The question has been raised to me after I called for Krag to resign after the Rutgers debacle, If he resigns, who would come in and do a better job? 4 names popped in my head really fast. They all have the credentials that Krag doesn't and all 4 would come in and have the immediate impact that our current coach has dreams about. Pictured from the left, we have former Rams coach and UL offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, Florida co-offensive coordinator Dan Mullen, ex-NFL coach Steve Mariucci, and former Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville. Here's why each guy would work...
Scott Linehan - We all know how unsuccessful Linehan was with the Rams. Well, Rick Pitino was unsuccessful in the pros, so even the greatest of coaching minds can struggle with the big money egos of professional athletes. Once the offensive coordinator at Louisville for 3 years under John L. (99-01), Linehan has strong Louisville ties and knows the "lay of the land" pretty well. He would bring a great offensive mind and demand respect from his players through intimidation, much like a former coach of ours. Linehan had the same problem Petrino had in the NFL, unless your name is Bill Parcells players could care less about you and are just looking for someone that will get them paid. Linehan made about 2 million per year with St. Louis. Jurich could get him for less than a million with incentives.
Dan Mullen - Everyone who's a college football fan knows that Urban Meyer runs one of the most exciting and complex and this guy has been working side-by-side with him for the better part of ten years. Mullen ran the Utah offense with Alex Smith in 2004 and was coordinator for the Gators national championship run 2 years ago. He would bring back our strong Florida recruiting ties we developed under Schnellenberger, Smith and Petrino and have lost under Krag. A buddy came up to me at the basketball game this weekend asking if I'd heard a rumor about this guy being the next coach. I hadn't heard anything but I did say, "That would be awesome". To paraphrase Kliche Krag, Mullen could 'make chicken salad out of chicken you-know-what', something he'd surely have to do with Krag's leftovers. Mullen is battle tested, coaching in one of the toughest conferences in the country and recruiting against Ohio St., USC and Texas as well as the other Florida powers. Mullen would be my top choice right now. I don't think there is very much risk involved and he comes from a winning program.
Steve Mariucci - This is the trendy pick right now among fans I have talked to. They also say there isn't a chance we get the guy who has coached 3 Hall of Fame QBs (Montana, Young, Favre) and studied under the John Wooden of football, Bill Walsh because we've lost our luster. If Jurich can get Pitino to come back at his former school's bitter rival, he can get an old Louisville assistant to come on board. Mariucci coached here 1983-84 as a receivers coach and I'm sure he holds a special place in his heart for the 'ville. In my opinion, this would be the big-splash hire we need to get back on the national map. Mooch has connections from everywhere in the US and recruits would recognize him from his NFL network work. He would rejuvenate the fanbase and possibly make enough noise to warrant the PJ expansion. People forget he was a hot commodity after taking Cal to a bowl in his only season as a college coach in 1996, leaving for the Niners. Mariucci is a little bit older and wiser now and is looking for a place to settle down. Why not here?
Tommy Tuberville - The only reason I like this pick is recruiting ties. Auburn had one of the top classes every year in Tuberville's tenure and a bunch decommitted after his ouster. He is a solid coach who just couldn't live up to expectations in Auburn, even though he dominated Alabama during his stay. With his coaching away from the SEC microscope, Tuberville could thrive. Plus, wouldn't it be ironic if Tuberville came here only a couple years after our former coach was secretly in talks for the Auburn job behind his back. This would work well, Tuberville would be able to prove he is a great coach and the Cards would gain someone with ties to the whole Southern region as well as Texas as well as someone not afraid to push the envelope on offense. Fans would appreciate a hard-fought 8-5 season here, not in Auburn.
There you go. 4 guys who would come in and get us a little national attention, breathe new life into an angry fanbase, and possibly sell and/or retain enough season-ticket holders to make the stadium expansion worthwhile. But here's the catch, Tom Jurich (the guy with all the power) is "sticking with" Krag and "staying the course", so this is all just wishful thinking. Maybe ol' TJ will take a gander at L Yes! and a light-bulb will go off, but I doubt it. If that anvil also know as a 50 point loss to Rutgers and back-to-back losses against Syracuse didn't knock some sense into him, some logical ideas from someone not named Joe "Booster" or Johnny "Donor" would go in one ear and out the other.
Bottom line is: If any one of these guys came in before the new year, they would be able to put together a decent recruiting class (surely better than the one we have currently), retain some staff members if necessary, and establish local ties with both fans and recruits. Just a suggestion because something needs to be done soon.