On coaches …

OK, first of all, this image on The Advocate”s (the Baton Rouge daily, not the national gay newspaper) site this morning makes me want to puke:

Tuberville as LSU coach? God I hope those rumors aren”t true. Skip, if you”re reading this – don”t do it. The most rabid LSU fan I know has already said if we hire Tuberville, he”ll stop going to games. And I”m with him there. Tuberville is a slimy little jerk who doesn”t belong at LSU.

That said, there”s the serious business of picking a coach. Early talk, of course, has been about Butch Davis (former Miami Hurricane and [fired] Cleveland Browns coach); Kirk Ferentz of Iowa and Bobby Petrino of Louisville.

And The Wisdom on these guys …

Butch Davis: Fine job at Miami, I suppose. Bad job in Cleveland, and he”s admitted to being so delicate that he needs a year off to get his health back. No thanks. Go take some vitamins or something, Butch.

Kirk Ferentz: I can”t use my “The Big 10 sucks” logic anymore, since that”s where Nick came from, as a negative on Ferentz. And he”s done more with Iowa (three bad years, then 11-2 and 10-3 [going in to the Cap 1 Bowl]) than Saban did with Michigan State (his best year was his last, at 10-2. Otherwise he had about a .500 record). But Ferentz is an offensive guy, and LSU showed how defense wins titles last year.

Bobby Petrino: He could be a real talent, but I just don”t think he”s proven himself yet. Two years at Louisville when the program was already on solid footing? And he”s all about the big-play offense, which again isn”t our style. He”s got NFL and SEC experience, but he”s jumped around even more than Saban. Since 1989, he”s spent three years at Idaho, two years at Arizona State, one year at Nevada, three years at Utah State, one year at Louisville, two years at Jacksonville (NFL), one year at Auburn and just finished his second year back at Louisville. If he”s successful at LSU, do you think he”s sticking around?

And then there are the active NFL coaches being talked about (but not talked to until Jan. 2) …

Gregg Williams: Defensive coordinator for the Washington Redskins, former head coach of the Buffalo Bills. He”s apparently a defensive genius, hand-picked by Joe Gibbs to rebuild the mess Steve Spurrier created. He”s been in the NFL for about 15 years, and spent 11 years with the Oilers/Titans. No real college experience to speak of, so I”d have to question whether he”d want to leave the NFL and how effective a recruiter he”d be.

Mike Nolan: Defensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens. Similar story as Williams; longtime NFL guy, great defensive mind. He coached linebackers for one year at LSU back in the 1980s. But the official Ravens site even mentions him as a soon-to-be NFL head coach, so why would he get off that track, and if he did, how long before he”d jump back?

Mike Trgovac: Yet another NFL defensive coordinator (Carolina Panthers). He”s been in the NFL for 10 years and spent the 11 years before that coaching college defense. I”m not overly impressed with him.

And those, ladies and gentlemen, are the leading candidates – at least in public – to be the next coach of LSU.

Kind of depressing. Of those guys, I think I”d make a run at Ferentz.

But let me throw another name out there; one you LSU fans have heard before …

Mack Brown

Yes, Mack Brown, head coach of Texas. Loyal Tiger fans will remember the flirtations LSU has had with Mack over the years. We came close to hiring Mack when he was at Tulane and Bill Arnsparger left LSU in 1986. We thought briefly about it when Mack was at North Carolina and we fired Mike Archer in 1990. We thought more seriously about Mack when we fired Curley Hallman in 1994 (Mack had gone 7-4, 9-4, 10-3 and 8-4 at UNC during our Curley years), and dreamed of Mack – who went to Texas in 1998 – when we fired Gerry DiNardo in 1999.

Oh, how things might have been different for LSU in the 1990s if we”d had hired Mack instead of Archer.

Mack Brown won at North Carolina. He took a horrible team (they were 1-10 in each of his first two years), and absolutely turned them around. He posted three 10-win seasons in his last five years at UNC. And it”s worth noting that he stayed at UNC for a full 10 years …

Since moving to Texas in 1998, Mack has won at least 9 games every year. He”s won 10+ games each of the past four years.

His teams have fierce defenses and powerful offenses. They win in the smashmouth Big 12.

In short, Mack”s a winner. He plays our brand of football, he”s loyal and he”s driven.

But why would he leave Texas?

Because he”s not appreciated. See, despite compiling a 69-19 record over the past 7 years, Mack has won zero Big 12 titles (and therefore zero national championships) and will appear in his first BCS bowl this year – and that was the result of poll rigging.

This year Oklahoma will be playing for the national championship for the third time in 7 years, and Nebraska made it to the big game in 2001. And with Bobby Stoops building a new dynasty at Oklahoma, things aren”t going to get any easier for Mack in Austin.

It”s not that Mack should shy away from a challenge, but a coach can only take so much abuse for winning 9+ games every year (the site firemackbrown.com was just recently taken down after its owner acknowledged that Mack shouldn”t actually be fired). He”s a loyal guy (10 years at UNC, 7 so far at Texas), and should expect some loyalty in return.

So I hope Skip gives Mack”s agent a call, apologizes for passing him up for our last four openings, let”s him know about all the cool facilities Nick made us build – and throws a pile of cash at him.

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