Steve Patterson has a busy holiday schedule ahead of him as the new athletic director for the Texas Longhorns.
In his first two months on the job, Texas alum already have to replace one of the most successful coaches in school history. And that's just the beginning of the needs for the football team.
Included on Patterson's wish list should be a quarterback who can make life easier on whoever he decides to hire. A peaceful conclusion to the current coach's tenure on December 30 would also be a plus.
A Head Coach
Patterson, like every other Longhorn fan, wants nothing more for Christmas than a head coach. The pressure is on for him to hit a home run.
With the help of an eight-man search committee, Texas' new athletic director will make a career-defining move in his first three months on the job. If it goes well, he is a genius. If not, what happened to Mack Brown will look gentle.
Just over a week into the search, it is anybody's guess as to which coach will fulfill Patterson's wish. The list includes ridiculous names like Jim Harbaugh and Mike Tomlin, with long shots such as Gus Malzahn. But there are also guys who make a lot of sense, led by Jon Gruden and Vanderbilt's James Franklin.
Report: Monday Night Football analyst Jon Gruden interested in Texas job http://t.co/crUZ6veqT0— Dallas Morning News (@dallasnews) December 19, 2013
No matter who is chosen, the expectation will be immediate success for Forbes' most successful athletic program for five years running.
A Reliable Quarterback
If you don't have a quarterback, chances are you don't have much of a team. The 'Horns have been without a playmaker at the helm since 2009 and will need one in order to turn the program around.
With Greg Robinson arriving to turn around the underachieving defense, Texas' biggest weakness in 2013 was at the game's most important position. Case McCoy held his own for much of the season but threw five interceptions with just one touchdown in the team's final two losses of the season.
Texas sr QB Case McCoy on what increased 1st team reps for Tyrone Swoopes means for the Alamo Bowl: "You know as much as I do."— Chip Brown (@ChipBrownOB) December 19, 2013
Next season, McCoy will have graduated while expected starter David Ash's career remains in doubt due to concussions. That leaves the door open for Tyrone Swoopes to take over as starter and make good on his ridiculous potential.
Will next season be the year the Longhorns find some stability at quarterback? The start of the post-Mack Brown era depends on it.
A Blue Chip Defensive Back
Texas stands to lose as many as three of its starting defensive backs after this season. Landing one of the state's 10 defensive backs from the Rivals 250 would help remedy that situation.
The problem is that none of said prospects have committed to the Longhorns, with many pledging elsewhere or leaving them off their list completely. That's how dire the situation has become for the program.
Adding one of these blue-chip prospects to their list of recruits for 2014 is a must to replenishing what is sure to be a depleted secondary.
An Alamo Bowl Victory
Mack Brown's resignation has been a pretty sight for anyone involved. An Alamo Bowl victory over Oregon would conclude his tenure on a high note and allow the program to move forward in a positive light.
No matter what you think of Brown in the end, you have to give him credit for what he has done for the Texas program. The only reason it is even considered the best job in the nation is because of what he produced from 1998 to 2009.
The easiest and best way to preserve both that legacy and Brown's relationship with the university would be to end it all with an Alamo Bowl win.