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November 28, 2009

The Ticket City Locker Room



Q: (JTHorn) - Whether it happens sooner or later, Greg Davis will no longer be the OC at Texas. Personally, I think he's a good OC and has done an overall great job at Texas. Eventually Mack Brown or Will Muschamp will have to replace him.

I wanted to get your opinion on them and who YOU would think would be a good candidate.


A: I've actually always envisioned Davis remaining the offensive coordinator so that his reign of torment on Texas fans could live forever. In my mind, even after he passes away many, many years from now, he'll still remain the OC through some sort of futuristic computer program. On game days, his image will emerge from thin air like Yoda. Frankly, I'm looking forward to the day when technology will ensure that I can answer Greg Davis questions deep into eternity. It'll be fantastic.

First, what kind of search do we expect? Will Muschamp ask DeLoss Dodds (or Mack Brown) to open up the checkbook in an effort to get the best guy money can buy (ala Muschamp)? Does he stay in-house? Is there a candidate or two that he's worked with on previous staff's that might already be on his very short list of options? Second, what kind of offense will Muschamp prefer when/if he takes over the Longhorn program?

I think we can answer the second question first, since Muschamp confirmed a year ago when they first announced that the coach-in-waiting agreement had been made that he prefers more of a pro-style offense. My guess is that he would somewhat slowly merge his preferred set of offensive principles together with an offensive identity that's been forced around the spread game for the last decade.

The first set of questions is much tougher to answer because there really is very little insight into Muschamp's mindset about the matter, so let's examine the scenarios.

Option No. 1 - A hired gun

If we're talking about going out and getting one of the top 10 offensive minds in the country, let's take a look at who is currently coordinating some of the top offenses in college football. Among the names listed in the current Rivals.com Power Rankings for offensive coordinators in 2009 are Boise State's Bryan Harsin, Houston's Dana Holgorsen, Auburn's Gus Malzahn, Alabama's Jim McElwain, Oklahoma's Kevin Wilson, Stanford's David Shaw, Florida State's Jimbo Fisher, Wisconsin's Paul Chryst and Miami's Mark Whipple.

Of that group, McElwain (age: 47), Shaw (age: 35), Fisher (age: 44), Chyrst (age: 43) and Whipple (age: 52) are the guys that either run pro-style offenses or have quite a bit of a pro-style influence in their offenses. You can scratch Fisher's name off the list because his next job is going to come as a head coach. That could very well be the case for Chyrst as well, but McElwain and Whipple both seem like possible lifers as coordinators.

Perhaps the most interesting guy of that group is Shaw, who brings a shiny profile - he's a young African-American who was a four-year letterman at Stanford and he has NFL experience with the Eagles, Raiders, Ravens and Chargers. On top of that, he's another branch of the Bill Walsh coaching tree after having played for Dennis Green and worked with Andy Reid, Jon Gruden, Bill Billick and Cam Cameron.

Other respected names (to varying degrees) that might fit the profile Georgia's Mike Bobo (age: 35) and California's Frank Cignetti (age: 44).

Option No. 2 - A connection from the past

It certainly wouldn't shock anyone if Muschamp reaches out to someone that he's enjoyed a working relationship with because the offensive coordinator position will be the most important staff decision Muschamp makes and it's the side of the ball he'll least be involved with.

In researching some possible names to watch, I went back and looked at every staff Muschamp has worked on in the last decade.

Here are the names that I came up with as possible names to watch for future staff hires:

On the LSU staff with Muschamp: current Louisiana Tech head coach Derek Dooley, Georgia offensive line coach/running game coordinator Stacy Searels.

On the Miami Dolphins staff with Muschamp: current Alabama tight ends coach/special teams coordinator Bobby Williams, current Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, current Minnesota Gophers offensive line coach Tim Davis, current Florida International offensive coordinator James Coley, current St. Louis rams wide receivers coach Charlie Baggett and current Dallas Cowboys assistant director of pro scouting Judd Garrett

On the Auburn staff with Muschamp: current San Diego State offensive coordinator Al Borges, current Mississippi State running backs coach Greg Knox and current Tennessee running backs coach Eddie Gran.

Of that group of 11 names, I'd probably list Dooley, Searels and Coley as possible coordinator candidates based on their current backgrounds.

