Thursday, December 11, 2008


Somehow, Auburn just doesn't run out of them. Two more got tossed on top of the pile today:

One is Gary Patterson, who got his predictable turn in the Budweiser Auburn hot seat today. I would argue Patterson is a much, much larger threat to actually land the job than the likes of, say, Hoke or Graham: his overall record at TCU is stout--71-27, with just one losing record in eight years vs. five 10-win seasons--and his emphasis on defense would certainly make for a smooth transition from the Tubby era.

The problem with Patterson is that--also like Tubby--he's rarely been able to get his offense efficient enough to take the team over the top. Two conference titles in eight years of Conference USA and Mountain West competition doesn't exactly make me confident we'd be winning the SEC any time soon under him. His defensive prowess means there's only so far Auburn would slide under his watch, but if we're going to take a mid-major coach, Gill seems to have substantially more potential.

Speaking of Gill, the weirdness of the world of coaching searches means his eventual destination could have been decided in part by this guy ...

Well, the guy on the left. That's Skip Holtz, who today told Syracuse thanks-but-no-thanks on their $12 million offer to become the Orange's next head coach.

First, consider the following syllogism*:

1. Holtz coaches at a successful and rising mid-major program
2. Holtz has not been hired away as of today by another, larger school
3. Auburn will interview any coach at a successful and rising mid-major program that has not been hired away as of today by another, larger school

Ergo, Auburn will interview Skip Holtz. It's going to happen. It may have already happened. There's a HOT RUMOR in my inbox to precisely this effect, not that--because of the syllogism above--we would need it. Just so you're aware.

However, I don't think Holtz can be taken seriously as a candidate--the guy flunked out of his South Carolina OC stint and for all ECU's steady improvement the Pirates have still only gone 29-21 on his watch--which makes the bigger development this: Auburn now has competition if it wants Gill's services. We know Syracuse has interviewed with him. We're fortunate, frankly, he apparently doesn't have an offer on the table yet; if I'd have been Syracuse, I'd have named Gill the new head man the moment Robinson took the last box out of the office. He's the sexiest candidate they've got and the 'Cuse have to be getting a little desperate now that Edsall and Holtz have each turned them down.

In the meantime, what we're hearing is that Auburn is making Gill "jump through quite a few hoops" in his pursuit of the Auburn job, which, sadly, sounds like the sort of thing our administration would do. (I've also heard RUMORS to this effect as well.) If the Orange come across with an offer tomorrow, what are the odds Gill takes it and says "To hell with you guys"? Probably not bad, unfortunately. Not bad at all.

I posit that this would not be the worst thing in the world, particularly if it forces Auburn to go all-in with Johnson, or in a somewhat less likely scenario, Kelly. But it also means that Auburn's margin for error has been cut dramatically. Before, if Auburn was going to continue to ignore Leach and prove unable to pry Johnson out of Atlanta and Kelly out his Notre Dame dreams, well, I could live with that since Gill wasn't going to turn us down to stay at Buffalo under almost any scenario. But if Gill's out of the picture, no Johnson and no Kelly and no Leach means ... who? Fisher? Patterson? Spurrier? Garner? A mid-major coach whose name they drew out of a hat? I'm not particularly fond of any of these solutions. Damn you, Skip Holtz!

I maintain: the time for freaking out is when the hire is made and not before. But Auburn does not have the luxury of being patient now, unfortunately. The game has changed.

*I never actually took logic in college, so I may not have this exactly right.


gerry dorsey said...

the word is saints oc doug marone is head to syracuse, so you don't have to worry about gill going there. i personally think ya'll should hire patterson, but that's just me.

PowerOfDixieland said...

Rumors suck, but this one almost seems legit:

Maybe we weren't in Dallas/Fort Worth interviewing Patterson, but actually Muschamp. There was a flight of the "Board of Regents" from Austin to DFW and back yesterday. What do you think?

bovinekid said...

POD, you think that one is any more legit than WSFA's Spurrier one from earlier in the day? I think they're both bollocks myself.

Deano "aka" Jimmy Joe Meeker "aka" Fat Elvis said...

Only in America can you get the sentence...."Thanks but no thanks to a $12 million dollar job offer"

Deano "aka" Jimmy Joe Meeker "aka" Fat Elvis said...

So far your coaching search posts are the best in the mix!

mikeychx said...


ESPN and Fox say so...heres a link to the video

jrsuicide said...

so Jerry if Muschamp gets named coach before you write a Coachapalooza post about him i hear that an angel loses it's wings.

Alex P from Smyrna G said...

Why are people drooling over Gill?

Jerry, if you knock Skip Holtz's recent success by making the point (and rightfully so)that he's just 29-21 in his ECU tenure, then the fact that Gill is 15-22 is just as damaging. Gill is not ready to make this step this year.

Brian Kelly should be a no brainer. IMHO we should start parking Brinks trucks in his yard -adding one a day- until he takes the job.

If the BOOM rumors are true, I have to say that I would be pleased to know we could get a hot commodity like CWM to come in. But I honestly believe that he needs some more time under Mac's wing before he'll be really ready to be a head coach.

Regardless, War Damn Eagle Forever!

Jerry Hinnen said...

jrs, you're probably right. I missed a bullet there.

Alex P, ECU has some history of success and Buffalo has absolutely none, so I do think what Gill's done at UB is much more impressive than Holtz's work at ECU. But I'll agree that Gill's only a fallback--a good fallback ,to be sure, but still the guy we want only if we can't get Johnson or Kelly.

Alex P in Smyrna G said...

Jerry, I understand it is Bufalo and that program is the hardest in D1A.

But frankly, I don't care where it is. Three years is not enough to judge a head coach. You said yourself that he needed a bunch of lucky breaks to get to 8-5 this year, so how is anyone confident enough that his ONLY winning season is not a fluke? Confident enough to hire him at a SEC contender? I am certainly not.

Not accusing anyone of any overt favoritism, but whould a white coach with the same results at Bufalo get this level of attention this soon? I mean honestly think about it. I seriously doubt he would.

All of that said, if he is hired, I will support him 100%. I can leave the axe grinding to Lowder.


Jerry Hinnen said...

Alex, I totally understand your concern. As I said, Gill's not a slam dunk. He's not a sure thing. It's a roll of the dice that could very easily come up snake eyes.

But if we're not hiring a sure thing like Johnson or Kelly, I'd rather roll those dice than hire someone like Fisher or Patterson or Holtz or Broge whose ceiling seems, to me at least, to be much lower than Gill's.

As for how much his race plays into it, well, you're right that it doesn't hurt him. It does make for a better story, particularly with D-I head coaching demographics being as shameful as they are.

But there's no easy parallel in the current CFB for what he's done at UB. Golden's Temple reclamation hasn't hit the same heights. Cristobal's gotten FIU out of the depths, but they'd at least need a winning record first. Maybe the closest analogue would be Hoke, but it took him a LOT longer to get where he is than it took Gill. So how much race really plays into it ... I don't know. If Golden takes Temple to the MAC title game next year or Cristobal wins the Sun Belt, then we'll have a good comparison.