Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Mack Brown must have known that after the staggering disappointment of his Texas team's 5-7 2010 season, it was going to take a lot of work to get the Longhorns back on track. But even he might not have known how much work there was really going to be.
First there was the defection of coach-in-not-waiting-any-longer Will Muschamp to Florida. Then came the departure of four other coaches who were not asked to return to the Longhorn staff by Brown. And now multiple outlets are reporting that longtime secondary coach Duane Akina will be leaving Austin after 10 seasons to take the same position at Arizona.
This report from the Houston Chronicle cites sources claiming that the deal had not been finalized just yet, but added that Brown was "not shocked" Akina might bolt to a school where he spent 14 seasons in the '80s and '90s. (CBS's own Bryan Fischer also reported that Akina was the only Texas assistant not wearing a Longhorn t-shirt at the recent American Football Coaches Association convention.) At this stage, all signs point towards Akina making the departure official ... oh, any minute now.
It's just one more headache for Brown as he tries to piece together his new staff. Four coaches have already been hired, including an impressive new pair of coordinators in Bryan Harsin and Manny Diaz, but the Longhorns still have no offensive line coach after both Auburn's Jeff Grimes and Oklahoma State's Bob Wickline told Brown "thanks, but no thanks." With Signing Day only days away and key recruits hanging in the balance (behind Grimes, Auburn has made a late charge for five-star tackle Christian Westerman), Brown now has to worry about finding not one but two coaches with most of the quality candidates already locked up.
Brown's handled worse, and with Harsin and Diaz in the fold, his most critical hires have already been completed in optimism-inspiring fashion. But until the last of the six new faces on staff are in place and their impact on the 'Horns 2011 recruiting class is decided, Brown's not going to sleep easy, and neither will Texas fans.