This edition of Inside the Humidor should be titled Winds of Change. We talked a little bit about the fissure between the big money donors and the politics involved when it comes to the direction of the program in last week’s Humidor, and evidently that fissure has begun to narrow if reports are accurate. Big Cigars that once championed Mack at every turn are now asking pointed questions of the AD’s office.
Other Cigars that have enjoyed a cordial relationship with the program have checked out. The opposite of love is apathy, and that has to scare Mack to death. There are also rumors that agents have reached out to the University about a possible coaching vacanc of the head man variety and we’ll touch on that as well. Aside from coaching change scuttlebutt, we’ll go behind the scenes for a look at the drama that transpired during and after the TCU game. The only good news is the Cigar tells us the winds of change are blowing, so pop in the Scorpions and grab your favorite stogie as you step inside the Humidor.
Jesus Shuttlesworth: Let’s get right to it. You said that the only way Mack steps down is if he feels he can’t stomach the losses and the pressure. After TCU he has to be feeling a ton of pressure from people that matter most. What’s going on in Cigarland?
Big Cigar: The vocal change agents are louder obviously. Frankly they’ve been vocal amongst themselves even during the win streak but this group became much more vocal after TCU as I said they would.
Jesus Shuttlesworth: Again, not to rehash names, but these guys have boxes and write big checks? What steps have they taken?
Big Cigar: Yes they are financially and politically influential alums. This more vocal group reached out to a couple of donors that were on the fence before the TCU game. The reached out to escalate exit strategy talk and the word is that most of the fence sitters are either on board with taking action steps, or they’re just backing away from the program altogether.
Jesus Shuttlesworth: At what point in the process are we currently? Has anyone reached out to the athletic department?
Big Cigar: There have been phone calls to Deloss about the dissatisfaction after the loss. There are phone calls and emails sent to Deloss after every loss, there are just more of them now. The difference is that some of these conversations are not just focused on Mack, but there are some guys that have challenged Deloss and Bellmont as a whole. It’s a different feeling than when it was simply seen as a Mack Brown problem. These guys are questioning whether or not Deloss Dodds needs to be around. Make no mistake, the big money guys are now convinced that the culture in Bellmont is rotting and they want to fix it. Deloss would be wise to reassess his insulation of Coach Brown and even Coach Barnes and start answering the tough questions with tough answers.
Jesus Shuttlesworth: What answers?
Big Cigar: Answers like when and how Mack intends to move on. If some of these guys have their way then neither Mack or Dodds will be around much longer. But again, these are the vocal group. Mack and Deloss need to be concerned with the group that used to be in their corner come hell or high water. Mack has mentioned one or two of these folks by name in press conferences this year when he was talking about support. Those names aren’t in his corner any more.
Jesus Shuttlesworth: So where are those boosters now? Apathetic or wanting change?
Big Cigar: The BIG NAME wants change but it’s just a matter of how proactive he’ll be to affect change. If he pushed hard enough Mack would be gone tomorrow, but he’s not going to do that. He just has that kind of sway. But I know he’s angry and wants to win.
Jesus Shuttlesworth: What about Rowling and the Dallas guys?
Big Cigar: Rowling is just backing away from the whole thing. He’s disgusted, but I’d put him in the apathetic category.
Jesus Shuttlesworth: We’ve gotten word that this sentiment has permeated into the Board of Regents? Is this true?
Big Cigar: Yes. Like I said, the vocal group contacted different parties after the loss and some of the more influential on the BOR were among those parties contacted. It’s not hard to figure who they are either.
Jesus Shuttlesworth: Have you heard that one of the big money guys wrote a letter to Deloss talking about what he expected short term as far as change goes?
Big Cigar: I haven’t heard that but it wouldn’t surprise me. Mack is losing a lot of good will and he’s threatening his own legacy by hanging on. Most of these big donors now think there needs to be a change soon. Some will put pressure on Mack to retire while others will just become withdrawn from the program which won’t go unnoticed by people that matter. A loss to KSU, especially if it’s in embarrassing fashion will create a level of pressure Mack’s never seen. He’ll get it from places he always viewed as friends of the program and I suspect he’ll start getting it from Deloss as well. Once that happens, if it hasn’t already, I think Mack bows out. The key might be Deloss just going to Mack and saying, “it’s time”.
Jesus Shuttlesworth: Last week we had this exchange:
|Jesus Shuttlesworth: So is this group the most powerful?
Big Cigar: No, not at all, just the most vocal. The most powerful group includes guys that can get access because they cut big checks. Moncrief, Jamail, Barnhill, Nash, McCombs, Rowling, etc. These guys get access whenever they want it. A portion of this group wants Mack to give way to someone that can beat OU but some are willing to let the season play out.
