May 24, 2018

Don’t Outthink The Room

We have not weighed in much on the coaching search so far.  Some have suggested we are waiting to see which way ‘the wind is blowing’ before we jump in.  I can tell you that is not the case.

What I can tell you is that we have come to abhor the ‘candidate of the week’ mentality employed by many media members (the radio talking heads mostly).  We know…we know…whatever drives the ratings – that’s what they are after.

But after listening to weeks and weeks of speculation, it occurred to me that we may be missing the forest for the trees.  Have we been outthinking the room on this whole deal?

Early on, Butch Davis’ name surfaced.  Most Arkansans are familiar with Butch and his career, and his name has routinely come up in years past when the Razorbacks head coaching job has been vacant.

A few weeks ago, Jeff Long made the statement in a statewide Radio interview that the new coach would be someone that is currently employed, either in college or the NFL.  When that was said, focus quickly shifted away from Davis, who has been out of coaching since North Carolina fired him in July, 2011.

Davis is currently employed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a special consultant to new coach Greg Schiano.  Schiano was on Davis’ staff in Miami.

Could Long’s comment, while factually correct, have ‘thrown the dogs off the scent’?  Davis is employed.  Davis is working in the NFL, just not as a coach.  Are we that easily distracted?

There is no question that Butch’s resume dwarfs anyone else being currently mentioned for this job.  His work with Jimmy Johnson at Oklahoma State, Miami and Dallas; the two Super Bowl rings; the turnaround at Miami; the NFL experience as a head coach in Cleveland; the defensive minded approach.  It’s all there.

North Carolina was set to be the last job for Davis and his wife Tammy.  They heavily invested in the community there in Chapel Hill, and were content.  The problem: Butch had recruited so well that he couldn’t keep the agents away from the NFL prospects he had gathered up.

That and the academic fraud that was uncovered in the tutoring department foiled his chances to stay there.  He has been cleared of any wrongdoing by a recently released NCAA report.

Some will say that Davis has had his chance before and did not take the Arkansas job.  We don’t know that he was ever offered it.  Thinking that UNC was his last stop, and not wanting to bail on them after one season in 2007 when the Arkansas job was open is understandable.

Others will say that he’s too old – currently 60, and will be 61 later this week.  To that we say Nick Saban is 61, Les Miles is 59, Steve Spurrier is 67, Bill Snyder is 73.  And it’s clear to us after listening to last month’s interview with WRAL-TV sports director Jeff Gravley that Davis still has the fire, and feels like he has some unfinished business after what happened at UNC.

If Butch is ‘the one’ (The Matrix reference for all you Neo fans out there…), it is likely that he could bring one of his former assistants at Miami, Randy Shannon with him as defensive coordinator.  Shannon, who was head coach at Miami from 2007-2010, is currently the linebackers coach at TCU.

That my friends could be a formidable team if the plan is to shift our focus to building a defense that can compete and win in the SEC West.

Now this is not an editorial page endorsement of one of the candidates, although we like Davis a lot.  We just get the feeling that we might have been given ‘a head fake’ by our athletic director, and we need to be careful we don’t lose sight of someone so obvious who might be right in front of our face.

  • Jeff E

    The only thing Davis would bring is a huge NCAA microscope, of course he recruited well in NC, who couldn’t, there’s athletes everywhere in the Carolina’s. The best defensive player to come out of college in the last 20 yrs, played in Rock Hill, SC. RuPaul could get a top 50 class there.

  • Pavlov’s Hog

    Jeff E.. who cares if there comes a huge NCAA microscope? …planning on doing something untoward? Bring it!

    I, for one, have been longing for a smash-mouth Razorback defense for decades.

    I love to see the offense in the end zone as much as anyone, but I love to see the final score show an Arkansas victory more.

    And an indisputable truth is… the other team can NOT win if they can NOT score.

  • GolfHog

    For once, for now, we have a good list of good choices. When Wally has a better argument you know you’re in trouble.

    It goes without saying that Davis was THE choice in April. That opportunity has passed. He now has plenty of competition. You can’t ignore his age just because there are some older coaches out there. They all have a foundation under them. Butch would still have to build his. And, you can’t ignore the mess at North Carolina either. He was either responsible or incompetent. That was way too much for him to simply look the other way. We need to learn a lesson from Bobby. History repeats.

    I have a friend whose favorite saying is, “Timing is everything.” Butch seems to have been off schedule every time this job was open. Too Bad, too late. Tempting, but no. Putting Butch forward now is Un-thinking the room, too much to ignore with no legitimate success. His history is close but no cigar. We’ve had that.

    If you miss out on the top 5 choices then, maybe, in January, Butch can be your fall back.

    • Gundy and Patterson seem like they are playing us for raises/extensions at their current gigs. Tubberville and Davis have better resumes than Franklin, Dykes, Strong, Gus, etc. And please…no Pelini. 😉

      • GolfHog

        I agree with Gundy/Patterson. They have no need to move. If you want a retread, then Tommy has the better resume. We don’t need a retreat to setup the program. Bobby already did that. We need a young guy to come in and build a program, a personality, a dynasty. Personally, I would probably go with Franklin over Dykes but either one has the foundation and the rep to be given his shot.

  • The Voice of Reason

    You’ve got to be freaking kidding me. I don’t understand the love for Davis. He is a marginal coach at best. He was 28-23 at North Carolina. If his recruiting of NFL players at UNC was so great, why the poor record? I’d rather hire Petrino back – at least Petrino didn’t oversee a program that had to vacate wins because of NCAA violations.

    • VOR, I would challenge you to go back and take a look at Davis’ entire career, especially his stint as head coach at Miami. He rebuilt and cleaned up an incredible mess while enduring a ton of scholly reductions. His players, led by Larry Coker, won a NC the year after he left for Cleveland.

      • GolfHog

        Houston Nutt won with Danny’s players too. As we learned with Bobby, it’s all about the head coach. What has Davis won?

      • The Voice of Reason

        Personally, I don’t care what a coach did 10 years ago. John L did well for a while back in the day. I want a coach that is proven he can win in today’s brand of football.

  • Carolina Hog

    Butch Davis is not a bad hire and his record is a bit decieving because he tookover struggling programs and had to take time to re-build. I’m leaning more toward Sonny Dykes but wouldn’t be unhappy with Butch. No way Gundy leaves his home and I don’t Patterson will either so I think that leaves you with these two names; Dykes and Davis.

  • NewYorkHogFan

    I would be very happy with Butch. His last team at NC was a top 5 team, except that most of the star players were ruled ineligible at the beginning of the season and couldn’t play. That program was about to become a beast. Of course, it all came tumbling down, but it was not his fault. He is a guy that can coach and recruit. He is from Arkansas. I think what happened at NC left a bad taste in his mouth, and he would love to get another chance. Another guy that I love is Charlie Strong. I saw Louisville play a couple weeks ago and was very impressed. Why isn’t anyone mentioning him anymore?