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  1. Sorry for the long rant here, but I need to get a few things off my chest regarding Mora and Strong. I'm not sure I'm really understanding the rationality of what seems to be many of our fans response to names that keep popping up in this search. And I'm not talking just HornSports here, but on all the UT sites. There seems to be an outright obsession with "tier 1" guys like Malzahn or Jimbo Fisher (sidestepping Saban talk altogether). What is it about Malzahn and Fisher that CONVINCE (some) folks that they are SO much better than Charlie Strong or Jim Mora, Jr.? Is it simply the fact that their teams are in the national championship game this year, no matter how they got there? That may seem like a simple question, but it's an earnest one. Gus Malzahn has been a major college football coach for one year. He got historically lucky in two games this year. Historically lucky. He beat Washington State by 7 points at home. He beat Mississippi State by 4 at home. He lost to LSU by 14 points, who was a 3 loss team this year. Not trying to diminish his accomplishments nor his ability to coach at Texas (perhaps he'd be great), but what makes him SO much better than Strong or Mora? And what about Jimbo? He seems to have it rolling at FSU. His team has dominated this year. But even he lost four games in the ACC in Year 1 (lost to OU by 30, lost to NC State, lost to UNC, lost to Virginia Tech), 4 games in the ACC in Year 2 (lost by 10 to OU, lost to Clemson, lost to Wake Forest, lost to UVA), 2 games in the ACC in Year 3 (lost to NC State, lost to Florida), and has them undefeated in Year 4. That's great, and perhaps he'd be a great coach at Texas, albeit with the very same lack of connections to Texas recruiting that seemingly "plague" Mora or Strong. Why do those lack of connections plague Mora and Strong, but not Fisher? They shouldn't. We are the University of Texas, and we can recruit Texas with all four of these guys. And we can recruit outside of Texas. Mack was just strange in my view with his near refusal to look outside Texas. It was a neat strategy at first, but it got hokey, and there's no reason for it anymore. Austin and UT are a lethal combination and . . . newsflash . . . both are VERY prominent nationally as city on the rise and school (coming from a proud grad that has lived outside Texas for the last 15 years). And our recruiting should match that expanded geographic footprint. And last regarding Fisher, it clearly took him some time to get FSU to where they are today, which should be a credit to him. But Mora and Strong are doing essentially the same thing in their current trajectory, and they are doing it at places I would consider to present MUCH more challenging circumstances for sustained success. Now let's shift our attention Mora and Strong and see what they've done by comparison: Mora coaches at UCLA. UCLA. That job pays less than the Kansas job and about the same as the UVA and Purdue jobs. He got there in 2012 after six consecutive years of ineptitude under Karl Dorrell and Rick Neuheisel. I mean, they were awful, and they were awful during a time when some trendy teams were rising in the Pac 12 - i.e., Stanford and Oregon. Along with SC's historic dominance in LA over UCLA, Mora really came into a bad situation. And their fan base is really much weaker historically than people know. In Neuheisel's last year they averaged 54,000 fans per home game, and they are one of like 5 D1 schools that don't even have a stadium on (or anywhere near) campus. They play miles away at the Rose Bowl, and the place was barely half full when Mora arrived. Half-full. Even in my Mackovic days we were at 80%+ on the bad days. In Year 1 Mora went 9-4, won the South Division of the Pac 12 and lost his bowl game. In Year 2 he went 10-3 and just dominated Virginia Tech in their bowl with a very entertaining style of play on both sides of the ball. UCLA is likely to end up ranked in the top 12 in the country this year. He's 52 (the perfect age for this gig), has a national profile, and is intense as hell. Watch his interviews on YouTube. Watch him yell at the Oregon fans that were booing an injured UCLA player. Watch how the players respond to him. Watch the way his team plays. He has a legit NFL background and clearly knows x's and o's (a consensus trait we are all looking for in our new coach). Look at the star wattage on that UCLA team - look no further than Myles Jack - a 3 star player out of UW's backyard in Washington. That guy is a beast - on freaking offense AND defense (imagine Mack doing something like that!). I'm tired of watching 4 and 5 star guys underperform. I'm frankly even tired of reading about how guys are 4 or 5 star players in high school, sometimes in large part BECAUSE they commit to Texas. The circularity can be maddening. Steve Edmond was the #1 ranked player in Texas in 2011. Steve Edmond. Fine young man. Got better this year as the season went on. But I guarantee you there are 25+ linebackers from the state of Texas in 2011 who are substantially better right now than Steve Edmond in college football, and I'm not even going to bother looking for them, and I don't care what their star rating was in high school. And I want those guys on OUR team. And I want a coach that understands football, and does not obsess over Internet star ratings. I'm not any more certain that Mora is that guy than the next UT fan, but how is Mora Jr SO much worse than Malzahn or Fisher? The guy's clearly a great coach, and has in two years turned a very, very bad situation at UCLA into a top 12 program nationally. And what about Strong? Another clearly fantastic candidate for this job. Strong did not follow Petrino at Louisville. He followed Steve Kragthorpe at Louisville, who was just bad. They were 6-6, 5-7 and 4-8 in Kragthorpe's 3 seasons at Louisville. Then comes Charlie Strong to Louisville, who as far as I know won two national championships at Florida as a DC, which is one better than Jimbo Fisher did at LSU. Fisher seems to get a lot of credit for that title (for good reason), but where's the love for Charlie Strong from UT fans for his role in the NCs at Florida? Talk to Florida fans. They certainly have love for Charlie Strong's role in those NCs. And they almost universally want him back right now as their head coach. Read anything Urban Meyer has ever said about Charlie Strong and his role in those NCs. And then look at what he's done at Louisville. In four years he's taken that 4-8 team and has gone 7-6, 7-6, 11-2, and 12-1. He's won 23 games in two years. 