Seeing Mack Brown leave Texas this weekend promises to cause shock waves throughout college football, some are bound to even reach Lexington.The Texas job is one that will appeal to many coaches for a variety of reasons. It’s a traditional power. There is a very strong in state talent base for recruiting. The state of Texas loves football perhaps more than any other. And it can’t hurt that the Longhorns can afford to pay their new coach with dumptrucks full of money. It may be the one job in America where no coach is truly off-limits during the search, even Nick Saban.
With that being said, if UT hires a college head coach, there coaching carousel may nearly implode from all of the movement. There is interest in some NFL candidates, but the Longhorns would be better off hiring a proven college coach and I think they will. The question becomes who? Urban Meyer? Saban? Mike Gundy or Les Miles? All of those are possibilities but maybe not likely. It’s when you start looking at the second tier of coaches that Texas could hire that you start to see where it could affect UK. Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher is the top prize of that second group, followed by a few others thought to be up-and-comers, familiar faces such as James Franklin and Charlie Strong.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out how Franklin or Strong moving on would shake things up at their respective schools. Losing Franklin would decimate Vanderbilt. Strong leaving Louisville would leave the Cards in a precarious position headed into the ACC. They would have to make the perfect hire to maintain momentum. Fisher leaving FSU would present a brand new prestigious opening that either of the previous two would likely consider. It may also leave a power vacuum at the top of the ACC that might benefit a team like Louisville should they keep their coach.
The other ripples that we may see would include assistant coaches and recruits. When a head coach moves from school to school, he rarely takes his entire staff along. Some are left behind for various reasons and need to be replaced with coaches from elsewhere, who then in turn need to be replaced as well. It’s a hectic time of year. There aren’t many coaches on the Kentucky staff I can imagine leaving for another job this year. Neal Brown is reportedly being considered for the Arkansas State HC job but that’s doubtful to happen. And Vince Marrow isn’t going anywhere folks. There are a couple of guys I could see looking around but I’m not sure either would be in great demand.
The real difference that Kentucky fans could see is in the recruiting game. With at least four spots open the staff will be well aware of recruits who may no longer be solid in their previous commitments. Recruits get uneasy when a head coach leaves or the assistant that they grew close to moves to a school where they don’t have an offer. It’s already started. Surely UK would contact Reggie Bonnafon and De’Eric Culver should Strong leave. They are already trying to flip Vanderbilt commit Lloyd Tubman. Fisher departing FSU could cause a feeding frenzy, with the prize being LB Delvin Purifoy, a top player who Kentucky has pursued heavily.
All of this doesn’t even mention players who decide to transfer when they don’t fit a new staff’s scheme. Texas will have their share. You have to think that if Nebraska let’s Bo Pelini go that Marrow would be a factor in several decisions. Once again if Fisher left the Seminoles, there’s a chance some players might want to reunite with Coach Stoops and Coach Eliot. The best part of all this is that the possibilities are truly endless. The chaos only benefits teams like Kentucky, who can offer stability and already have a great class coming in. The coaches can sell the future and playing time while prospects know they will have at least three years under these coaches. So embrace the chaos folks, it’s going to be a wild ride.