Some of these guys were pretty vocal after the OU game vowing to never write another check to the school, or to shut down their luxury box purchases as long as Mack was here in protest. Some of these guys are still of that mindset even with the wins, but some have cooled down some after beating Tech and ISU.
Jesus Shuttlesworth: Are any of these guys still on the fence?
Big Cigar: No. They all want change because the season has basically played out.
Jesus Shuttlesworth: Wow. Could you comment on a rumor we’ve heard? From our agent sources it sounds like there may be some movement already. We were told that there have been several inquiries from different agents about a head coaching vacancy. We couldn’t verify that anyone has reached out from Texas’ camp--like the AD, a search committee, or even influential boosters, but it wouldn’t make sense for agents to reach out to a job that isn’t vacant. Have you heard anything?
Big Cigar: No I haven’t. My guess is that a booster or a group of boosters might have reached out but I’m not aware of a search committee or anything official in the AD. Now if Mack told Deloss that he was going to retire, it would make more sense to get an indication of interest from coaches across the country. To my knowledge, Mack hasn’t made up his mind though.
Jesus Shuttlesworth: If you had to make your weekly prediction about Mack’s future what would it be?
Big Cigar: Now or after KSU? Again, if KSU wins I doubt Mack wants to come back in the face of all the negativity. He feeds off of pats on the back. He’s not getting that anymore. In fact, I haven’t seen this much negative sentiment since Mackovic was about to be fired. The people with the most influence are sick of the results and it’s coming from all different angles. So yeah, I think we’ll be talking about Mack retiring around the banquet weekend if KSU goes like most think it will go. If Mack doesn’t retire in that scenario, then Deloss may be looking for a job as well. He’s almost as talked about as Mack is nowadays.
Jesus Shuttlesworth: Interesting. How extensive do you think the coaching search will be? How much money will be involved? Who will head it up? Just give us some of your thoughts on that process.
Big Cigar: The Athletic Council in conjunction with the athletic department and some booster influences will form a search committee. They’ll probably hire a firm to do some preliminary screening and vetting like they did with the assistant coach hires. If your agent news is accurate then that’s the first domino in the process, which leads me to believe it’s a lone booster or two reaching out to these firms. The BOR would have to meet in some way to decide on dollar amounts for offers and other financial matters. They could meet informally, so if you hear about a meeting like that then that’s a sign things are moving. Again, I haven’t heard that’s the case though. As for dollar amounts, I’m guessing we’d pay whatever it took for the right candidate. I know if a couple of the bigger money guys had their way they’d spare no expense to get an all-star coaching staff if they thought it meant winning right away. These guys want to enjoy the fruits of their labor with a winning program—some of them are motivated to make that happen right now.
Jesus Shuttlesworth: Let’s move on to the TCU game and talk about some of the drama during and after the game. What can you share about the QB situation?
Big Cigar: I’m told Ash had a dislocated rib going into the game and aggravated it early in the game against TCU. He uses a lot of torque in his midsection to throw the ball so the injury really hampered his ability to throw. After the fumble there was a disagreement between Coach Harsin and Coach Brown about going to Case McCoy. Coach Harsin relented but told David to keep his head in the game because he was going to try to get him back in the game in the second half. At half time, Coach Harsin talked Coach Brown into giving David one more shot, but Ash’s poor play made the decision easy to go back to Case.
Jesus Shuttlesworth: Can you talk about Coach Harsin’s relationship with Case and why he wanted to stick with Ash?
Big Cigar: Coach Harsin isn’t all that fond of Case because of the politicking early in Case’s career and obviously his refusal to go back in during the Oklahoma game. But Case has been a good teammate this season so Harsin has a better relationship with Case now. He just likes David better as a player and wanted him to have a chance to redeem himself after the 3 turnovers.
Jesus Shuttlesworth: Does this have anything to do with Brad McCoy being a helicopter dad?
Big Cigar: I doubt it. Coach Harsin doesn’t like players’ parents being allowed to practice uninvited, but that’s just the way of things. Coach Harsin is a professional and wouldn’t hold that against Case I don’t think.
Jesus Shuttlesworth: What happened in the post-game locker room?
Big Cigar: Honestly, I’ve never seen Mack like that. I guess a couple of players got into an argument after the game and Mack caught wind of it and he came storming in. He addressed the team for about 3 or 4 minutes and it didn’t make a lot of sense at all. He was disjointed, loud, and really hysterical about the whole thing. He looked and acted like a guy that knew he had lost control. It was embarrassing really and I doubt the kids got anything positive out of it.
Jesus Shuttlesworth: None of this sounds good at all for Mack and the program. Thanks for keeping us posted though. Let’s hope all the parties involved have the good of the program at the top of their priority list.
Big Cigar: Yep.
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