Texas Longhorns Football: Is Teryl Austin of Florida the Top Candidate for DC?

Kris HughesCorrespondent IDecember 14, 2010

Is Teryl Austin Texas' First Choice To Be the New DC?
Is Teryl Austin Texas' First Choice To Be the New DC?Doug Benc/Getty Images

Florida Gators defensive coordinator and longtime NFL defensive backs coach Teryl Austin has been mentioned in several stories recently, including a feature in the Austin American-Statesman, as being a top candidate for the defensive coordinator job with the Texas Longhorns.

Austin spent only the 2010-11 season in Gainesville as part of the Florida Gators coaching staff under Urban Meyer's leadership.

Florida had a subpar season in 2010 according to recent national championship standards, going 7-5 and earning a trip to the Outback Bowl to face Joe Paterno's Penn State Nittany Lions.

Could it be possible that Austin will replace former Longhorn defensive coordinator Will Muschamp, who recently departed to become Florida's head coach? Did the Texas administration have this in mind to allow Muschamp to pursue his first head coaching opportunity, knowing that Austin would be available as a replacement?

While this may seem to be a far-fetched scenario on the surface, it certainly isn't out of the realm of possibility given Austin's coaching credentials, even more so with rumors surfacing of Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart being in the sights of the Gators as a potential replacement for Austin should he choose to move on.

Teryl Austin's coaching résumé is a testament to his experience and qualifications to potentially fill the defensive coordinator job at Texas.

Austin has been in the coaching profession for a total of 20 years, 13 in professional football as a defensive backs coach with the Seattle Seahawks from 2003 to 2006 and the Arizona Cardinals from 2007 to 2009. Austin led the defensive units of both of these teams to Super Bowls during his tenure.

Austin's collegiate résumé includes stops at Wake Forest and Syracuse during the mid-1990s and at Michigan from 1999 to 2002 prior to making the jump to the NFL as a defensive backs coach for the Seahawks in the 2003 season.

Austin is known at Florida as a great football strategist and could quickly help Texas to better utilize its talent on the defensive side of the ball. His Florida Gators defense this season was ranked ninth nationally in total yards allowed and 31st in total defense with several young guys playing heavy minutes at skill positions.

Also known as a dedicated and talented recruiter, Austin was assigned to Texas as a recruiting territory during his time at Florida, so it is reasonable to assume he has already begun to establish relationships with high school coaches in the state. As all fans of football in Texas know, these relationships are absolutely essential to your success in the state as a collegiate program.

Other candidates that have been mentioned recently include Seattle Seahawks secondary coach and former Longhorns All-American Jerry Gray, former Miami Hurricanes head coach Randy Shannon and former Mack Brown assistant at North Carolina and at Texas, Ernest Withers.

Brown and the Texas athletic administration do not have much time to waste when it comes to deciding who will run the Longhorns defense in 2011. Could Teryl Austin be the first pick?