Option No. 3 - An Inside job

For the longest time I used to think that current offensive coordinator Greg Davis (age: 58) would exit stage right with Mack whenever the time came when a change at the top would take place, but now I'm not so sure about that. In my mind, Davis is a coaching lifer and he's never been any better at his craft than he's been in the last 5-6 years. Perhaps Mack will want to hang up his whistle in the near future, but I can't see Davis doing anything but calling plays for a pretty good while. If Muschamp is looking for a proven coordinator, I'm not sure there are many guys that would command as much on the open market as Davis - a proven winner, developer of quarterbacks and recruiter. On top of that, Muschamp has now worked with Davis for a couple of years and the level of trust and communication have really been high these last two seasons.

Of course, Major Applewhite has been a coordinator at this level and will likely be under strong consideration for the position as well, if Davis is out of consideration. His age, experience and familiarity with Muschamp after working with and against him for the last three seasons make him an obvious candidate.

Overall, if I had to guess, I think Muschamp will keep Davis on staff for a couple of seasons during the transition at the top. If that were the case, it would allow Applewhite to continue his development and possibly set up a hand-off when Davis is ready to step down (after the Garrett Gilbert era?). There have already been rumors associating Searels with the Longhorns, so it's not hard to see a situation where there could be run/passing game coordinators.

Q: (Ganngus)- 1) Vince's win against the Texans was reminiscent of his time at Texas and it got me thinking. Who would you take for one game? Vince or Colt? That said, who would your prefer to build a program around?

2) What do you think starting rotations will be for next year's team at wide receiver? Do you think Dan Buckner's move inside this season is a temporary thing out of necessity or do you think it is permanent? Also, do you think that the use of Malcolm Williams, up until last few weeks, has been a disappointment?

3) What is more enjoyable for you to watch, college or NFL?


A: Ok, let's just work our way down the list.

1. As much as I respect the hell out of McCoy for everything that he's done, it's impossible for me to pick a human if I'm given the option of an alien (VY).

2. There are going to be a lot of familiar names at receiver next year with Williams, James Kirkendoll, John Chiles, Marquise Goodwin and Buckner all set to return. Williams looks like a No. 1 receiver in the making and Kirkendoll has emerged as a solid second or third option. It's going to be up to the other guys to step their games up over the next nine months, so that they can out themselves in a position to be the sure-fire third starter. I'm not sure what to expect from Buckner in the long-term, but he's a wide receiver all the way in my mind at the moment, especially with Barrett Matthews developing, Greg Smith returning for his senior season and D.J. Grant getting healthy. Finally, Williams has 35 catches for 494 yards and two touchdowns this season, which represents a pretty strong year and with the way he's coming on the last couple of weeks, I wouldn't describe his emergence as anything but an absolute positive.

3. That's a tough question to answer because they are completely different, but I'd say that there's nothing that I enjoy more than a great weekend of college football.

Q: (In Stink) - Greg Smith came to Texas as a lean, pass-catching tight end. He's been through the knee injury and the weight gain to play offensive line, and now he's down to 250ish and settled in at tight end. What's the difference between this Greg Smith and the one who doesn't suffer the knee injury, gets up to 250ish through the strength program and remains at tight end the entire time? His pass-catching ability hasn't diminished, has it? To what degree have his speed and agility been affected by the injuries? The point I'm getting to is: after a year of being down to 250 and playing lots of snaps at tight end, running routes and catching a few passes, how much of a threat could Greg Smith present at the tight end position next year? How close could he be to the player he would now be had he come to Texas and simply developed to this point?

A: You ask a string of very interesting questions. You're exactly right about Smith in that he was a string-bean pass-catching tight end that had never really blocked a soul when he committed to the Longhorns back in 2006. Injuries really derailed his growth and development as a skilled athlete and after watching him take to blocking out of necessity, it's scary to think how good he might have become had he been injury-free. His ability to completely remake himself into a different type of player than he was ever envisioned to become (at least by me) is one of the more remarkable transitions I've seen over the years. That being said, I'm not sure that we're ever going to see him reemerge as a true pass-catching threat. After all of those injuries and then the multiple position tweaks/moves he'd gone through, I think he's settling in permanently as a good role player.

