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Monday, October 7, 2013

2014 Coaching: More What-ifs

since I've been in and out of office so much in the last couple of
weeks, often barely making it to somewhere to watch games, I've had some
truncated blogging at times. Not a lot of pregame and often not a lot
of postgame. But, this blog is mine - and I'm not the subject - I'm
just saying, sorry for that and sorry that this will apready be post #3
for the day.

I was noticing the USC coaching staff situation - honestly, I'll admit
both enjoying and feeling sorry for Lane Kiffin - had reached out to
Tony Dungy. Denials or not, it's worth noting that Carolina kinda got
caught talking to outside sources about background checks on some
coaches themselves, which had become somewhat of a controversy. To me,
it just seems like good common sense.

At any rate, it dawned on me that Dungy, who did a pity interview for
Jerry Richardson before they hired John Fox, was nonetheless a guy that
was wanted here. I legitimately believe that, if the Panthers are into
a veteran coach, they'd attempt to reach out to Dungy, and to get to a
point, that they'd probably be smart to look at what USC is doing.

Dungy was apparently one of USC's top options, and he's sworn it off.
I'm willing to bet that they'll reach out to Jon Gruden as well -
Gruden's one of the few retreads I'd legitimately want, even if his
on-screen "I love this guy!" about every player on the field act is
getting old, he'd be a good fit in Carolina.

I don't know why USC is so determined to be pro-style, when even the
pros are turning to college schemes. They seem intent on it, though.
Carolina, who's only ever interviewed defensive coordinators (along with
two previous head coaches who were DCs, in Dungy and Seifert), might be
inclined to revisit the DC option, but Jerry Richardson's age (and some
of the reasoning behind keeping Ron Rivera another year) might allow for
a different option - an established coach that might cost more money.

And so that would seemingly put Carolina and USC in some similar
circles for talent. If I were hiring for a win-now situation, I'd throw
it on either a hot college head coach or an experienced head coach from
the pros. Both are about what USC is expecting, too.

I think USC will end up with Jack Del Rio - and in some ways, yeah, I
could see Carolina going there too. He was good here, he just didn't
leave many roots. But I think that the JDRs and Lovie Smiths, I don't
know if they have what's going on. I do worry that Gruden was only
really good with Monte Kiffin as DC, but unlike a Bill Cowher or other
guys that have been out of the league, Gruden doesn't seem out of touch
with the new pro game.

The hard part that both are fighting with? Neither job is looking as
hot as it could. If I were hiring right now, I'd throw the house at
Kevin Sumlin. I think he's an ideal fit. Sumlin says he's not going,
and all college coaches say that. Nick Saban even said it as he was in
the process of going, when he was with the Dolphins (for a few minutes
longer). But is the USC job, or the Carolina job, really a better job?

The average young DC hire makes about what a pretty good, but
untenured, college head coach makes. Sumlin's due for another raise, of
course, but the difference is he'll live to see it three years down the
line. In the NFL, you have to change a lot of what you do, and you
probably get three years to build a program. The urgency of some of
these NFL teams, with the way the league is adjusting, some guys just
don't even have that much time - and that's not really new. In 1996,
Carolina was in the championship game in year two. After 1997, the rest
of the NFC West was shopping for coaches, and after '98, so was
Carolina.

Either way, it appears (or at least, I'd hope) that Carolina will be
taking a similar tack as USC. If so, keep a strong eye on what's said
in response to USC, it'll pave the path Carolina will see to note where
they could go.
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