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Auburn’s Grimes Interviewing At Texas

If you read this site with any regularity, you know that we’re big believers in getting while the getting’s good.  In Jeff Grimes case that time is now.

According to multiple reports, Auburn’s offensive line coach is in Austin today interviewing with Texas’ Mack Brown about the O-line vacancy on the Longhorns’ staff.

Grimes is a Texas native who played his college ball at UTEP.  He also was a coach at Boise State back in 2000 while new Texas offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin was a player there. 

Auburn is coming off a BCS championship and will need to replace four starters on next year’s offensive line.  His stock is as high as stock can get.  If there’s a better time to cash in one’s chips and move up the ladder, I don’t know when that time would be.

(And before anyone from AU squawks, with Texas’ money, facilities and recruiting base, UT is an “up the ladder” move from just about anywhere.)

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UT Looking At UT’s Strength Coach?

By now everyone is well aware of the turmoil and turnover in Tennessee’s football program since 2008.  Three head coaches in three years.  Player attrition with each coaching change.  New assistants.  New recruiting connections to be made.

But no single area of the Vols’ program has gone through as much change as the strength and conditioning program.  Get this:

1.  S&C coach Johnny Long loses his job in 2008 when Phillip Fulmer’s staff is cleaned out.

2.  Lane Kiffin hires Mark Smith away from South Carolina to replace Long.  But in May of 2009 — just six months into their relationship — Smith and Kiffin part ways.

3.  A month later, Kiffin hires a former Tennessee track All-American to serve as the Vols’ new strength coach.  Aaron Ausmus is on UT’s campus until January 2010 when Kiffin and much of his staff head to Southern Cal.

4.  A few weeks later, Derek Dooley takes the reins in Knoxville and he hires former Texas Tech S&C coach Bennie Wylie.

Now Wylie is being mentioned as a potential target of Texas’ Mack Brown.

Wylie is a Texas native.  He played at Sam Houston State.  His coaching stops prior to Tennessee were at his alma mater, the Dallas Cowboys, the Dallas Desperadoes (AFL), and Texas Tech.

The folks at caught up with him yesterday while he was visiting family (also in Texas).

“I have not been contacted,” Wylie said.  “It would be an honor because Texas is one of the premier universities but I have not heard from Texas.”

Dooley should hope that it stays that way or else his team might have to get used to its fifth new strength coach since November of 2008.

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Malzahn To Texas Rumors Are Swirlin’

Yesterday, Texas’ Mack Brown accepted the resignation papers of three assistant coaches including those of offensive coordinator Greg Davis.

Today, the rumors of Texas’ interest in Auburn’s Gus Malzahn are heating up.  And with good reason.  Malzahn stock is as high as it’s going to get.

First things first, I don’t want to see Malzahn leave the SEC.  I want to see what his offense can do without Cam Newton.  Last year, it looked good for the first half of the year and then SEC coaches seemed to figure it out in the back half.  This year, it started slowly, but as Newton spread his wings, Malzahn’s offense took flight.

Next year, Malzahn likely won’t have Newton.  He’ll also lose four and possibly five of his starting offensive linemen.  Read that again.  At least four O-linemen… gone.

Simple question:  Is Malzahn’s stock higher now than it will be at this time next year? 

It would be hard — even for an Auburn fan — to say no.  Clearly, Auburn will take some type of step backward in 2011.  That means now is the time for Malzahn to cash in some chips.

Malzahn just won the Frank Broyles Award as the nation’s best assistant coach.  He’ll be featured in the BCS Championship Game.  His offense is ringing up points and yards at an astounding clip.  And Texas’ Brown is desperate.

Ah, yes, Texas.  Brown won a BCS title of his own in 2005.  In 2009 he played for another.  But after a 5-7 season this year, Brown is being hit with “the game’s passed him by” talk from short-memoried Longhorn fans.  He’s had to shake up his coaching staff.  And he’s got Will Muschamp waiting in the wings.

The 2011 season is key for Brown, as silly as that sounds.  He needs to make a splash with his offensive coordinator hire.  Malzahn would definitely make a splash. 

Looking at Malzahn’s status we see:

* Broyles Award
* BCS title game
* Great offense
* Losing a lot of good players
* Texas is open
* Texas has more money than Donald Trump
* Texas has a built-in recruiting base second only to Florida

Add it up and Malzahn should seriously consider chatting with Brown and the Longhorns should they dial him up.

But if he does, he must also figure out two things:

1.  Is Texas’ roster built for a quick conversion to Malzahn’s spread?

2.  How would Malzahn feel about working for Muschamp?  (If he goes to UT, he’ll likely work for the coach-in-waiting at some point… unless he lands a head coaching job himself.)

Brown wanted to mix in a power running game with his spread passing attack this season.  That never really materialized.  But that’s exactly what Malzahn has done at Auburn. 

The planets seem to be aligning for Malzahn to make a move to Texas… just as Gene Chizik once did.  And if the Horns call, Auburn’s OC should at least listen.  His stock will never be higher than it is right now.

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