Charlie Strong is still the head coach at Texas, but it’s not too early to discuss the Longhorns’ list of possible replacements, beginning with the top candidate.
“It’s Tom Herman,” CBSSports.com senior writer Dennis Dodd said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “He’s the leader in the clubhouse unless they screw it up. I’ve got a list that I’m going to publish as soon as it becomes official. Dabo Swinney is on the list. I think he’s got to put Jimbo Fisher on there, just because he was interested in the job the last time when Charlie got hired. If Texas is smart, they call the Big Three just to make it official to sell the search. You call Harbaugh, you call Saban, you call Meyer. They say politely no, and you move on. But I think it’s Tom Herman.”
Brian Jones, a former Longhorns linebacker, couldn’t help but chuckle at Dodd’s call-the-Big-Three comment. Why on earth would Texas call Jim Harbaugh, Nick Saban or Urban Meyer? To ask them about their national championships and what it was like coaching in the Super Bowl?
“Well, for the same reason Charlie’s in trouble right now, you make those calls because you satisfy the boosters,” Dodd said. “They seem to be running things anyway. You pay Tom Herman $5 million-plus and get it over with. It’s Texas. You have to sell the search, it has to look good, and if they get him, they’ll get a good coach.”
Jones reported Monday that Swinney is atop the Texas wish list, but Dodd believes Herman is more likely to take the job.
“I don’t think Dabo would come,” Dodd said. “He’s got it going at Clemson, and it’s a league – not that the Big 12 isn’t – but it’s a league where he can win it any given year and that would be access to the playoff. He’s got that thing rolling and isn’t going to stop anytime soon. Now he loses Deshaun Watson and a few of these guys next year, but anybody coming into that job has to have that warning sign that Red McCombs is going to call up one day and go, ‘I don’t like this guy. We need to get rid of this guy’ – which he did before Charlie Strong coached a snap. He didn’t like Charlie Strong. So I think that gives guys like Dabo Swinney, who’s completely comfortable at Clemson, pause. Now for Tom Herman, who’s been a head coach all of two years, he’s completely ready to climb the next rung of the ladder and willing to overlook that. He’s a Texas grad assistant under Mack Brown, and he’s got the state wired in recruiting.”