm hearing that Chambers is being looked at in some type of administration position.

 

Wickline is being considered. As you know, Wickline has turned FLA so, it will tough to pull him out of Stillwater. OSU is said to be offering Wickline a substantial raise.

 

It appears that Coach Strong is leaning towards hiring Kevin Carter, the RB on his staff at Louisville.

 

At this time, it does not appear that Coach Strong is leaning towards retaining coach from the 2013 Longhorn staff.

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Thanks, Darrell. It certainly doesn't matter, but I sure wish we knew about that gap between when Saban said no and when Patterson extended the offer to CS. It would be interesting to know if NS made his decision before or after the OK game, you know?

 

But anyway, it's exciting to hear that there's some significant support behind the CS hire. And if we're lucky, we can look back a year from now and this Red crap will have only been a blip on the radar.

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I'm prepared to hear Watson tell us all that he will start incorporating some form of a spread offense mixed in with his scheme. I'm not sure if that is going to be enough to excite the recruits or fans. We shall see?

 

Perhaps Wyatt will retain his co-OC title and be responsible for spread concepts? I thought he had this in his background.

Edited by 86MEHorn
he, not we...
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You bet I'm onboard.

 

What I have been told was Coach Strong seemed excited about building the best staff and Patterson took that as Coach Strong hiring the best available coaches across the country. Patterson should have clarified that the staff should have some Texas and have experience utilizing the type of scheme 90% of the Texas HS's run.

 

Evidently Coach Strong is looking at his hires based on who he is comfortable working with. I really hope that works out for but, I cannot sugar coat how upset the Texas fans are going to be if he brings on Watson and that is what it appears he is going to do.

 

I'm prepared to hear Watson tell us all that he will start incorporating some form of a spread offense mixed in with his scheme. I'm not sure if that is going to be enough to excite the recruits or fans. We shall see?

 

This is an example of what I have been saying about how having a head football coach who needs a lot of help from the AD injects risk into things. If Patterson believes he has the football program on the right track and then turns his attention to cleaning out the administrative rot, there could be problems. Strong may be absolutely right in his thinking. However, being "right" doesn't always really matter. Cross the street when the light says walk and if a truck runs the light and kills you, being "right" doesn't really matter.

 

I hope Strong is remembering he needs to get the "bb's back in the box" and get the fans behind him. He is probably going to wish he had somehow placated the fanbase in his top level staff choices. Patterson (in my mind) has stumbled by not doing better at communicating with the fanbase and establishing his support. Someone who understands the fanbase needs to be working with Coach Strong to help him connect with the fans and alumni. He can't start that process too soon. Coach Strong is going to be totally without a competent media relations team until the rot within Bellmont is addressed, so his job of connecting with the fans will be measurably more difficult.

 

Coach Strong is free to choose whoever he wants to be on his staff, but he may not want to be too controversial. Someone too far out there is going to have a portion of the fanbase taking a wait and see attitude and ready to complain vocally should it take some time to find success next season. The fanbase is fractured enough as it is. I just hope he picks a staff people have comfort with, or he finds a way to connect with the fanbase to get us to understand his methods.

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This is an example of what I have been saying about how having a head football coach who needs a lot of help from the AD injects risk into things. If Patterson believes he has the football program on the right track and then turns his attention to cleaning out the administrative rot, there could be problems. Strong may be absolutely right in his thinking. However, being "right" doesn't always really matter. Cross the street when the light says walk and if a truck runs the light and kills you, being "right" doesn't really matter.

 

I hope Strong is remembering he needs to get the "bb's back in the box" and get the fans behind him. He is probably going to wish he had somehow placated the fanbase in his top level staff choices. Patterson (in my mind) has stumbled by not doing better at communicating with the fanbase and establishing his support. Someone who understands the fanbase needs to be working with Coach Strong to help him connect with the fans and alumni. He can't start that process too soon. Coach Strong is going to be totally without a competent media relations team until the rot within Bellmont is addressed, so his job of connecting with the fans will be measurably more difficult.