23 games. Last year he slaughtered a very strong and highly favored Florida team in the Sugar Bowl. And this year they dominated Miami in their bowl game. AND this year Louisville gave up 80.7 yards per game rushing (1st in the nation), 170.8 yards passing (6th in the nation), and had the number one ranked total defense in the country - something reasonable Texas fans have coveted for years. That's x's and o's in droves. And let's dismiss the conference superiority talk. The Big 12 is down, and UT would not have held any teams to those numbers this year, no matter who we played, and we all know it. All the while, Louisville also had the 17th best passing offense in the country behind a QB Strong recruited that is the consensus #1 pick in the NFL draft. And for those obsessed with star rankings, Bridgewater was a 2011 grad out of Miami Northwestern who was considered the 113th best player in the country that year (6th best QB). We took David Ash that year, who was a 3 or 4 star ranked player that same year (depending on the service you read) and ranked by some as the best QB in Texas that year. David Ash is a fine player, and in high school he was in the same vicinity as Bridgewater so the recruiting websites say. Now? They aren't in the same stratosphere, and never will be. And that's because we either got it wrong up front with our evaluation or Ash has not been developed as well as Bridgewater, most likely both - and that's not to bash Ash, he's a great kid and has played his best for us. But that double-edged sword of a problem seems to have happened across the board for the last 4 years and we all know it. Some folks are saying Strong is a "weak" recruiter - well he's got 5 guys on this year's team that are supposed top 200 NFL Draft talents. With our bevy of 4 and 5 star recruits, on that same list from CBSSports.com, we have two (Jeffcoat at 72 and Mike Davis at 102 (which, btw, is ludicrous)). College football recruiting is as meaningful as college academic rankings - both are superficial and focus on "inputs" rather than "outputs". In both sports and academics, we should be less focused on what we have coming in and instead focus our attention on what we've got going out. Because that tells us all we need to know about how good of a job our coaches (and professors) are doing. But it's harder to quantify, so we don't really do it. But that's what matters. And in football, it shouldn't be limited to the NFL Draft, I concede that, but it should be focused on which players have "beat" expectations and gotten better than we thought they were going to be when they got here, no matter their star rating. And how many of our guys are actually better than you thought they would be when they got here in the past 4 years, regardless of whether they are going to the NFL? I'm going with just a handful at most. So... to my long-winded point: Malzahn and Fisher are fine candidates for the Texas job (if they are in fact candidates, I have no idea). But so are Jim Mora Jr. and Charlie Strong. And I'm glad we have an AD in Steve Patterson who is able to identify the obviously best college football coaching candidates while simultaneously understanding that there are more than 2 or 3 human beings that know how to coach football, and that no they do not have to have won a Super Bowl or National Championship to be a candidate. If that is your criteria, then our easiest path forward would have been to keep the coach we already had, which would have obviously been the wrong move at this time (despite how much respect and admiration I have for what Mack did for our great University). More to the point, Malzahn is great, but he is simply not leaps and bounds better than Strong or Mora. If he is, is it because he turned his team around in 1 year? It's the time frame? Even though he had the assistance of historic luck twice with the Georgia and Alabama games, along with a 7 point home win over Washington State, a 4 point win over Mississippi State, and a 14 point loss to LSU? Come on, that season could have EASILY involved 3-4 losses, and the margin between where he is now and that 3-4 loss season was razor thin to a historic degree. Again, I'm not trying to diminish Malzahn's success this year, and we of all people know that luck is important to any championship in college football - see 2005 Kansas game -- but let's be honest here: the gap between Malzahn's success at Auburn and the success Mora and Strong have had is simply not that big to justify how many Texas fans are just plain petrified of Mora and Strong. I'd say the gap with Fisher is a bit wider than Malzahn's to be fair to Fisher, but I still don't see it as material vis a vis Mora and Strong (and probably a few others) to justify just how divisive much of the reaction has been - again not picking on anyone here at HornSports, just my general sense of the fan reaction to these names. The bottom line is all four of these guys can coach, all four have demonstrated that in different and impressive ways, and all four of them will have a great chance of success at UT. And I'm glad Patterson is considering all of them...

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