Friday, December 14, 2012
Mailbag: Mack, Kingsbury, Holgorsen, NIU
By David Ubben
Thanks for all the mail this week. Here's where you can reach me if you've got more to say.
There's still time to enter our bowl pick 'em contest, too. Get that taken care of ASAP.
Let's get to your mail!
Kyle in Corpus Christi, Texas, writes: Will Mack Brown get one more season and if he does can he survive another mediocre one? Will we ever get Chip Kelly?? If you thought his spread worked well with couple of Texas boys wait until he gets a whole team of them! Hook Em!
David Ubben: I mentioned this earlier in the week, but my stance on Mack Brown is this: He's done a lot for the university. He's earned a long leash. He's also used up a substantial portion of that leash over the past three seasons. This simply is not good enough if you're at Texas. He gets one more year in my book to reach the BCS or win 10 games and at least have a good case at cracking the BCS. If that doesn't happen with next year's team, I think you've got to look elsewhere. I get that it might look crass to fire a guy after three consecutive eight- or nine-win seasons on paper, but this is Texas. There's zero reason you shouldn't be winning more than eight or nine games at Texas. They have more resources in every way than any other program in the country. Like I've said with Mack: I don't necessarily think he's doing a job that's worth firing him for, but I think there are a lot of other coaches who could do much better with the resources Mack has. I don't think Chip Kelly is the answer for UT, but I do believe that Texas needs to thank Mack for his services as a coach, move him into an administrative role and bring in somebody else on the field if Texas doesn't get back to its old ways next season.
Samuel in Iowa City, Iowa, writes: David, greetings! I live in Hawkeyeland, but Iowa State is still IOWA State. So I'm a little distressed that Wisconsin might go after Paul Rhoads for their next head coach. What's your take on how committed Paul is to the Clones?
DU: I don't think Wisconsin is the right job for him. He's been very careful about how he's phrased his commitment to Iowa State. He's played it the right way. It's a mutually beneficial relationship, but he can't be making big, sweeping statements like he'll be there forever. That's just not realistic. He'll be there a lot longer than most, and I do think he could win big there eventually, but he also owes it to himself to leave some room if he finds another job he'd want to take. He's done that.
He's committed to Iowa State. He's done great things there. He's made the job better than it was when he took it. But he's also given himself enough slack to leave without it getting ugly.
Dean in Morgantown, W.Va., writes: You said Dana Holgorsen would be fine if he finishes 7-5 again next year, which I agree with, but what if he finishes something like 3-9 or 4-8? Will Oliver Luck keep him with a season like that even after losing our three main pieces?
DU: Yeah, they'll definitely keep him. Conference titles (even in the Big East) give you a little slack. If he goes 3-9 or 4-8, there will be a high level of pressure heading into 2014, but even then, another seven-win season might be enough to save him. He was such a low-risk, high-reward hire when West Virginia got him, you have to give him a ton of slack. It was his first time running an entire program, but it's obvious the man knows offense. Like any young coach, he'll learn a lot in his first 3-5 years as a head coach, and I do think WVU owes it to him to allow him to learn those lessons. It'll pay off in the long run.
Kurt in Lawrence, Kan., writes: Stan from "Autsin" asked how you juggle 10 snarky fan bases. Stan must be new to the Big XII. There are only 9 snarky fan bases. Then there are Kansas fans, who merely wish basketball season started in September. Seriously, though, do you see Charlie Weis ever getting KU to a .500 (in conference) program before his 5-year contract is up?
DU: I don't know if going .500 in conference is in the cards for KU. I think he could get them to a bowl by the end of the five years, but the depth of the Big 12 is hurting KU so much right now. There's not a lot of mediocre teams they can start crawling over on the way to the top. This whole juco explosion thing that KU is doing is pretty fascinating. It's clear that KU wants to win now. Ultimately, their hopes may come down to Jake Heaps and whoever follows him at quarterback. A great quarterback will take you very, very far when it comes to moving from awful to just OK. The Dayne Crist Experiment was obviously a bust. We'll see if the Jake Heaps Experience is any better. If it is, KU will have a shot to reach a bowl. If not, more two- to four-win seasons are coming down the pipe.
Sean in Huntsville, Ala., writes: Hey, I saw you thought Northern Illinois might go 6-6 in the Big 12. I will give them the three non-conference games and Kansas. Where do the other two wins come from? I'm not knocking them, I would say the same thing about schools from the larger conferences. We had 4 schools go 4-5 in conference and two go 5-4. I would favor any of them against teams ranked 13-25 right now.
DU: NIU's a pretty good team. I think you're underrating them. It's not like they can't beat Big 12 teams. Baylor beat Louisiana-Monroe by five and had their hands full. That team is 7-5. If NIU had played them earlier in the season, I think Jordan Lynch could definitely get a win against Baylor. Iowa State can beat a lot of teams, but they can lose to a lot of them, too. Both squads went down to the wire against Iowa. ISU came out on top. NIU didn't. The Huskies would definitely have a shot against Iowa State. That's six wins right there. Bowl game.
Chuck Bulygo in Austin, Texas, writes: Kingsbury is "old enough". John Madden was 32 years of age when he was named head coach of the Oakland Raiders. Madden is now in the NFL Hall of Fame.
DU: I'm with you on this, Chuck. The possibility is there for Kingsbury to blow up in a good way. I don't think the age thing is as big of a deal as his inexperience as a coach. He's only been in the business like five years. This has been one of the most meteoric rises in college football coaching history. I loved his comments today at the news conference, and I loved putting Cincinnati and his athletic department on the hook for trying to play a game against Tommy Tuberville. Just don't lose it if it happens.
Kingsbury owned his introduction, but in the coming weeks, he does need to be careful what he says and how far he goes in bringing back the "swagger." You want to be confident, but if you go too far and don't win, those comments can come back to bite you. This is how things like "decided schematic advantage" happen.