Just weeks away from National Signing Day the Texas Longhorns still don't have an offensive line coach and now they've lost one of the top defensive assistances in the nation. Of course this story is going to be spun in several different way but there are two things that ring loud and clear from this. First, all is not well with the Texas coaching staff and even with the new coordinators there was still turmoil on the staff.
At some point early this week, possibly even today, the Arizona Wildcats are going to announce the hiring of Duane Akina as defensive backs coach. You'll hear stories of how this is what Akina wanted, how it was a part of the overall Longhorn plan and its a happy ending for everyone involved.
Here's the deal. Its a lateral move! Not only that but its a step down in program prestige and in salary. In 2010 Akina made $318,509 as the Texas defensive backs coach. He leaving that position to take on a position that pays $230,000 per year. So the million dollar question is why?
The road to a defensive coordinator position is better paved through Austin, Texas than Tucson, Arizona. The fanbase and media attention is much greater in Austin and that's not taking into account the current state of the two programs. Why would anyone wanting to step up to a defensive coordinator job make a lateral move to a lesser program? Why, with the current state of our economy, would a person take a job that pays almost $90,000 less per year for the same responsibilities?
Here's why. Mack Brown showed last year that when things are going great he's got no problem taking the credit but when the season has tanked and the wheels are falling off the wagon there's no one he won't throw under the bus in an effort to deflect blame. Loyalty and proven track records don't go very far with Mack Brown (Just ask Greg Robinson) and Akina knew that.
Don't let Texas fans tell you they're better off without Akina either. This is the same guy that many Longhorn fans were afraid would leave with former Longhorn savior Will Muschamp. Then when it became evident Akina was staying they wanted him to be promoted to defensive coordinator. Now he's gone again and this time its legit.
Akina wanted out of Texas plain in simple. There's no getting around that and his departure hurts in more ways than one. He's one of the top defensive back coaches in the Big 12 and quite possibly one of the best recruiters on the Texas staff.
Grab your popcorn and iced tea because the fallout from this one is going to be fun to watch. On a bright note for Sooner fans, it looks the circus known as Texas Longhorn football that began in 2010 is going to carry over into 2011.