So, as you know, I have been critical of the job Coach Jinks did this year. Here's a year-end piece in the Sentinel that is a show-stopper. It is an interview with Coach and he's incredibly honest. I'm impressed. He concedes they jammed Air Raid down the team's throat. He concedes they didn't evaluate talent well. He concedes part of that is the young coaches he brought along. He concedes they make adjustments too slowly as the season unfolded. He even concedes that he should have been here instead of coaching Texas Tech in the bowl game.
I'm not going to steal the piece's thunder. Head over and read it. A highlight.
The midseason adjustments...."somebody should have known. It wouldn’t have made much of a difference, but we wouldn’t have gotten embarrassed by 70. And that’s where we could have lost them. If you go lose by 70 in two out of the first four weeks, we’re lucky to still be coaching here." (emphasis added).
I give Jinks props for this. There is not one excuse in the story and there's total accountability. I give him credit for that. And I think he's right. Most of the things he talks about are things that came up in other places, including my post-season review. This was a challenging year made worse by Coach Jinks and his staff.
This took some courage and not just any coach would have been able to do it. Read the story again, and try to imagine those words coming out of the mouth of Lane Kiffin, Tim Beckman, Rich Rodriguez...or Dino Babers, for that matter. Cannot be done.
He concedes his assistants are young and we paid a price for it. The Sentinel story cuts him a break by pointing out that Jinks only had 3 years of Big 12 contacts and that we can't hire Big 12 assistants because the lowest-paid assistant in that conference makes more than our highest-paid assistant.
That's fine and I'm sure it's true. It is just another reason why Coach Jinks was a poor fit for an FBS head coaching job at this point in his career. Hiring assistants is one of the key elements of success, and a better-travelled coach would have had more contacts and been better able to bring in a staff where they wouldn't think they were "lucky to still be coaching here" and we could have had a guy like that.
But that is done. Jinks is our guy. And he's a stand-up guy. Whether he can win at this level or the curve is just too steep...that remains to be seen. OK, we learned some lessons, but remember the competition improves every year too. We have to improve more.
He is certainly not happy. He isn't letting the staff have things easy during December. Since "we are supposed to be playing ball right now," he has his staff working around the clock on all kinds of projects, just to remind them that we not playing in December and it is not acceptable.
The staff is going to return in full, according to the article. This is not a surprise. It isn't great news, but it isn't a surprise. Problem is, they're not going to go from what is described in the article to fully-formed assistants in one year. They should get better and maybe by a lot, but some of them could be 10 years from being at the level we need them to be. The assistants on the other side of the field in our conference have that kind of experience and seasoning. And that clearly matters.
Anyway, here comes 2017. As I noted earlier, big recruiting month ahead. This didn't have to be this way, but it is how it is now. He's our coach....until he wins and leaves or loses and leaves. Let's hope it is the former.