Football

If a coach has to quarantine, who would step in?

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One of the many questions about the upcoming football season is what happens if a player has to enter quarantine on game week. But there’s another question worth knowing the answer to; what would happen if a coach has to quarantine?

Old friend Mack Brown was recently asked this question.

Football Scoop’s Zach Barnett uncovered the already-on-the-books NCAA rule that would allow teams to do this:

11.7.1.1.2 Replacement Due to Extenuating Circumstances. [A] An institution may replace temporarily or on a limited basis one of its countable coaches if the coach is unable to perform any or all of his or her duties because of extenuating circumstances (e.g., suspension, prolonged serious illness, pregnancy). The replacement coach may perform only those coaching, administrative or recruiting duties, including the telephoning of prospective student-athletes that the replaced coach is unable to perform.

In 2018, this rule was applied to Texas when former offensive coordinator Tim Beck was unable to travel to Manhattan due to an infection for Texas’ game versus Kansas State. As a result, former Texas analyst and current New Mexico quarterbacks coach Jordan Salkin sat in the booth in place of Beck.

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The most important question in this hypothetical is what happens if Tom Herman needs to quarantine?

Texas became generous with titles during the offseason coaching search, giving Jay Boulware the title of associate head coach for special teams and Mark Hagen the title of associate head coach for defense.

However, since Herman hired Stan Drayton away from the NFL, Drayton has held the title of associate head coach in addition to running backs coach. He is one of a few holdovers from Herman’s original Texas staff, and the two go back to Ohio State.

Now, what happens if one of Texas’ assistant coaches needed to quarantine? That’s when one of Texas’ analysts or even a graduate assistant would step in.

Herman has opened the door for Texas to become the west-of-the-Mississippi version of the home for wayward coaches. He has not only picked up former college head coaches, but also former college assistants trying to get back into a similar role and former collegiate players trying to break into the industry.

Here are Texas analysts as listed in the official UT athletics directory.

Dillon Fedora

Fedora the Younger did not follow his father (Larry) Fedora the Elder to Baylor, opting to stick around in Austin. That is a career first for him after he played for his father at Southern Miss, coached under him at North Carolina, and followed him as an analyst to Texas.

Dillon remains on staff, and social media posts throughout the past year indicated he coached the tight ends. Considering the rest of the analyst staff, it doesn’t seem like that role is set to change. Fedora likely won’t be thrust into any playcalling duties, but if necessity leads Boulware to be responsible on gameday for another role, Fedora would likely become the tight ends coach.

Jeremiah George

Former Iowa State and 2013 first team All-Big 12 linebacker Jeremiah George already has experience at Texas as the linebackers coach should he need to be elevated. George took over as interim linebackers coach following Todd Orlando’s dismissal, and coached the group through the bowl game. Should a reshuffling on the defensive side take place, George could easily slide into the role coaching linebackers.

Casey Horny

Casey Horny has been a special teams analyst for his entire tenure at Texas. There isn’t any indication his purview would expand outside of that in a pinch.

Dave Huxtable

The addition of Huxtable in the offseason gives Texas two analysts on the defensive side of the ball with experience calling defenses at the Power 5 level. Huxtable, who has been a defensive coordinator at North Carolina State, Pitt, UCF, North Carolina, and Georgia Tech, also has experience coaching linebackers, and defensive linemen.

Texas’ redundant defensive line coaches in Mark Hagen and Oscar Giles should mean that Huxtable won’t have to help in the trenches. Huxtable’s experience calling plays at the Power 5 level could mean that if something were to prevent Chris Ash from standing on the sidelines, Huxtable could step in for him.

John Miller

Miller’s connection to Texas is through former wide receiver coach Drew Mehringer and current analyst Everett Withers. Miller played wide receiver for both during his career at James Madison.

Miller is still relatively new to the coaching ranks. If Andre Coleman needed to shift his responsibilities elsewhere, which seems unlikely given his specialization, Miller could step in and coach Texas’ young wideouts.

JW Walsh

Walsh’s presence on the staff is of great value. The Denton Guyer product played for both Mike Grundy and Mike Yurcich while at Oklahoma State, and is the son of new San Marcos High School head coach John Walsh.

If Yurcich needed to quarantine, playcalling returning to Herman seems much more likely than it falling to Walsh. Still, Walsh would likely replace Yurcich as the quarterbacks coach on game day even if he doesn’t take over all of his duties.

Everett Withers

A multi-time head coach with NFL experience, Withers is another valuable addition to the analyst staff. He spent 2019 as the New York Giants’ defensive backs coach after he was dismissed by Texas State.

Like Huxtable, Withers could possibly step into multiple roles including coaching any secondary position as well as linebackers if something were to happen to Chris Ash or Jay Valai. He could also call plays if necessary should Ash be held out of gameday activities.

Blind Spot

Who would replace Herb Hand? None of the analysts have any experience coaching or playing offensive line.

Roberto Limon, a spring addition to the program as a graduate assistant, might get the call up from single A to the majors if Hand is unable to patrol the sidelines. Though he would likely fill the title of OL coach in Hand’s absence, other coaches on the staff would undoubtedly help the young graduate assistant in his responsibilities on gameday.