Texas Football: If Mack Brown's Days Are Numbered, 7 Coaches to Consider
Texas fans may consider this some kind of sacrilege, but Mack Brown appears to have outlived his usefulness as head coach.
With Ohio State's Jim Tressel out of the picture, no coach grasps his single national title harder. Plus, Brown's teams have been mediocre by Texas standards in recent seasons. Losing 63-21 to Oklahoma on Saturday in the Red River Rivalry does not help him much.
Should a coach at Texas who can't beat Oklahoma remain the Longhorns' coach?
Brown is now 5-9 against the Sooners, with his team losing three straight to Bob Stoops' squad.
If it is time for Brown to go, who might replace him?
Here are the top candidates.
7. Art Briles, Baylor
Briles has done a great job of making Baylor at least semi-competitive in the Big 12.
While he has no coaching ties to Texas, he has spent his entire coaching career inside the state, as an assistant at Texas Tech, then as head coach at Houston and Baylor.
He has proven he can recruit in the state, and given the resources and fanbase he would have behind him at Texas, it is difficult to see his recruiting being any worse than Brown's has been in recent seasons.
A solid defensive coordinator will be key, as Briles' Baylor teams have not exactly been known for their defense.
A fresh start with Briles' explosive style of offense would inject new life into a program that seems to be nearing stagnation.
6. Major Applewhite, RB Coach/Co-Offensive Coordinator, Texas
Applewhite and Bryan Harsin are splitting the offensive coordinator duties for Mack Brown.
Applewhite's ties to Texas make him a potential candidate for the position.
He played his college ball for the 'Horns, setting eight school records and leaving the school with the records for most consecutive games with a touchdown and most consecutive passes without an interception.
He has spent the past 10 years coaching in the college ranks, starting at Texas as a graduate assistant, before making stops at Rice, Alabama and Syracuse en route to his current position at Texas.
5. Will Muschamp, Head Coach, Florida
Texas fans, help us out with this one.
Did Muschamp's leaving Austin after being designated as head coach-in-waiting sour you on a possible return?
He has Florida rolling with a stout defense, and he has shown the ability to make adjustments and get the offense to be productive.
It would be a long shot, but the 'Horns have to at least send a glance Muschamp's way.
4. Gary Patterson, Head Coach, TCU
Patterson has a good thing going at TCU, especially with the program's move to the Big 12.
There are tons of positives when it comes to Patterson, enough that he would be a tough guy for Texas to overlook in a coaching search.
He has been the head coach at TCU since 2000, so he already has a foothold on the recruiting scene inside the state.
He's posted an 113-31 record and routinely fields winning football teams that play stout defense.
His teams have had some discipline issues in the past two seasons, but Patterson is clearly one of the better options that may be available to replace Brown.
3. Manny Diaz, Defensive Coordinator, Texas
Given the success Texas enjoyed hiring a guy with head coaching experience when they went with Mack Brown, it is tough to see them going with an unproven assistant.
If they do, however, Diaz would be a great way to go.
He has tons of experience on the defensive side of the ball, making stops at Florida State, N.C. State, Middle Tennessee and Mississippi State before landing the defensive coordinator job at Texas.
If Brown is gone after the 2012 season, Diaz has the potential to be a great head coach, especially with his emphasis on defense.
The Longhorns, in spite of their inability to slow Oklahoma on Saturday, have done great things defensively over the past few seasons, and guys such as defensive ends Alex Okafor and Jackson Jeffcoat have flourished in Diaz's system.
2. Chris Petersen, Head Coach, Boise State
Petersen might not be willing to leave his great situation at Boise State, but Texas would be foolish not to at least look long and hard at this guy.
The man boasts a 77-7 record during his time at Boise and is 2-0 in BCS bowl games.
With Boise making the switch to the Big East, Petersen may be content to remain where he is, but a shot at coaching in one of the top BCS conferences might be too much to pass up.
1. Kirby Smart, Defensive Coordinator, Alabama
Alabama has had the most dominant defense in football for the last two seasons, and the man at the helm of that unit has been Kirby Smart.
Smart's defense has been first in the nation each of the last two seasons in total yards allowed, and he continues to demonstrate the ability to scheme and plan against the toughest level of competition in the SEC.
A move to the Big 12, with its lack of emphasis on defense and overabundance of explosive offenses, would be a challenge, but it would be hard to pass up an offer from a program as high profile as Texas.