Charlie Strong is our next head football coach. After all the gnashing of teeth and angst amongst the Texas football universe about who was going to replace Mack, the decision has been made, for better or for worse. When the hire started to trickle out last night it was late and I was getting ready for bed and was not very happy. Nothing against Charlie Strong, but I wanted Saban or Fisher or Harbaugh or Gruden. I thought we should make those guys say no before moving on. Patterson thought otherwise. There's a reason why he's being paid $1.5 million a year to make decisions like this and I'm a moderator on Hornsports.com. I did not want to say much last night because I was tired and I did not want to say anything until thinking more about it for fear of being too critical or too harsh. I'm ready to talk this morning.
-- Charlie Strong is as good of a defensive coach that we have had on the 40 Acres. He's on par with guys like Robinson and Muschamp and Chizik. Without question. In a conference where defense seems to be an afterthought on a lot of teams, we just hired a guy who steps into the Big 12 and is probably right there with Patterson and Stoops as the pre-eminent defensive minds in the conference. For comparison sake, in 2008 WM's defense allowed 35 points to OU in a game we won 45-35. In the national title game that season, Strong's UF defense held that same offense to 14 points. We held them below their season average by nearly 2 TDs, but Strong's unit was 3 TDs better than us!
-- One of the biggest needs that many of us wanted in this hire was an Xs and Os coach. The guy we were all wanting was Saban, who's a defensive Xs and Os coach. Strong is without a doubt an excellent Xs and Os coach on the defensive side of the ball. You KNOW that side of the ball is going to be in good shape moving forward. This isn't a CEO-type coaching hire like the guy we are replacing. This team needs an identity and we just hired a guy who's teams play with an identity.
-- People wanted culture change. We just got culture change. Gone are the days of Mack and his staff coddling the players. The country club atmosphere just vanished. Accountability and toughness are the names of the game now. Maybe Strong isn't Saban in this regard, but he's on the opposite end of the spectrum than Mack. And that's a good thing in my opinion.
-- Charlie Strong did not get a head coaching job for years when it was obvious that he was one of the top defensive coordinators in the country. And when he did get one, he had to go to a place like Louisville. Not a terrible job, but it's not what he probably deserved. Compare that to a guy like Kirby Smart who's been offered jobs at places like Ole Miss and Tennessee already. Strong is a guy who coaches with a chip on his shoulder and is out to prove everyone wrong. He just got what is one of the best jobs in college football. You don't think he's going to want to prove everyone wrong? Show all those schools who barely gave him a passing glance what they missed? Sure, Saban is a sure thing because of his track record, but Strong will be determined to be successful. There's a reason why he might have been the guy who politicked for the job the most. At the end of the day, give me the guy with something to prove and everything to lose over someone who might just be coaching for his legacy.
-- Strong needs to go out and assemble the all star staff that he's promised Patterson. He needs to go hire some badass recruiters for the defensive side of the ball and a group of top notch coaches on the offensive side of the ball. Because of his ties and success on defense, I don't think the hires on that side will need to be as strong as the hires on the side of the ball that he is going to have less input on. Here's some names I'd like to take a look at:
OC: Ed Herman, Ohio State -- Remember, Strong coached under Urban at Florida and won a pair of titles with him. Offering Herman the chance to be in complete control of the offense here is much different than what he has at OSU where a lot of people will think the offense is as much Meyer's as his own.
Philip Montgomery, Baylor -- Same type scenario. Everyone thinks the Baylor offense is Briles. Give Montgomery a chance to step out of the shadow and prove he's an offensive genius like the coach he's worked under for years.
Mike Locksley, Maryland -- Probably a longshot candidate and not the wow hire that most people would be looking for, but he has ties to Strong from Florida and is an amazing recruiter.
Scott Loeffler, Virginia Tech -- Would want him more as a QB coach, but another guy with ties to Strong from their Florida days
RB -- Larry Porter, Texas -- Another site has said that he and Strong have a good relationship. And looking at the production of our RBs this year and his recruiting prowess I think he'd be ok to stay.
Stan Drayton, Ohio State -- A guy Strong has worked with previously. Probably doesn't want to leave Urban, but why not call and ask.
WR -- Billy Gonzales, Mississippi State -- Worked with Strong at Florida and is now with Mullen at MSU. Strong recruiter and coach.
Derek Dooley, Dallas Cowboys -- From the Saban tree, but is a very good assistant and ace recruiter for Saban's LSU squads
Matt Lubick, Oregon -- Has been one of the top WR coaches and recruiters from when he was at Duke before being hired by Oregon.
TE -- Derek Lewis, Florida -- Bring the kid back home. Strong recruiter and solid coach. Why wouldn't he want to leave that sinking ship?
Tim Brewster, Florida State -- Bring the man home part two. The guy is as good of a recruiter as we've ever had. Oh and as a TE coach he developed some guy named Gates while in San Diego. Talk about solving our issues at that positionâ€¦
OL -- Stacy Searles, Texas -- I don't think the guy has done a back job whatsoever. He's taken a position of nothing and turned it into something. Almost like turning water into wine.
Joe Wickline, Oklahoma State -- He's a guy that has been rumored for the job before and has never wanted to leave. Maybe his ties to Strong from their Florida days would make things different. Oh and he's a pretty darn good recruiter in East Texas.
Bob Bostad, Tampa Bay -- A name we all remember from the Harsin coaching search that year. He's a badass OL coach. And with the staff change in TB might be looking for work. Give that guy a call in a heartbeat. Make him run game coordinator and OL coach and pay him.
Adrian Klemm UCLA -- A strong OL coach and one of the top recruiters in the country. Coached at SMU before taking the UCLA job with Mora. Would be a great fit for that side of the ball. Total package guy.
DC: Vance Bedford, Louisville -- Might come with Strong due to familiarity to Strong and Texas. Also spent a year as DC at Okla State.
Ed Orgeron -- I'd prefer him to be a position coach and recruiting coordinator to be his titles, but if we need to make him some kind of co-DC with Strong as the actual DC that's fine too. He'd recruit like a madman and that's what I want.
Greg Mattison, Michigan -- Worked as co-DC with Strong at Florida and has ties to the NFL. Would be a strong DC to work with Strong from a scheme standpoint. Doubt that he's much of an ace recruiter though.
DJ Durkin, Florida -- Worked his way through the ranks starting with a position with Harbaugh at Stanford. Muschamp's right hand man and maybe his best recruiter.
Not really going to go over a lot of position coaches because a lot of that will depend on who the DC is and what he coaches. Bedford would obviously coach DBs. Mattison and Orgeron would be DL type guys. We could hire someone with a LB background. Some names I'd want on that side of the ball: Giles, Clint Hurdt, Sal Sunseri and Travaris Robinson.