Q: (moogleOZAR) - Out of all of our commits, which prospect(s) do you feel is flying
under the radar that could really surprise the spectators once they get on the
field and who are you looking forward to seeing the most in action


A: It's hard to find an underrated prospect that's flying under the radar when 17 of the 20 commitments are rated as four-stars. If I had to pick a guy for the sake of picking a guy, I'll go with Houston St. Pius defensive lineman Greg Daniels. With his combination of size and athleticism, it's easy to see him developing into a real force in a few years along the defensive line. The only reason he's flying under the radar is his private-school profile. If he were playing at a big 5A school in Texas, he'd likely be ranked much higher. The guy I'm most excited to watch is Reggie Wilson.

Q: (Popeye_Jones) - What position do you project DeMarco Cobbs to play? Is your projection dependent upon whether D. White or the Mystery recruit end up signing with the Good Guys?

A: Cobbs will arrive with a chance to prove his merits on both sides of the ball. I've always viewed him as an athlete whose body projects better on the defensive side of the ball and if he just trusts Will Muschamp, I think he could develop into one hell of a linebacker. The best news is that his versatility makes him a candidate to succeed at a number of spots. No, I don't think his projection moving forward will be related in any way to the ingoing recruitments of any current uncommitted prospect.

Q: (Striker25) - Who do you think would be the better poker player: Mack Brown or Will Muschamp?

A: There are three rules that I live by: never get less than 12 hours sleep; never play cards with a guy who has the same first name as a city; and never get involved with a woman with a tattoo of a dagger on her body.

Both coaches share the same first name - William - which is short for about a bazillion towns and cities across the world. On top of that, there are actually Brown Counties in Indiana and Wisconsin.

That makes me think that Mack is probably not the guy to mess with.

Q: (6369700509) - Can you rank the 2010 recruiting class on the 'Mack Brown type' criteria? i.e. which kids rank the highest without any consideration for on the field performance?

A: This is going to sound like a cheeseball answer, but all of his classes seem to have the same type of feel these days. Almost everyone in the class has the same type of profile - usually the best player/captain of a winning program that was willing to jump on an offer as soon as it was extended. If had to choose two of my personal favorites, I'd go with Dominic Espinosa and Darius Terrell.

Q: (Type O) - Do you have an update on how rehab is going for D.J. Grant and Eryon Barnett? Assuming they are both healthy for 2010, what role or impact do you believe each will have?

A: Everything that I've heard in regards to Grant's rehabilitation is very positive, but he suffered a major knee injury and it's probably too early to guess how much he'll be able to contribute next season because it often takes a couple of years to fully recover. As for Barnett, he should be fully recovered by the fall and he'll likely participate in spring drills. If both players are close to 100-percent, they'll have a chance to be contributors next season.

Q: (iluvdahorns) - If someone told you prior to the 2009 season that Garrett Gilbert only had 26 pass attempts (only twice as many as John Chiles in 2008 when Colt was set to return for his SR year) and zero touchdowns on the season what would've been your initial reaction?

A.) Happy - Any pass attempt for a backup QB on a Mack Brown coached football team is a victory in itself
B.) Expected - Figured Gilbert would get some reps, but never really believed they would open up the play calling and allow him to run the full passing offense.
C.) Upset - Not doing enough to get Gilbert ready for 2010
D.) Other

Personally, I'm a little bit of each...


A: The answer is D. My first reaction would be that Colt McCoy must not have been injured for any length or time, which is the most important detail of this entire season. As it relates to Gilbert, I think you can make a case that the reality of the situation includes a little bit of A, B and C as well. The fact that Gilbert did receive as much time as he did, playing in nine games this season and did get to throw the ball around a little (mostly in the first month of the season) is a good thing. I don't know that he's received any more or less work that I would have projected before the season, but there's no question that more quality reps throughout the season would have served him well, but I'm not sure that 10 or 15 more throws would greatly improve his development for the future. Frankly, I'm pretty comfortable with his current progress and I expect big things for him after a set of bowl works, spring workouts, summer workouts and August two-a-days. He'll be fine.

Q: ($inthebank) - 1. How do you feel about the BCS selection process i.e. Pac-10 and Big 10 having tie-in's to the Rose Bowl and SEC having a tie in to the Sugar Bowl? Do you think they should just choose the best teams that are available?

2. If you have all the power, give your choices for the BCS Bowl games this year(with no conference ties), just best teams available. Also give reasoning why you choose those teams


A: Personally, I think the bowls should take whomever they want. Since when does "deserves" have anything to do with the realities of life?

