Thursday, December 20, 2007
Coach Watch Day 54: Fran and stuff
Yesterday was Franchione day, which followed Coker day. It appears that there is no new news today.
I was surprised by the Franchione story. Like many, I am not entirely sure how this and the Coker story came to light. The Dallas Morning News never actually says Franchione interviewed or when the contact/discussion takes place. I said a long time ago that Fran was trying to contact SMU. The Dallas Morning News only says that ESPN says Coker interviewed and has no other information, including when such an interview took place. I think logic would tell you that the Coker interview took place recently.
Despite being a former frog and former aggie, I don’t have near the animosity towards Fran that I do Coker, though I vaguely recall cursing his name on a cold rainy night at Ford Stadium in November 2000. Coker’s Miami team was worse when he left it, though I realize it couldn’t have gotten any better. They trended downward every year and there is no evidence he was capable of disciplining his players. He led a team that ended up being an embarrassment on and off the field. Fran, on the other hand, put together great staffs at New Mexico and TCU. He built up New Mexico and TCU; people forget he won 10 games at Alabama and I am not that turned off by his coaching performance at A&M. The next paragraph will annoy some aggies (Sorry, aggie pals).
A&M is a school with high expectations, but people forget that A&M has been trending downwards since 1998, which coincides with the arrival of Mack Brown. R.C. Slocum’s last season was a disappointing no bowl 6-6 season in 2002. A&M was solidly behind OU and Texas in the Big XII South; lost to Tech two years in a row, the last years of RC in conference were 7-1, 5-3, 5-3, 4-4, 3-5. While Fran had two sub .500 years at A&M, where is A&M today? Arguably a little better, but A&M is not worse off today than it was under Slocum. .500 in conference, two consecutive victories over Texas and still can’t beat Texas Tech (but that is a problem they have had for over 10 years). I know that is faint praise: “Fran didn’t make them worse,” but I think it is accurate.
The VIP newsletter doesn’t concern me. It is the kind of thing nobody cares about when you are 8-4, but when you are not living up to expectations, it is a real issue.
I still think Fran can recruit and put together a staff. Fran, of all the mentioned candidates, in my opinion, is in the best position, to do good things at SMU.
A couple of follow up notes on my most recent posts. Apparently, Coker only had three players die while he was head coach: two car accidents and a shooting death, though at least one of the car accidents was alcohol related, there was another accidental shooting of a player by another player and an indicted felon was signed to a letter of intent (albeit the trumped up charges related to an incident at another school’s recruiting trip). The “bludgeoning” took place while Butch Davis was head coach and Coker was offensive coordinator.
Also, I forgot to mention something else about recruiting. It takes more than a head coach to recruit. It takes an entire staff. You can’t reasonably hire a coach, especially a coach like Coker who has been out of football, and expect him to have an entire staff immediately and ready to recruit. That is one thing that the other two available jobs have over SMU in this process-both are bowl teams with staffs in place where some assistant coaches hope/expect to be retained. At SMU, the entire staff was fired; they are gone.
I am working on a "What I would do if I were Orsini" post. I am sure everyone is waiting with baited breath. I halfway expect SMU to hire a coach before I am finished.