Sunday, December 4, 2011

Rumors and More Rumors

I’m always hesitant to write about coaching staff rumors—there’s just too much volatility and deceit in the profession to  stifle any rumor definitively.  Rich Rodriquez is an example—from the moment Rodriquez was named Don  Nehlen’s successor he began flirting with other schools (Kentucky, Alabama, and Michigan just to name a few) and most of his dalliances were behind the scenes and out of the public eye.

It’s the secret behind the scenes part that makes any coaching staff related rumor quashing a dangerous game. I can go out on a line and say a particular rumor is false and wake up tomorrow morning and read that the coach in question has snuck out of town to setup shop at his new school.

Yet, I’m confident enough to put myself on a line to hopefully quash at lease one of the two particularly bothersome rumors  floating about cyberspace.

Jeff Casteel may join Rich at Arizona. Casteel has an offer and WVU will make a counteroffer--but I don't expect it to be enough. Whatever Jeff decides will be all about his desire to be a head coach someday and has nothing to do with his relationship with Dana Holgorsen.

Rumors about Dana and Jeff having disagreements are overblown and completely out of proportion. Do they disagree sometimes? Certainly. Have these minor disagreements impacted their working relationship to the point that Casteel would leave WVU for Arizona—absolutely  not. Dana respects Casteel and considers him to be one of the premier defensive minds in all of college football.

The rumors about Dana Holgorsen are false… Hugh Freeze is the new ball coach at Ole Miss and Dana was never in contact with them, or anyone else.

I think Dana Holgorsen will be a great coach, but he hasn’t earned his coaching spurs yet and would be considered a “risky” hire by a lot of “blue blood” programs. I’m not sure exactly how to put this but let’s just say WVU has a lot of people who make sure Dana’s leisure activities don’t make it into the evening news. 

My bet is that Holgorsen stays at WVU a long time. He likes West Virginia. He likes that the can be a young head-coach with a lot of expendable income and be able to enjoy life without being the scandal of the day. Dana is a lot like his mentor Mike Leach, he prefers a small, football crazy, atmosphere where his eccentricities contribute to his reputation rather than detract from it.

I just don’t see Dana leaving anytime soon.

But what if Dana would leave? Who would be in-line to replace Dana if he left? How about Rich Rodriguez? I know Rich is still the most unpopular man in West Virginia and many Mountaineer fans have called me delusional for even suggesting “The Products” return, but consider this: as long as Rich has big-dollar boosters behind him the door will be open for him to come back.

Mountaineer fans tend to panic when a coach leaves under his own power. We immediately think we’re not good enough and don’t even stop to consider other factors that may come into play when a coach leaves. So, just for the sake of argument, let’s say Dana is successful at WVU and suddenly leaves for someplace like Texas or USC.  If Rich is successful at Arizona, a panicked Mountaineer fan base would   welcome him back as the savior of WVU football.

Go ahead and laugh, call me crazy and prepare the rubber-room but Rich Rodriquez wants to coach at WVU again.

We don’t have to worry about that right now. Neither Dana or Jeff is leaving and Rich still needs to win at Arizona and continue to rehabilitate his image in West Virginia, but mark my words… Rich Rodriguez will return. 

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