However, if you're letting me make my own BCS line-up this season, here's what I would like to see.

BCS Title game: Texas vs. Florida

This match-up ranks as the second-most anticipated game of the decade and has a chance to determine the team of the decade.

Sugar Bowl: Alabama vs. TCU

The Horned Frogs gets a chance to prove that they belong and the Tide gets a chance to gain back some respect after last season's disaster.

Rose Bowl: Boise State vs. Cincinnati

This might be the only bowl that could host these two schools and still sell out. First team to 70 wins.

Fiesta Bowl: Miami vs. USC

I know Georgia Tech is going to win the ACC, but Miami kicked their rear-ends and played a tough, touch schedule. Give me a Jacorey Harris/Matt Barkley match-up with all of that speed on both teams to entertain us.

Orange Bowl: Oregon vs. Oklahoma

Just because it would be fun to watch Bob Stoop's streak of BCS losses extended to another season.

Q: (bman25) - Ketch, who would be on your 2009 All-Texan college football team? I'm talking about the best current college football players from the state of Texas, including those on OOS teams. I'd love to see a first-, second- and third-team lineup, but anything you provide will be much appreciated.

A: Great question. I love it when I'm forced to think. Here's my all-Texas first- and second-teams:

First team

QB: Colt McCoy (Jim Ned) - Texas
RB: Jacquizz Rodgers (Lamar Consolidated) - Oregon State
RB: LaMichael James (Texarkana Liberty-Eylau) - Oregon
WR: Jordan Shipley (Burnet) - Texas
WR: Dezmon Briscoe (Cedar Hill) - Kansas
TE: Jamie McCoy (Midland Lee) - Texas A&M
OT: Russell Okung (FB Hightower) - Oklahoma State
OT: Marshall Newhouse (Lake Highlands) - TCU
OG: Brandon Carter (Longview Spring Hill) - Texas Tech
OG: Chris Stewart (Klein) - Notre Dame
OC: Jake Kirkpatrick (Tyler Lee) - TCU

DE: Sergio Kindle (Woodrow Wilson) - Texas
DT: Cory Grant (Alief Elsik) - TCU
DT: Adrian Taylor (Mansfield) - Oklahoma
DE: Jerry Hughes (FB Austin) - TCU
LB: Roddrick Muckelroy (Hallsville) - Texas
LB: Sean Weatherspoon (Jasper) - Missouri
LB: Travis Lewis (San Antonio Lee) - Oklahoma
CB: Aaron Williams (Round Rock McNeil) - Texas
S: Earl Thomas (West-Orange Stark) - Texas
S: Jamar Wall (Plainview) - Texas Tech
CB: Perrish Cox (Waco University) - Oklahoma State

KR: Jeremy Kerley (Hutto) - TCU
P: Derek Epperson (Keller) - Baylor
K: Hunter Lawrence (Boerne) - Texas

Second team

QB: Andrew Luck (Houston Stratford) - Stanford
RB: Keith Toston (Angelton) - Oklahoma State
RB: Donald Buckram (Copperas Cove) - UTEP
WR: Denario Alexander (Marlin) - Missouri
WR: James Cleveland (Baytown Lee) - Houston
TE: Justin Akers (Derr Park) - Baylor
OT: Jason Fox (North Crowley) - Miami
OT: Adam Ulatoski (Southlake Carroll) - Texas
OG: Ryan Taylor (Denison) - UCLA
OG: Charlie Tanner (Austin Anderson) - Texas
OC: Chris Hall (Irving) - Texas

DE: Von Miller (DeSoto) - Texas A&M
DT: David Hunter (Waller) - Houston
DT: Kheeston Randall (Beaumont Kelly) - Texas
DE: Jeremy Beal (Carrolton Creekview) - Oklahoma
LB: Daryl Washington (Irving High) - TCU
LB: Michael Morgan (Dallas Skyline) - USC
LB: Patrick Lavine (Jersey Village) - Oklahoma State
CB: Curtis Brown (Gilmer) - Texas
S: Blake Gideon (Leander) - Texas
S: Alex Ibiloye (South Garland) - TCU
CB: Trevin Wade (RR Stony Point) - Arizona

KR: D.J. Monroe (Angleton) - Texas
P: Quinn Sharp (Manfield Summit) - Oklahoma State
K: Ross Evans (Burnet) - TCU


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