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The Countdown

A bottom-to-top assessment of the F.B.S. landscape heading into the 2012 season.

Need to Know

Heads Will Roll in Austin

While heads will roll in Austin following a disastrous 5-7 finish, we can be sure of one thing: it won’t be Mack Brown’s head on the chopping block. Not yet, at least. If the Longhorns fail to turn things around in 2011, however, one can be sure that the calls for Will Muschamp — calls already gaining in volume — will reach a full-throated roar. To ensure that Texas does return to the nation’s elite, Brown will be forced to make some very difficult choices. It’s entirely unlike Brown to throw any of his assistants — including those dating back to before Texas — under the bus, but after scuffling through such a poor season,  he might not have a choice.

Early rumors are that Greg Davis will not return as offensive coordinator, though the university has stated that Brown is still evaluating his options:

No decision has been made regarding the fate of Texas coordinator Greg Davis, a Texas program source told The Dallas Morning News Thursday. The source told the Morning News that head coach Mack Brown continues his postseason evaluation regarding the 5-7 disapointment of a season. And, the source emphasized, no calls have been made about who goes, including Davis, Brown’s offensive coordinator at Texas since his arrival in 1998.

The article makes another fine point: these rumors are nothing new. Davis was supposedly on the outs in 2003 — though U.T. scored a then-school record 533 points that fall — but survived, eventually retooling the offense to better fit Vince Young’s immense skill set over the 2004-5 seasons.

I would be shocked if Davis escaped this time. It’s simply too hard to fathom Brown not making at least one change on his offensive staff; it would seem that Davis, whose offense sputtered throughout the fall, could be replaced both as a gesture on Brown’s behalf — that he is willing to change — and a way to beef up U.T.’s paltry offensive attack.

If Davis does go, will he be the only assistant replaced? It doesn’t seem likely. There’s always Mac McWhorter, of course: the U.T. offensive line coach needs to be held accountable for the play of a talented front five that never embraced the mentality needed to run the ball with authority.

All U.T.’s problems began up front in 2010; in a sense, it might be more vital for Brown to hire a new offensive line coach than a new offensive coordinator. Let’s not go that far: it would be best for Brown and Texas to make a fresh start at both spots, perhaps even making a complete overhaul of the entire offensive staff.

That’s a stretch. Bobby Kennedy does a fine job coaching the U.T. receivers. Major Applewhite might very well be U.T.’s next offensive coordinator — even if he’s not, Applewhite is very useful both as a position coach and in living rooms across the state. Still, Texas needs to think big.

Like Dana Holgorsen big, perhaps? That would be one enormous move for Brown: imagine a coaching staff with Holgorsen directing the offense and Muschamp the defense? That’s some scary stuff — perhaps that pair could lift U.T. to bowl play. That’s me trying too hard.

But my points stands. It’s not necessarily that heads will roll in Austin; we knew the end was near for several assistants once a losing season was guaranteed. The biggest move, the most important move, is how Brown decides to rebuild his offensive staff. This will be his final staff, by all accounts. He needs to make it count.

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Comments

  1. Burnt Orange says:

    The answer(on offense)is Bob Bostad – Offensive Line Coach and Run Game Coordinator at Wisconsin. As for Muschamp, Kansas State threw the ball a grand total of four times and still ran the ball over 5 yards a carry, so he needs to get his guys to stop pouting and step it up. Then there is special teams – Texas desperately needs to find someone with the communication skills needed to explain to the self absorbed return men that you do not ever,under any freaking circumstances,field a punt inside your ten yard line. I would also like to see the guy in charge of the game day presentation at the stadium replaced. You can’t even hear the band play more than a few times a half due to the endless series of commercials on the Jumbotron. Finally, the Athletic Director who made the decision to rename the field and stadium for a coach and tort lawyer instead of the 5000 Texans who gave their lives in World War One needs to retire.

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