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NCAA Football Texas Longhorns

Texas Longhorns: 5 Potential Replacements For Mack Brown

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Texas Longhorns: 5 Possible Replacements For Mack Brown

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Multiple reports are suggesting that Texas head coach Mack Brown will step down by the end of the week, fueling further speculation that Alabama coach Nick Saban will be coming to Austin to succeed him. Some other big names have been mentioned as well, including a couple of current NFL head coaches, but it’s worth wondering if the Longhorns’ brand carries the national notoriety it once did since they’ve not been a national title contender in the last few years.

Other big names on the college level will surely continue to be mentioned as potential candidates to replace Brown, including Urban Meyer, Art Briles, Gary Patterson, Mike Gundy, Kevin Sumlin and Les Miles. But when putting together my list of potential candidates to take the job I am focusing on some less-notable candidates, that also seem a lot more realistic in the grand scheme of things.

New Texas athletic director Steve Patterson can and should aim high as he spearheads a potential search for a new football coach, but at this point I think the candidate pool will dry up quickly as the bigger names attached to the job choose to stay put. I also think it’s possible a search for a new coach is already underway in earnest, and if the right candidate does not emerge Brown may stay for one more year with an eye toward grooming someone on the current coaching staff as his successor.

Assuming the speculation surrounding Saban stays just that and other notable names choose to stay at their current job, here are my top five candidates to replace Brown as the head coach at Texas.

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5. Major Applewhite

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Applewhite was a quarterback at Texas from 1998-2001, and is currently the co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach for the Longhorns. He did serve as offensive coordinator at both Rice (2006) and Alabama (2007) before going back to his alma mater, so he has some coaching acumen and his name is certainly familiar to fans.

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4. Ed Orgeron

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Orgeron took over for a fired Lane Kiffin at USC in the middle of this season, and led the Trojans to a 6-2 record. But when Steve Sarkisian was hired as the new head coach Orgeron abruptly resigned despite a reported offer to stay on as an assistant, likely in the hopes of finding a head coaching job elsewhere. He had a 10-25 record in his previous stint as a head coach at Ole Miss (2005-2007).

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3. Bobby Petrino

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Petrino re-surfaced at Western Kentucky this year, and he led the Hilltoppers to an 8-4 record in his first season. But the weakness of the Sun Belt Conference has kept them out of a bowl despite those eight wins, and frankly that may lead Petrino to pursue greener pastures in a bigger conference.

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2. James Franklin

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Franklin has led Vanderbilt to a bowl game in each of this three seasons as head coach, which is a heck of an accomplishment given the Commodores’ dismal football history. His youth may be appealing to Texas, since he’ll turn 42 in February, and Franklin may view the job as a destination and not a stepping stone.

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1. Dabo Swinney

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Swinney has 50 wins over six seasons at Clemson, including two BCS bowl bids in the last three seasons and a 31-8 record in that span. He is a potential replacement for Saban at Alabama, since he played and coached at the school, but if Texas reached out Swinney may have to listen.