When Herman left, I became a huge fan of finding a way to avoid hiring a new coach every two years. I don’t think a program can be successful doing that because you essentially lose two of four recruiting classes. So I thought the Boise/TCU/Navy/etc. model may work here. Who would have thought Niumatalolo or Peterson or Patterson would have been excellent head coaches? I would have been fine with Orlando; I preferred Applewhite because of his recruiting chops. We still lost a lot of the class (the recruiting guys say we were going to lose many of them even if Herman had stayed) but kept Bryson Smith and a few others who were committed and added some talented “under-the-radar players” like Payton Turner (no offers), Grant Stuard, David Anenih, DJ Small, Davion Mitchell, etc., thanks in part to MA’s connections.
IMO, there are about maybe 10 coaches in college football who are real difference makers and about 10 who are inept and waiting to be fired. The rest are somewhere in the middle, which is where I thought Applewhite would be. And I think he probably still will be. I actually like the idea of playing defense and running the ball some. That’s what championship teams typically do. See conference champion UCF this year, conference champion Temple last year, and conference champion UH the year before. But we need to actually read on the read option and be balanced, and I’d like to see us more aggressive on defense.
Having said that, this season was as much about marginal QB play as it was coaching. Gotta have a really good QB in this offense, and we didn’t. Allen didn’t fit, Postma was a backup, and King had hardly practiced at the position. Even so, if MA were to make a bonehead move like hiring a guy who was a GA a year ago and who said something like he looked to Dunbar and Bonner for guidance as a position coach, well, that would really cause me to re-evaluate my position. I’m attached to the idea of establishing something here, which we did in 15 and 16, and keeping it rolling, not any particular person.
I agree Tulsa and Tulane shouldn’t have happened, that we should have won another game or two (but it’s college football, not a video game; things don’t always go your way. Witness 2-8 in '75, 6-5 in '77, 7-5 in '80, etc.) and that he should upgrade the staff, but he’s going to be the coach in 2018. So he has my full support until I’m convinced he can’t get it done, just as Levine did until I watched that UTSA debacle and wrote a letter to administration requesting he be replaced. I’m sure that letter made all the difference!