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Franklin, Malzahn, Miles And Muschamp — Who Would Texas Want And Who Would Want Texas?

silhouette-question-markWhen it comes Texas football, — the site covering the Longhorns — has built a reputation for knowing what’s what.  Last week the site reported that Mack Brown was a goner.  Despite a bumpy ride, by week’s end the longtime Texas coach was indeed announcing his retirement.

So when it comes to that school’s wish list of replacements, where better to turn than back to Orangebloods?  (Paywall warning.)  We’ll not get into their whys and hows, but their list of possible Texas coaches includes:


Jim Harbaugh, San Francisco 49ers

Jimbo Fisher, Florida State

Urban Meyer, Ohio State

Les Miles, LSU

David Shaw, Stanford

John Harbaugh, Baltimore Ravens

Gus Malzahn, Auburn

Art Briles, Baylor

Will Muschamp, Florida

Charlie Strong, Louisville

James Franklin, Vanderbilt

Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh Steelers

Gary Patterson, TCU

Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern


That’s a long list that doesn’t include Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy, who many believe would be a top choice (strengthening Texas while hurting a Big 12 rival).

You’ll note that there are four SEC coaches on that list and we’ll tackle each one below.

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Good News For Vandy: Sarkisian Takes The USC Job

sarkFirst, he said he’d spoken with Southern Cal AD Pat Haden about the Trojans’ job.  Then he said he hadn’t interviewed at all.  Now he’s the new head coach at USC.

Good to see the Trojans have found another honest guy to replace Lane Kiffin.

With Steve Sarkisian agreeing to leave Washington for Southern Cal, Vanderbilt fans can breathe a sigh of relief.  James Franklin won’t be leaving Nashville for Los Angeles.


There’s now an opening at Washington.  And there will be more openings in the coming days.  Franklin — with the fine work he’s done at Vandy — will probably have his name attached to every single one of them.  That doesn’t mean he’s leaving, but it does mean Commodore fans still have to worry about that possibility.


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James Franklin: “We Were Very Disciplined”

Vanderbilt coach James Franklin meets the media following Saturday’s win over Wake Forest.

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SEC Conference Call: James Franklin Talks Tennessee

Vanderbilt coach James Franklin talks Tennessee – week 13 SEC coaches conference call.

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Vandy’s Franklin Doesn’t View Tennessee Series As A Rivalry Yet

gfx - they said itTwelve months ago, James Franklin led Vanderbilt to a 41-18 rump-kicking of cross-state big brother Tennessee.  It was the coach’s first win over the Vols and the Commodores’ second since 2005.

Bigger picture?  Vandy has still dropped 28 of their past 30 games with Tennessee.  For that reason, Franklin isn’t ready to call the series a rivalry just yet:


“People call it a rivalry.  I don’t think it’s at that point.  It hasn’t been as competitive as it needs to be to be considered a rivalry.  But I know a lot of people are excited about this game.

I think it’s good for the state (if it becomes a rivalry).  I think it’s good for Vanderbilt.  I think it’s good for Tennessee.  I think it’s good for the SEC.  You’d love for it to be a rivalry, and those games are fun because there’s so much riding on it.”


Good for the Dores and good for the SEC, sure.  But it’s unlikely Franklin would find too many Vol fans who’d view a UT/VU “rivalry” as a positive development.

In addition to whipping Tennessee last year — and ending the tenure of Derek Dooley who was axed after the game — Franklin’s team took the Volunteers to overtime in 2011 before losing.  He also had a bit of an R-rated exchange with some heckling UT fans as he exited Shields-Watkins Field on that occasion.  Saturday will mark his second trip to Neyland Stadium.  And it will also be an opportunity for him to capture Vandy’s seventh win of the season while simultaneously snuffing out Tennessee’s bowl hopes.

For a Vanderbilt coach, it wouldn’t get much better than that.


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James Franklin On Tennessee: “Very, Very Disciplined” (Video)

Vanderbilt coach James Franklin meets the media to review the Kentucky game and previews the matchup Saturday against Tennessee.

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By Continuing To Play Mauk, Missouri’s Pinkel Playing With Fire

mauk-franklin-pregameEarlier this week it was made clear that James Franklin — now back from injury — will return to Missouri’s starting lineup when the Tigers travel to Ole Miss in two weeks.  As we wrote Tuesday, backup Maty Mauk did a fine job in leading Mizzou to a 3-1 record as starter, but Franklin is the better passer and the offense is more effective with him in the game.

The right move, then, is to go back to Franklin as starter.  End of story.

Only it isn’t the end of the story.  Gary Pinkel says that Mauk will continue to play in some form or fashion:


“Maty will definitely play.  There’s no question about that.  He’s certainly earned the right to do that.  It’s a very positive situation.  We’ll determine how much (he plays) when we get in that phase of game week…

James was having as good a year as any quarterback in the country when he got hurt four games ago.  Maty’s done a lot of good things.  For us, bringing James back, we were very up front to everybody, including everybody on our team on how we’re going to handle that.”


What Pinkel sees as “a very positive situation” we see as T-R-O-U-B-L-E.

Already there are some in the Mizzou fanbase who want to see Mauk hold onto the starting job (despite all of the stats pointing in the other direction).  You can be sure that the first time Franklin throws an incompletion, some Tiger fans will roar for Mauk.  God help him when he tosses a pick or leads two so-so drives back-to-back.

But that’s just the fans in the stands.  By continuing to give Mauk action — depending on what kind of action he’s talking about — Pinkel is inviting players on the team to start taking sides.  That.  Is.  Not.  Smart.

Rotating quarterbacks is fine and good in one case only: You have two quarterbacks with different styles and one of them is used as a change-of-pace guy.  Typically, that means your passer leaves for a series in each half and your runner comes in.  Other than that, flip-flopping QBs is not the path to success.  And in case you haven’t noticed, Franklin and Mauk play very similar styles.

Of Franklin’s total plays (195 passes) and (65 keepers), exactly 75% of the time he’s thrown the football.  Mauk’s percentage (120 passes, 36 passes) is 76.9% pass.  If you think those numbers are nearly identical, check these out: Franklin averages 4.46 yards per carry when he does run it.  Mauk averages 4.44.

Aside from the fact that Franklin is the more accurate passer — and who cares about a little thing like that? — the two are basically the same type player with the same type rushing skills.  So why flip-flop them?

Perhaps no coach in recent history has spun the quarterback carousel more than Steve Spurrier.  And for all his success, his only national championship came when Danny Wuerffel was his clear-cut starter.  That is not a coincidence.

Missouri faces two huge games against Mississippi and Texas A&M en route to the SEC Championship Game.  If the Tigers reach Atlanta, a BCS championship will be in view.  Now is not the time to create divisions on the team, to prevent Franklin from finding a rhythm, or to give him reason to start looking over his shoulder.

Pinkel is wise to go back to Franklin.  He would be more wise to stick with him through thick and thin.  Playing Mauk could create a lot more troubles than it’s worth.


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SEC Conference Call: James Franklin Talks Texas A&M

Vanderbilt coach James Franklin talks Texas A&M – Week 9 SEC Coaches Conference Call.

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Vanderbilt Coach James Franklin: “Story Of The Game Is That We Persevered”

Vanderbilt coach James Franklin answers questions from the media following the Commodores 31-27 victory over Georgia Saturday afternoon.

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SEC Conference Call: James Franklin Talks Georgia

Vanderbilt coach James Franklin talks Georgia – Week 8 SEC Coaches Conference Call.

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