Fresh off being outcoached in yet another “winnable” game last Saturday against Western Kentucky, the remaining football fans are faced with the harsh reality that we could very likely only win two games this season. Two. Games. This is hardly good news but after the having seen the first three games this season, we can no longer bury our head in the sand. To go along with the high likelihood of winning only one more game this season is the even greater likelihood that we will be in the market for a new Head Coach and Staff for 2013. So with that in mind, I ask you:
How do we balance?
How do we balance what, you ask? The season win total with player development? Coaching and coordinating with W-L Record?
And the answer is: None of the above.
The question is: How do we balance what we want with what we need with respect to a possible future coaching search? When pursuing and choosing a person to lead our program, how do we balance their moral and/or professional reputation, record as a Head Coach, or success as a coordinator as factors for their hiring? Should we consider the short term solution of “program resurrector” or only look long-term? Of course, these questions only matter if we are sans Joker Phillips heading into the 2013 season.
Let me explain.
Joker was the “sexy” hire three years but had never been a Head Coach, yet was named the Coach in Waiting to Rich Brooks. Most were “ok” with it because he looked like a Head Coach. He seemed confident in his plan and that he knew what direction the program was going and how best to get it there. To put it another way, nothing about Joker screamed “NO! Don’t Hire Him!!” He was a quiet, unassuming alum with a squeaky clean name and rep.
But as we stand on the precipice of SEC play, with a trip to Gainesville coming up this Saturday, hoping and praying that we don’t get whitewashed by them again, we the fans are looking ahead to our next Head Coach, again, should we be sans Joker in 2013.
So as a fan base, we need to ask ourselves this question: Is winning more important than building a foundation for success? Should we sacrifice the stability of the program to bring in a proven winner on the field but loser and/or rival coach off it? Should we consider a rival coach like Charlie Strong people seem to feel is a mirror image of Joker but with more success as a Head Coach? Steve Spurrier though he ran the score up on Kentucky every game they played then would tear into how poorly we were coached or how we used our best players; ala Randall Cobb? Willie Taggert because “Red is the new Blue.” These are some questions we will have to deal with because let’s face it, UK doesn’t have the luxury to pick any coach we want to come lead this football program back to at least respectability.
To put it more bluntly, we, as fans, need to be working through what character/success combination we will tolerate to throw our “support” (and yes “support” was sarcasm) behind.