The coaching carousel has already begun. There has already been plenty of movement from both subsets of the FBS, the P5 and the G5, this season. With the first year of early national signing day happening in a month, every team that does not have a head coach is scrambling to get one to show recruits. In particular, the AAC is most likely to be poached with so many P5 jobs opening. SMU fans might want to start worrying now, as many teams have courted Chad Morris to take a leap over. Here are the teams that are still available that may come calling. I have put them in order of: least likely, there’s a chance, and a strong possibility.
Arkansas & Mississippi State
Neither school has linked Morris to head coaching job directly, but it isn’t out of the realm of possibilities. Morris, despite his poor record at SMU (14-22), has really put together a nice program. The Mustangs offense has a bunch of three star players that are playing like four or five star players. I have no doubt that he could continue this trend and bring it with him to one of these schools.
From a recruiting aspect, it would be tough for Morris. He is used to recruiting Texas, but Arkansas and Mississippi will have tough competition. Both are in the “powerhouse” SEC west, and Morris will have to fight off schools like Alabama and Auburn for elite talent needed to win in the highly competitive division. Both of these schools will want an offensive-minded coach to be able to compete with the tough defenses in the SEC west. Especially Mississippi State after seeing Dan Mullen take his offensive prowess to Florida.
While Morris is an option for these schools, they might want to go elsewhere. Someone like Blake Anderson at Arkansas State would be a good in-state option for Arkansas. We here at UDD hope that it does not happen, but anything is possible with schools moving so quickly. Mississippi State might be a little bit better of a fit for Morris, but I still do not think it is likely. Maybe a guy like Neal Brown could be a good fit there. Overall, I give Morris a 10% chance he heads to one of these schools.
There’s a chance
We saw the controversy with Greg Schiano earlier this week. It seemed like he was for sure going to be the next coach at Rocky Top. But fans decided to let the administration know what they thought of the hire.
Yikes. This was one of the nicer signs at the protest. So the search continues on for the Volunteers, and here is where things could get interesting for SMU fans. I think Morris could work here pretty well. He is in the SEC East division with much less real competition than in the West division. Tennessee has a national brand name so recruiting top prospects would be very easy, especially offensive talents. Morris brings absolutely no controversy, and a clean image, so there is no repeat of the Schiano outcry. Also Tennessee fans have to be fed up with the offense this year. Despite having a solid young quarterback with Jarret Guarrantano, the offense just has not clicked. Tennessee is averaging just under 20 points per game (19.8).
With all that being said, I still do not think this is the right option for him. I think Tennessee will probably want someone with a little more of a proven track record or proven success. I think Mike Norvell might be the perfect option for them. As of now though, Norvell is working on an extension to stay at Memphis. I think Tennessee will wait to see what happens next week with the AAC conference championship, before pulling the trigger. If Norvell stays at Memphis, expect Morris to be on a short list of candidates Tennessee would likely consider. I’ll give him a 20% chance he goes to Tennessee.
This is where things can get interesting. Morris is an A&M alum. He knows the Texas scene better than, arguably, any coach out there right now. Like Nebraska is to Scott Frost, Texas A&M may be to Chad Morris. There are not many chances to coach your former alma mater to victory. This could be Morris’ chance to step in, and have the Aggies competing for a championship.
Despite the obvious connection, there are a few negatives to the job that Morris may not like. First, A&M wants to win now. They fired Kevin Sumlin after another winning season, with a record of 7-5. This shows the level of patience this fan base has moving forward. They have the resources and will give any coach a huge amount of money just to have the Aggies back in the national spot.
The other big point to mention is A&M has him lower on their list of targets. The Jimbo Fisher rumors have been circling that he may leave Florida State, and A&M is willing to give him the moon as long as he wins. Morris, I’m certain, is on the list, is behind Fisher. If Fisher were to stay at FSU or go to a different school, Morris would shoot up on this list.
We will have to see what happens with Fisher’s status at FSU before anything happens with Morris. As of today, if he is available they would take him over Morris. I am not completely sold on Fisher leaving FSU though, and I think it is highly likely that Morris could leave to go to A&M. I’ll give him a 30% chance.
It all comes full circle. Maybe this year isn’t right for him to leave. Maybe he hasn’t won enough, and next year is his year to prove that he can be a successful coach at the P5 level. I think he loves Dallas and would want to stay in Texas. But only he knows what would be best for him and his family. I also think cultivating fans to come to games is going to be a huge factor in his decision moving forward.
There are a ton of factors that could prevent him from leaving this year, as I mentioned throughout the article. Thus, he could just stay put in Highland Park for at least another year. I will give him a 20% chance that he stays at SMU.
Where do you think Morris ends up?
This poll is closed