Here are my thoughts on a list of names presented recently by FootballScoop.com, a coach-centric site. They are listed in order of my preferability. These are by no means the only candidates still in play.
SMU coach Chad Morris: Morris has turned SMU into a respectable program after going 2-10 in his first season in 2015. SMU was 7-5 this season. Morris was the coordinator of some good offenses at Clemson, has worked extensively with quarterbacks and has strong recruiting ties in Texas, where he was a highly respected – and extremely successful – high school coach from 1994-2009.
Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables: Considered one of the best defensive coaches in the country, Venables will get his shot one day. But should it be at a school like UT? Venables could be the next Kirby Smart or he could be a complete bust. He received the Frank Broyles Award as the nation’s top assistant in 2016 and has coached under Bill Snyder, Bob Stoops and Dabo Swinney. That’s good tutelage.
Former LSU coach Les Miles: The only way I’m taking Miles is if he agrees to turn his offense over to a bona fide coordinator. Still, that scares me. He’s said he’d revamp his offense before but never really did so.
Auburn defensive coordinator Kevin Steele: Sure, he’s a UT alum and he has done a great job at Auburn. But he’s been a career journeyman and posted a 9-36 record as Baylor’s coach from 1999-2002.
Georgia defensive coordinator Mel Tucker: I have trouble seeing this being a real possibility.
(You can follow Dave Hooker on Twitter @TheDaveHooker)
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