Monday Playcard: Speculatin' on the Speculation

Mack Brown is Back!?!

North Carolina went back to the future, hiring Mack Brown to take over for the failed state of Larry Fedora. Brown’s worked as an analyst for ESPN since he left UT after the 2013 season. The 68-year-old Brown is back in the game and promising to bring some firepower with him, allegedly seeking to add Gene Chizik as his defensive coordinator and Kliff Kingsbury to run his offense. Neither of those moves is official, but we assume Brown will put together an excellent staff, he’s connected, and one of the first CEO head coaches in college football and his coaching tree is well developed.

Texas State Interested in Kendal Briles

Credit Texas State AD Larry Teis, he’s turning over some interesting stones to try and bring a winner to San Marvelous. Teis is, according to reports, bringing in Kendal Briles for an interview. Briles, as of late, has been the coordinator of the most explosive offense in college football this side of Oklahoma. Before that, Briles was on his old man’s staff at Baylor and in the thick of the sexual assault scandal that engulfed the University.

Anyone that tells you what Briles’ role was in the scandal or Art’s role for that matter is adding in a fair amount of conjecture and assumption because those tricky Baptists have done a fantastic job of covering their tracks and pointing fingers in different directions. We know that Baylor paid Art Briles over $15 million in owed compensation for his efforts, whatever they were.

What we know from the deposition testimony is that Baylor was a colossal mess, enamored with a winning football program and that a lot of collateral sources differ on who knew what and when. Perception becomes reality, and regardless of what might’ve happened, Kendal Briles will need to defend his position; apparently, he did so well enough that FAU and Houston brought him on.

Whether the younger Briles has the chops to be a head coach is anyone’s guess at this time. It’s a massive step from calling plays to running a program. In his favor, Briles is very connected to the high school coaching scene in the State and those connections matter.

Seth Littrell Still Coaching in Denton…For Now

If you’re a Mean Green fan, you are dodging bullets this week. North Carolina hired Mack Brown for a job that allegedly had Littrell on the short list. With Kansas moving to a retread as well, in Les Miles, you can check another potential landing spot off the list. Then came news that Kirby Hocutt at Texas Tech isn’t looking at Littrell for that opening, yet. So, early on, Littrell is still in Denton, but that is subject to change.

A few jobs to think about depending on the dominoes are Kansas State, where Bill Snyder is trying to insert his son as his successor, but meeting opposition from the Athletic Administration. Littrell might be an option there because Kansas State would like someone with Texas ties for recruiting purposes and they wouldn’t mind a bit more offense.

The other interesting situation to watch is Purdue, where Jeff Brohm, in spite of his assertions that he’s happy in West Lafayette, the Louisville job will interest him. Expect to hear Littrell mentioned if the Boilermaker job opens up even if that’s a stretch for us.

At this point, Littrell will be mentioned for most P5 jobs in this neck of the woods, but Littrell would be smart to act selectively here. You’d hate to be Chad Morris 2.0.

Houston Fires D’Onofrio

We never really gave Mark D’Onofrio a chance. It was like Todd Orlando was our real dad, and when he moved out, we never took to Stepdad Mark. Houston’s defense didn’t take to him either. The Coogs wasted a lot of time and talent with D’Onofrio at the helm. This season the Cougars could’ve been a New Year’s Six caliber squad, but the defense never found footing, and even though the offense could score, seemingly at will, the Coogs lost several very winnable games because they couldn’t get stops.

Major Applewhite’s fatal flaw was hiring D’Onofrio based in large part because of the continuity of scheme, from Orlando’s 3-4 to D’Onofrio’s iteration. Orlando was coaching chess while D’Onofrio coached checkers.

So where does Houston go from here? The Coogs have to find a spread killer regardless of the base scheme, and those guys are hard to locate. The good news for Houston is they can pay, they have facilities, and they’ll have access to talent. It’s an attractive job for young coordinators to make a name for themselves. The issue is that in 2019 the Cougars lose a ton of talent including Ed Oliver and some other multi-year contributors.

For Applewhite, with Briles getting a lot of attention, both for lower level head jobs and a lot of Power 5 coordinating gigs, chances are he’s replacing both coordinators, one by choice the other by necessity. 2019 is a pivotal year for Applewhite’s tenure, in spite of eight wins this year, the perception and, for us, the reality, is that they Cougars left several wins on the table.

The Roundup…