Wednesday, December 09, 2015

My Early Thoughts on Coach Jinks

So, BG acted fast and decisively and (to be sure) they acted boldly in picking a new head football coach to take over a championship-level program.


I will say this.  Chris Kingston has some set of balls on him.  This is no way includes playing it safe.  Whether it works out is another matter, and I don't mean that to be negative, but some things work out and some things don't.  At your job and my job, we're expected to actually do it and I'm sure Jinks feels the same way about his.

Here's the thing.

There's very little on paper that suggests that Mike Jinks is prepared to be a Division I Head Coach.  Yes, he was a successful HS Coach in Texas.  You're going to tell me that coaching HS in Texas is like coaching in college, and I'm going to tell you that I don't buy that.  I cannot think of a modern (last 20 years) coach who was successful at DI coaching only 3 years removed from coaching HS.  If you can, I'd love to hear about it.  (OK, you could give me Paul Brown, but that makes my point below, stand by.  Oh, and yeah, I know his background is very close to what Doyt Perry's looked like when he came to BG, too.).  NOTE: since this was posted a commenter pointed me to Art Briles as well.

The examples I can think of are Gerry Faust and Bill Blankenship at Tulsa.

I do agree, it is better than no head coaching experience and it is better than coaching HS in Indiana, but in my view it isn't the same as coaching college.

And then three years at Texas Tech--a very average program--as a position coach and one year as an associate head coach...that's just not a lot of track record to go on.

Now, Chris Kingston is nothing if not thorough.  He has done his homework.  Again, that's no guarantee of success, plenty of well researched and well thought out initiatives don't work.

So there has to be something else.

A lot of you are pointing me to Urban Meyer.  Yes, it is true, when BG hired Urban Meyer my reaction was "we couldn't even get a guy who had been a coordinator?"  First, Meyer had been a D1 assistant for 15 years, and while it was not as a coordinator it was 12 more than Jinks has.  And second, just to be clear, our examples so far are Urban Meyer, Doyt Perry and Paul Brown.

My point is that some people just have "it."  And I'm guessing that's what Kingston saw.  Regardless of whether you agree about coaching HS in Texas, there had to be people with more directly applicable head coaching experience that would have been interested in this job.  So, Kingston has to believe that Jinks has "it," meaning the undefinable quality that will make him a successful head coach.

Whether he is right, time will tell.

Based on some media reports and Twitter, Jinks is much loved in his area...with the "good coach and better person" idea at the forefront.  You'd expect his friends to be supportive of him--and Texas Tech fans probably think BG is high school coaching--but clearly he has built up a lot of good will in his neighborhood and that's good.

The University will put out a lot of quotes from other coaches on how perfect he is for the job, just as they did when Louis Orr and Gregg Brandon were hired.

Only one thing will speak without ambiguity, and that will be the results.  Back to having balls, if Jinks has "it" then it is an incredibly savvy move.  If he doesn't, it will look really dumb.

Obviously, I want to see it work out.  I'll be there, in my usual seat, yelling myself hoarse.

Last thing.  We won't know, but the chances of success for Jinks will largely be determined in the next two weeks when he hires assistants.  Both Clawson and Babers had outstanding staffs that were critical to their success.  Jinks is coming in without any holdover staff (in all probability), and the coaches who are on the staff will largely decide the answer to these questions. 

9 comments :

Anonymous said...

Art Briles went from high school head coach in Texas, to 3 years as RB coach at Texas Tech, to head coach at Houston.

Orange said...

OK...good example!

Anonymous said...

Chad Morris, former Clemson offensive coordinator was 1 year removed from HS when he got that job after being the Tulsa OC. Guz Malzahn at Auburn was less than 3 years removed from HS when he got the job at Arkansas State.

Dabo Swinney was a position coach on an average team before being promoted to head coach at Clemson. Like Meyer, personality matters big time, but staff and scheme matter just as much. He's coming from the #2 offense in the NCAA so that box is checked too.

afrankangle said...

Read all three posts. For me, a surprise hire. Given his lack of experience at the college level, he doesn't have as many connections within the coaching community - so although he may have it at the head coaching level, this lack of connections is troublesome when it comes to building a coaching staff. Do you know if he be involved with the bowl game?

Orange said...

Both the coaches you mention were out if HS 5 years before being head coaches and neither has had time to demonstrate whether they are successful or not.

Anonymous said...

Malzahn has been successful, and Morris had a rough year at SMU but that was due to a lack of talent. Look at his success at Clemson and what he left behind. As you rightly mentioned, a top high school coach in Texas is the equivalent of a smaller college head coach anywhere else...at least.

Plus, Jinks has just been in the Big 12 for 3 years and was Associate Head Coach. He's seen football at the highest level and his background is nearly identical to Briles.

Orange said...

Correction. I don't think being a HS coach in Texas is equal to being a college coach.

TXFootball said...

It's big time down there. The recruiting and booster pressure might be more intense than many colleges. Others to have success quickly closely removed from big-time programs (5-6 years instead of 3 but that's a minor distinction) include South Alabama's Joey Jones and UAB's Bill Clark.

He's not a big name to us. He's a gigantic name in the coaching community. Big names can have ways of not always working out, and the list that proves that is longer than the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Orange said...

Well, OK. Joey Jones has a losing record and has never had a season above.500. The guy at UAB obviously was laboring under pretty bad circumstances, so that's not going to prove anything either way.

I hope you're right. I have benefitted from the discussion on this issue in terms of coaches making quick moves to college from high school. To me it seems like there's only one unqualified success as a head coach, maybe two, Malzahn obviously one had big year but his record has gotten worse every year since then. Morris, not yet.

It is more common an approach than I thought. I think some of this Texas stuff is typical Texas self-aggrandizement, for whatever that is worth.

But the question will be answered eventually. Either he will succeed or he will not.