What Next for the Bearcats
We all know BK left, and most of us believe that he was less than proffessional about it. I'm not worried about that argument anymore, and hopefully the players aren't either. He left the team in ruins, but the program in a much better shape than when Dantonio left. What matters isn't even the Sugar Bowl in the grand scheme of things, best case scenerio, the 'Cats would finish number two in the country. What matters is what they do next year, and what happens in the next seven days will go a long way in determining that.
Kerry Coombs was a longtime coach at Colerain High School, a team that is perrenially ranked in the top 25 in the country. In his final season, his closest game was a 21-3 win against St. Xavier (another top program). He was hired as a defensive backs coach and associate head coach when Kelly arrived in 2005. He was promoted yesterday to Defensive Coordinator and Recruiting coordinator. He will not be the next head coach, but will likely stick around when and if he gets the chance in the future.
Quinn (left) has been Brian Kelly's offensive coordinator for twenty one years. The rumor is that he was interviewed today. AD Mike Thomas has named him as interim head coach for the Sugar Bowl. He has wanted his own program for years, but has yet to get it. He would bring the same high powered offense, and hopefully a more aggressive philosophy on defense than we've seen this year.
Butch Jones was Kelly's replacement at Central Michigan State. He has compiled a 27-3 record there in three years largely with Kelly's recruits and has developed Dan LeFevour into one of the greatest players in NCAA history. He is in contract negotiations with Marshall, but suppposedly has an interview with Mike Thomas on Monday. I imagine he would go to Cincinnati over Marshall if he thinks he can win championships. He too brings a spread offense suited for Zach Callaros' skills.
In his first year at Temple, he was 1-11. In four years, he has made them a contender in the MAC. He runs a fast-paced attack consisting of mostly running plays. With Isaiah Pead, it could work, but I'd like to stick with the passing game that has worked. His defense is aggressive, hits hard, and feed off of turnovers, like the Bearcat's defenses always have up until this year. AD Mike Thomas wants an "established" head coach, and I don't think he would get that in Golden.
Skip Holtz is 76-48 in his career at UConn and East Carolina. Wouldn't it be ironic if Brian Kelly tried to become the best coach since LouHoltz, and Lou's son became CIncinnati's greatest coach ever? Yes, but it won't happen. Holtz runs a power-running offense much like Mark Dantonio's that saw limited success, and the team in Cincinnati right now isn't built for it like Dantonio's was.
Okay, so it won't happen in a million years, but wouldn't it be great if Meyer decided to return to his alma mater and make them the national powerhouse Kelly envisioned?
What Next for Kelly?
Kelly's success at CIncinnati lied in his ability to recruit and develope talent from Southwest Ohio (49 players on the roster were from Ohio, Columbus or further South). He seems to have alienated that area. Can he replace that talent from somewhere else? Can he convince kids that aren't old enough to remember a time when Notre Dame was relevant to come there? Conventional wisdom says yes, but can he hold onto the job long enough to reap the benefits from recruiting? Right now he has one scholarship QB, who has a torn ACL. Notre Dame fans tend to start looking for a reason to fire you after your first loss. Good luck BK.