Monday, February 7, 2011
Could Texas be down another assistant?
By ESPN.com staff
Mack Brown just finished filling six coaching openings, but could one of them be gone before he even starts?
Jerry Gray, a former Texas player with 14 years of NFL coaching experience, was one of the most well-received hires of Brown's six, but according to Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman, he may have a decision to make in the coming weeks.
The Longhorns' defensive backs coach is being considered as the new defensive coordinator for the Tennessee Titans, who hired Mike Munchak as their new head coach on Monday.
Moving from being a college position coach to a pro coordinator is obviously a big jump, and it has to be a big concern for Brown, as well as for Longhorns fans.
Gray has already been a defensive coordinator once. He oversaw the Buffalo Bills' defense from 2001-2005, so his decision wouldn't be about career advancement as much as it would be about overall happiness. Gray is new to the recruiting trail, but sounded especially excited to start at his introductory news conference three weeks ago when he was introduced as the replacement for Duane Akina.
One factor could be a big help in keeping Gray at UT, though.
"A big consideration for Gray is the impending NFL lockout; the source said the potential lockout over a new collective bargaining agreement clouds all hirings and could hurt Munchak’s chances of getting Gray."
Signing day has come and gone, so keeping recruits is no longer an issue, and Texas lost just one commitment because of the coaching upheaval after the season.
Now, though, Gray leaving could hurt the Longhorns' preparations for spring practice. Brown kept Texas' early start, choosing to kick off practice on Feb. 24, and scrambling to find a replacement for Gray, should he leave, would be the last thing Brown needs this late in the semester.
Also on Monday, the Lincoln Journal Star learned that Oregon receivers coach Scott Frost, Nebraska's quarterback on its 1997 national title team, would not return to Lincoln to coach.
Pelini and Frost reportedly spoke about the possibility of Frost's return, but Frost wasn't going to leave Oregon without being able to call plays, which Nebraska did not offer.
Signs indicate those duties could go to running backs coach Tim Beck.