Monday, November 26, 2007

Coach Watch Day 30

We may be limited to evening updates for the time being. Unfortunately, I may not be bringing you the most up to the minute news.

I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving. In my house, there are two full Thanksgivings: one on Thursday and one on Saturday. So, I am done with Turkey for a while, thank you.

With the final triple overtime defeat at the hands of Memphis, we now begin a coaching search in earnest. Before we go there, a few thoughts on the Memphis game. I spent a lot of time in the past defending arguably questionable decisions by Bennett, but I won’t do so here.

I hate coaches calling time out right before the kick. I think the rule is stupid. I don’t think its execution is particularly clever. I know it is in vogue these days, but I especially don’t like it at the end of the Memphis game. To put it mildly, the Memphis kicker was shaky all day. There was a very good chance he was going to miss a game-tying kick. I wouldn’t, in that situation, give a kicker what amounts to a practice kick in game conditions. I might have used that timeout earlier to let the kicker think about his kick a little longer. I might have saved the timeout because I was getting the ball back with a few seconds left; there was a remote chance SMU could have gotten into position for a winning fieldgoal.

I also don’t like the decision to go for it on fourth down in triple overtime when SMU had the ball first. Regardless of what happens, Memphis was getting the ball-SMU’s defense was getting on the field. Memphis was going to try and score a touchdown, regardless. Now, if Memphis had scored a fieldgoal first, I can start to understand the decision. The SMU defense was depleted and had a difficult time getting stops. I just don’t get the gamble in that situation.

It is still very quiet on the head coaching front. It has been 11 days since Orsini’s last “blog entry.” We still have not heard anything solid about any candidate being contacted or interviewed. I suppose a well-run search has few leaks, but this is bordering on the absurd.

With technically one week left in the season, the following jobs are now open:
Colorado State
Georgia Tech
Northern Illinois
Ole Miss
Southern Mississippi
Texas A&M
Washington State

This may seem like a lot, but it is still below average for a given year and more than 10 than last year.

Should the SMU fans be getting nervous now that the first opening has already been filled (Texas A&M) while the first job to open (SMU) has yet to publicly interview anybody? The Texas A&M search lasted around 48 hours, while the SMU search is on Day 30. Add to that, another job that opened this weekend (Nebraska), will interview its second candidate this week.

As for Mike Sherman, I could be wrong, but it sure sounds like a Bill Callahan kind of hire to me. “We need a pro-style offense.” Hire a former NFL head coach who has some college experience a decade ago as an assistant. Thoroughly unimpressed. But I was just rolling my eyes at the names of other identified “candidates,” so whatcha gonna do?

I suppose I ought to discuss Fran one more time. I am no more or less interested in Dennis Franchionne today than I was before A&M beat Texas and he promptly quit/resigned/was fired. That is to say I am pretty interested, though I am not completely sold. I still think Fran can coach. The SMU job probably fits what he would be looking for more so than other jobs like Ole Miss (just my opinion).

Fran actually becomes less desirable to me the longer he sits on the shelf. If I was thinking of hiring him, I would do it this week, while he still has his foot in the door with recruits, before other coaches, now that their season is over, can turn their attention to them. In other words, SMU shouldn’t wait another three weeks and decide Fran may be a good fit.

I will have more thoughts on Fran as soon as we get some indication that he might actually be a candidate.

One thing I am tired of is hearing every radio host ponder what is next for Fran and assume both that SMU would love to have him and he would have no interest. Then, reading the SMU message board that some people are dead set against Fran.

One name I have never discussed is Houston Nutt, who I have little interest in, primarily because I think he mishandled things so badly at Arkansas.

It may not matter. I still say there is some coach out there that has not been mentioned for the SMU job. I am not sure who it is, but as I have said before, I think it is a coach with a head coaching job that isn’t about to be shown the door.

I sure wish I could tell you who the next coach is going to be. I sure wish Orsini would tell us.


Anonymous said...

I think Fran would be great at Northern Illinois. It is a long way from Texas (remember all the comments in business about what a consultant is), he started his career in Kansas so he knows the area, and his poor performance will not be known in detail.

Jeff Bower could be a good hire, but I am afraid that the last coach we got from Southern Miss may haunt him. (Bobby Collins)

Anonymous said...

What are the chances SMU could land Jimmy Johnson, and do you think he can still coach in college?

Anonymous said...

I am a Coach Fran fan from his New Mexico days. I think he would be a great fit for SMU, however, he is very fickle with his jobs. He will get you to 7 or 8 wins per year and then bolt for a higher profile school. SMU will just be a stepping stone for him. As long as the feeling is mutual I think he could really turn SMU football around. Best of luck..