After John Thompson's resignation as the defensive coordinator for the Texas State Bobcats, athletic director Larry Teis and head coach Dennis Franchione are in the awkward position of having to find both an interim coordinator before October 10th's road game at ULL and a permanent coordinator for the 2016 season.
Texas State doesn't have an interim DC named yet, although Brad Franchione or d-line coach Mike Hudson seem like the most likely candidates. But who will get the job full time, assuming Dennis Franchione returns for the 2016 season?
Here's a stab at who could get realistically considered for the position. This is not an insider's list: I don't purport to have any privileged information from the halls of power in the Casey Building on this subject. It's just my educated guess at who might make the shortlist, so take what you will from it.
Keep in mind that this is all assuming that Texas State hires a defensive coordinator at the end of the season after appointing an interim as caretaker for the rest of 2015. This is also assuming that Dennis Franchione won't retire or be let go at the end of the season, with the former being more likely than the latter.
Michael Collins, Sam Houston State Defensive Coordinator
Pros: He's been around the block. His defensive coordinator stints includes stops at ULM, Northwestern State, McNeese State, and now SHSU. He also served as linebackers coach under Nick Saban at LSU. His McNeese teams were Southland conference champs in 2009 and runners-up in 2010, and he was obviously on board during SHSU's run to the FCS semifinals last year.
Texas State would offer him a solid chance to get back into the FBS ranks and help his coaching star burn a little brighter.
Cons: SHSU's defense has been less than stellar this season. Texas Tech scoring 59 on the Bearkats was one thing, but Lamar of all teams dumping 49 on what should've been an FCS title contender was troubling. His defense also had a slow start to the 2014 season, although things mostly got better as the season wore on. And for some reason, he hasn't broke into the FBS coordinator ranks outside of his four years at ULM in the early 2000's.
There's also the matter of money. Namely, Texas State only paid John Thompson $22,000 more per year than what Collins makes at SHSU. Would poaching him from Huntsville be possible without a major raise as an incentive?
Big Picture: He has plenty of experience, he's nearby, and he's probably attainable with the right salary offer. His experience in the Southland means Larry Teis probably knows him too.
Jason Washington, Houston Special Teams Coordinator/defensive backs coach
Pros: Washington was the man responsible for developing last year's excellent cornerback tandem of Craig Mager and David Mims, and was the powerhouse behind Texas State's solid recruiting classes before being lured to Houston this past offseason. He's also an alumnus and is already highly familiar with the program. He's a bright young assistant who could end up being a very exciting candidate to hand the program off to as head coach once he gets a few more years of calling plays under his belt.
Cons: Lack of playcalling experience is a bit of a concern. And believe it or not, Texas State might not be able to afford him. John Thompson was paid a paltry $132,000 for an annual salary. Washington makes more at Houston as a special teams coordinator at $176,000 per year.
Also, some of those Bobcat defensive backs that have been getting torched the past four games were recruited by Washington. However, they were relatively highly regarded when they signed their LOIs, so it may be more of a reflection on the current staff's inability to develop talent rather than any fault on Washington's part.
Big Picture: Giving Washington a chance to take his first coordinator job with playcalling responsibilities at his alma mater would be a nice opportunity, but Texas State would likely have to offer a salary equal or higher than what UH is paying him as their DB coach.
Brad Franchione, Texas State Linebackers Coach/Special Teams Coordinator
Pros: Stability and continuity, for what that's worth at this point. He had a solid track record as a head coach at the JUCO level with Blinn with a 54-13 record and two national titles. And until this year, the linebacking corps has been a relative strength for Texas State with the likes of David Mayo, Joplo Bartu, and Mike Orakpo being anchors for past defenses.
Special teams was a major strength last year as well with Will Johnson at punter, and Lumi Kaba is looking solid this season at the same position. And we certainly know he'll say yes if the job's offered.
Cons: In addition to the optics of inevitable nepotism cracks that would be leveled at Dennis Franchione, this year's linebacking corps has been a disaster so far. Additionally, his only coaching experience at the Division 1 level has been with Texas State since 2011.
Big Picture: Honestly? Texas State could probably do worse. If you forget what his last name is, then his résumé's only glaring weakness is the lack of playcalling experience at the Division 1 level. Don't be surprised if Brad gets appointed as interim DC as a kind of audition for the permanent position.
What do you think about this list? Who do you think should be considered? Leave a comment below.