 

Coach Strong is free to choose whoever he wants to be on his staff, but he may not want to be too controversial. Someone too far out there is going to have a portion of the fanbase taking a wait and see attitude and ready to complain vocally should it take some time to find success next season. The fanbase is fractured enough as it is. I just hope he picks a staff people have comfort with, or he finds a way to connect with the fanbase to get us to understand his methods.

 

Good read. IMO Patterson rolled the dice by hiring Strong. I do not think Patterson was under the belief that Strong too was going to roll the dice and bring the majority of his staff with him. Bot men appear to be two pea's in a pod. Even if you do not agree with their decisions, you have admire their confidence.

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Good read. IMO Patterson rolled the dice by hiring Strong. I do not think Patterson was under the belief that Strong too was going to roll the dice and bring the majority of his staff with him. Bot men appear to be two pea's in a pod. Even if you do not agree with their decisions, you have admire their confidence.

 

I would have had Patterson address the faithful early on and offer a set of metrics to evaluate his performance by (make timely and substantive decisions, come out early with information regarding new facilities, hold each coach accountable for the academic performance of their athletes. begin a campaign to endow every athletic scholarship, etc.) Nothing that could really come back to bite him immediately, but to set a direction for his stewardship of the program.Something to let the fans feel they had reason to get behind him as a leader.

 

For Coach Strong, i would have had him list the accomplishments of his tenure at Louisville and to also list his goals for the program (keeping in mind the old adage - if you give a date, don't give a number and if you give a number - don't give a date). Most people don't even have a clue about the improvement in APR at Louisville under Charlie Strong. They need to get out early and show the fans they are leaders and while we may not agree with every decision, but sometime leadership means making the risky call (Roll Left, 4th and 5). I'd have him say we should expect risky calls because we intend to be ready to deliver on those opportunities.

 

Sadly, we don't seem to have anyone inside Bellmont who understands how to help the leaders be seen as leaders by the fanbase. If we had a decent media team, the whole Saban thing would have been swept aside by now and we would be looking forward, not backward. We would have something to focus on to make us look forward.

 

Someone needs to be found who can take some pressure off Coach Strong, deal with issues like Red's idiocy, help him deal with the fanbase so he has the breathing room to do his job. My biggest concern isn't that Coach Strong makes mistakes. Of course he will. We want him to grow as a coach and often that means making mistakes. Hell, if he was playing it safe, I'd be more p!ssed than if he screwed up. He needs someone to deal with the distractions and to give him both time and space to get things right. It's just that our media people are so disgustingly incompetent, I'm not sure Coach Strong will get the support he needs.

Edited by Randolph Duke
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You guys realize that we are the 10% of fans that actually get into the nitty gritty of the football program. The other 90% of the sheep just know wins and losses. The administration doesnt care about us (no matter how valid are input is) they care about the other 90% because all they understand is wins and losses and dont cause trouble (till it hits the fan last 4 years with Mack)... not the coach, not the assistants, not the AD. All they understand is wins and losses.

 

Reminds me of all things Jerry Jones and the Cowboys.

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You guys realize that we are the 10% of fans that actually get into the nitty gritty of the football program. The other 90% of the sheep just know wins and losses. The administration doesnt care about us (no matter how valid are input is) they care about the other 90% because all they understand is wins and losses and dont cause trouble (till it hits the fan last 4 years with Mack)... not the coach, not the assistants, not the AD. All they understand is wins and losses.

 

Reminds me of all things Jerry Jones and the Cowboys.

 

But the impressions of the 90% are largely influenced by the media and the media knows they will be publicly called out by the 10%. Manziel isn't nearly what he has been made out to be, but the press knows what the 10% wants to hear so that is what the other 90% read and believe. Perception is reality. If we beat up on the press and mock them, they lose credibility and it opens up a path for someone more insightful. Especially in a twitter influenced world.

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