Monday, December 31, 2007
Nearing the end if only because of the inevitability of it all-Coach Watch Day 64
Sorry for the lack of posting this last week. I kind of missed most of the Junes Jones development or lack thereof. Well, I am not really sorry. I am just about sick of waiting. I can either post vitriolic rant or play with my kids. I choose kids.
SMU will have a coach soon. SMU will not be coachless as it enters the next contact period with recruits just as it will not be coachless as it enters Spring practice or next season. That means SMU will have a new coach at the end of this week or perhaps next week.
The next full contact period begins January 13th. I refuse to entertain for a moment the idea that a coach won’t be hired by that date. You could also note that recruits can visits the weekends of January 4th and January 13th, but the idea that a coach can get be hired one day and turn around and host recruits the next day borders on the absurd. Again, I will point out that aside from there not being a head coach, there is NO COACHING STAFF. If SMU goes in any direction other than a coach that is currently a head coach, putting together a staff will take time. That time and energy will also take away from the time and energy that needs to be devoted to recruiting.
Of course, the whole notion that it is OK that SMU doesn’t have a head coach because recruiting is in a “dead period” is ridiculous. While it is true that during a dead period, no one associated with SMU may contact or evaluate prospects on or off campus, coaches may still write or call prospects.
If SMU essentially has no recruiting class in 2008, it will affect SMU for years. Those players will, in effect, never exist and never be replaced on the roster. SMU has historically come close to offering the limit of 25 scholarships every year through graduation and attrition anyway. If there is an “empty” class, even though only half of those athletes might pan out, those athletes won’t redshirt, they won’t play, they won’t make the two-deep roster. It will harm depth. It will require more athletes to burn redshirts in the future.
A few thoughts on June Jones and Jon Tenuta, since their names came up in the last week.
June Jones is the head coach of Hawaii and an offensive genius. I would hire June Jones any day of the week and twice on Sundays. I would wait until January 3rd to hire June Jones; he is worth the wait. I would not wait until January 3rd to talk to June Jones. All signs say June Jones isn’t coming to SMU and most pundits say that if he did, he would be nuts. Most likely, SMU is the only school dumb enough to chase June Jones and he intends to use Orsini to get himself a raise and new carpet for his office.
In the Dallas Morning News on November 13, 2003; June Jones said the following regarding Phil Bennett:
"I think Phil is on an island sometimes," Jones said. "He's going through some unfair requirements over there. He's not on the same playing field as the rest of us."
Now, does that lead you to believe that Jones would even consider coming to SMU four years later, when little more than the name on the AD's door has changed? That being said, if June Jones did take the job, it would go a long way towards restoring some credibility to SMU because he obviously would not come unless he thought he could win.
As for Jon Tenuta, his name has unfairly become a punchline for me. The cruelest thing you can say about Tenuta is “Jon Tenuta is Phil Bennett without the personality.” That isn’t really fair, because Tenuta is a heck of a defensive coordinator and has a better resume than Phil ever did as defensive coordinator. However, Tenuta has wanted a head coaching job for years, rarely even gotten an interview. Many think he lacks the personality to be a head coach.
There is a widespread rumor that he had a special deal at Georgia Tech where he did not have to recruit. Seriously. Even if it isn’t true, the mere fact that it is out there gives me pause. He is a college football coach. College football coaches recruit. It is part of the job. I can’t imagine any self-respecting coach allowing such a rumor to even get out there.
Tenuta will not sell tickets. Tenuta will not sell SMU. Not to alumni. Not to Dallas. Not to recruits. End of story.
My new fear is that SMU will hire someone like Tenuta and use his current role as interim head coach as an excuse for the ridiculous delay. "Hey, he was the interim head coach, we couldn't hire him a month ago." Or, "He was coaching the quarterbacks for the [insert NFL team here], we couldn't hire him." If they tried that, it would be a lie. A lie. An untruth. A falsehood. Coaches have left their current teams; coaches have been announced as leaving and stayed to coach the bowl game or the rest of the NFL season.