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UTSA's hire of their next offensive coordinator is the biggest off-field turning point for the Roadrunners' young program since they were accepted into Conference USA.
The Roadrunners have struggled mightily over the last two seasons, compiling a 7-17 record with some highly embarrassing losses turned in. Offensive coordinator Kevin Brown was not able to make it through another season of intense scrutiny as the program decided to terminate his contract after consecutive years of quarterback turnover and poor offensive performance.
With UTSA starting to fall behind their peers this hire will be extremely telling in regards to UTSA's ability to compete with the rest of the Group of 5 programs in the state and Conference USA. As football programs across the nation increase their spending on coaching staff salaries, UTSA will have to find a way to extend competitive salary offers despite a general lack of funding for the young program.
This hire is also crucial as 68 year old Larry Coker approaches retirement. UTSA may be wise to regard this hire as a potential heir to the Roadrunner throne.
Here are a few guys that I think UTSA should pursue to fill the open position. Please note, this is purely speculation unless otherwise noted.
Here's your grand slam hire. Mike Jinks is a local legend in San Antonio after somehow finding a way to win at miserable Burbank before turning Cibolo Steele into a state champion in just the school's fifth year of football. Jinks is the best recruiter in the city and commands the most respect of any coach in San Antonio outside of DW Rutledge. Don't take my word for it, check out what one of his former players put on his Wikipedia page. Unfortunately for UTSA, Jinks will be very difficult to land. While Texas Tech will definitely fight to keep him, he's also been linked to a position at the University of Texas. With that being said, UTSA does offer Jinks' clearest path to becoming a head coach, a job that I've been assured he is very interested in.
If Jinks is a grand slam then Traylor is a three-run home run. Jinks just get the extra RBI for his local ties. Traylor is guaranteed to be the hottest young coach in football in a couple of seasons and his run schemes at Gilmer High School were some of the best I've ever seen. He's a great recruiter with a ton of connections in talent-rich East Texas. Rumored to be in line for a promotion at UT.
Finally an attainable candidate! As recruiting coordinator, Mehringer has played a huge role in Houston's incredible recruiting success over the past two years. A Mansfield native, he has Texas ties and spent a valuable year learning under Urban Meyer as a graduate assistant. Mehringer pretty much hits all of the checkmarks in what I would be looking for if I was UTSA.
A lot of UTSA fans just rolled their eyeballs at me but Bush needs to be addressed. Bush was UTSA's first offensive coordinator after serving six seasons at Texas State. The Roadrunners averaged 26.6 points per games and 364.5 yards per game in 2011 before he was poached by Houston. After one season as running backs coach he was promoted to offensive coordinator after Mike Nesbitt was fired after the Cougars' first game of 2012. Bush was not retained by the university after head coach Tony Levine was fired. Reports indicate that Bush has reached out to UTSA to express interest in the job, as one would expect an unemployed coach to do.
To put it bluntly, this would be a very lazy and uninspired hire for UTSA. They've set precedent for bringing coaches back on staff after being fired elsewhere (Tony Jeffery) but this hire is too important to punt on. I've already had several season ticket holders promise me that they would not renew their tickets if Bush were to be rehired.
Hey, you know this name! Didn't even have to Google it! Yes, the former Heisman finalist is a big name that could be attainable on the cheap but obviously that comes with a catch as he's only been coaching for one year. That being said, he knows the air raid as well as anyone else and would obviously have a lot of success recruiting in Texas. Simply put, UTSA is going to have to take some risk with this hire and it's probably better to bet on someone who's only knock is a lack of experience.
A solid, off-the-radar option, Mainord brings strong Texas ties and air raid knowledge with a little bit more ink on his resume. With stops at Tarleton State, Sam Houston State, Lamar, and Texas Tech, Mainord certainly knows his way around the UTSA recruiting path. For what it's worth, his offense hasn't seen a ton of success at Kentucky this season and his receivers are far from big play threats.
Yes I'm going to the Mike Leach/Hal Mumme tree again. Can you blame me? While Mastro has spent his last three seasons under Leach in Pullman, he has actually spent the majority of his coaching career learning the intricacies of the pistol offense under its innovator Chris Ault at Nevada. Between those two great offensive minds Mastro has probably absorbed more knowledge about running a college football offense than any other position coach in the profession. Mastro's biggest knock is missing those coveted Texas recruiting ties.
Longo has slowly worked his way up the coaching ranks from some place called William Paterson University to FCS powerhouse and offensive juggernaut Sam Houston State. SHSU is scoring 43 points per game with a healthy 264:280 rushing/passing yardage split out of Longo's uptempo variant of the air raid. Longo isn't a perfect fit for a lot of the requirements I would be looking for but his offense is obviously phenomenal.