What's causing the delay in KU's quest to hire a defensive coordinator?
OK, so here’s what we know about the vacant defensive coordinator position at Kansas University.
It still has not been filled.
There are no known front-runners.
There is no time table for when it might be filled.
Sound familiar? It should. This is pretty much what we’ve known all along and may very well be all we are able to find out until the hire is announced.
During the course of the past few weeks, I’ve received all kinds of information from all kinds of sources about this guy or that guy, this name or that name. So far, despite coming from some pretty solid places, not of a stitch of it has turned out to be accurate.
At one point, I heard that former San Diego Chargers defensive coordinator Greg Manusky was the leader for the job. Around the same time, I heard that Miami Dolphins defensive coordinator Mike Nolan was the man to watch. And that same night I was told that current Georgia Tech defensive coordinator Al Groh was going to be hired. Again, these all came from pretty decent sources and all of them — at least up to this point — proved to be false.
So we move on.
At this point, it’s hard to know exactly what is causing the delay. I’ve been told throughout the process by people close to the situation that there really is no hurry here. As much as it might make fans of the program sleep a little easier knowing who the new DC is — big name or otherwise — new KU coach Charlie Weis is sleeping just fine.
Weis has complete control of recruiting and seems to be bringing in some solid names, both as commitments and for visits. Included on that list are defensive players, thanks largely to the work of defensive line coach Buddy Wyatt and running backs coach and recruiting guru Reggie Mitchell.
What’s more, there’s no coaching to be done currently, as the position coaches cannot have regular contact with their players until spring practices. The one guy who can work with the players — new strength and conditioning coach Scott Holsopple — is here, so there’s no need to worry about losing time or ground in that department.
As for those who say that delaying the announcement could cost the program valuable time that could be used to install the new defensive philosophy, there are a couple of things to remember there. First, it’s safe to guess that several players who will be listed on the two-deep depth chart on defense aren’t even here yet. Second, there’s plenty of time between spring drills and fall camp to install KU’s base defense. Once that is in place, most of the wrinkles that are added to it will come during game weeks, in season, anyway, as the Jayhawks prepare a game plan for each opponent.
One thing that may not be helping KU here is the number of DC vacancies that are out there, both in college and the NFL. A surplus of vacancies means options for the guys that land on most wish lists. And those guys having options means that the rest of us have to wait for things to play out in other places before this candidate or that one actually even can make a complete evaluation of what his next move may be. That could be what’s happening with Oklahoma assistant coach Willie Martinez and may very well have been the case with new Kansas City Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel.
Here’s a short blog about Martinez from the folks who cover the Sooners: http://blog.newsok.com/ou/2012/01/06/martinezs-name-popping-up-for-dc-jobs-whats-it-mean/
Beyond these names, Texas A&M, Penn State, Tennessee and Auburn — among others — have been or are currently looking to fill the same position. As exciting as things seem around the KU football program right now, Kansas still ranks a ways behind those schools in terms of places most people would want to work.
Other names still worth keeping an eye on include: Jim Leavitt, San Francisco 49ers linebackers coach; Raheem Morris, former Tampa Bay head coach and K-State DC; and all of those you haven’t heard yet, as was the case with Weis during the head coaching search.
I’m as eager as the next guy to find out who the new defensive coordinator will be. A new name — particularly if it’s a big one — just means that many more stories that can be written and angles that can be pursued. That’s exciting. Until we get something tangible about the job, I’ll keep pursuing every angle and trying to find out as much as I can about the names that pop up and even a little about the names that don’t.
Just enjoy the process and trust that the right guy will be brought in. This could end up being like those Heinz Ketchup commercials from back in the day.... "good things come to those who wait."