IT Blog: Greg Davis...Average OC, Great HC?

Inside Texas' Ross Lucksinger reexamines the old question of how good Greg Davis really is and argues that the Texas offensive coordinator would actually make a better head coach than coordinator.

Ah, yes. The most galvanizing argument in all of Texas football. But what is it that draws so much out of people in the debate? Such a dichotomy of positions.

The main cause of the argument is his occasionally curious choices of formations and plays. The Texas coaching staff admitted that the Texas running game would need to be completely overhauled in the off-season and at times it seems that the staff was not using its personnel to the fullest of their potential. But at the same time, Davis, as Texas' quarterbacks coach, guided a redshirt freshman to the Longhorns' single season passing TDs record.

Talent well-developed (and quite quickly I might add), but improperly utilized.

Because of the exact nature of each of his relative advantages and disadvantages, Davis, while having great successes and great failures as an offensive coordinator, will become a great head coach when he finally leaves Texas.

The quick and easy refutation to my argument is:

"But Ross, wasn't Greg Davis already a head coach? And wasn't it an absolute disaster?"

Too true.

Davis was promoted from wide receivers/assistant head coach to head coach at Tulane in 1988 when Mack Brown left for North Carolina. In his three seasons at Tulane, Brown had taken a 1-10 team to a winning record in 1987 (6-5). When Davis was given the job, he steadily took a team with a winning record to 1-10.

You can see almost a perfect arch in the level of Tulane's success over those seven seasons, which concluded with Davis' firing. Observe:

Under Mack Brown:
1985 – 1-10
1986 – 4-7
1987 – 6-5

Uner Greg Davis:
1988 – 5-6
1989 – 4-8
1990 – 4-7
1991 – 1-10

Now, there are a wide variety of factors that contributed to the collapse, but facts are facts. The team steadily declined under Davis.

But the young Davis was really in over his held with a relatively untalented Tulane squad that an assistant coach with no collegiate head coaching experience wasn't going to fix.

Much has changed since then. He's accomplished some very impressive things while at Texas and each of them are key to being the head coach of a successful program.

He's a great developer of talent, with two starting quarterbacks in the NFL and the non-sensically fast development of Colt McCoy. He's an honest person who does a spectacular job of communicating. He's a good manager of people and his players genuinely like him. He's also shown aggressiveness in many situations that are important for a head coach to be aggressive in, such as always attacking deep after getting a turnover.

Proponents of Davis point to mind-bogglingly impressive statistics year after year. Equally valid, opponents point to wide receiver screens in the red zone and swing passes on 3rd and 8 that go nowhere. But the assumption is that Davis wouldn't be calling plays as those responsibilities should fall to his offensive coordinator at his new job.

In essence, the primary complaint against Davis at Texas wouldn't be a factor if he's a head coach because it would fall outside his responsibilities.

Most importantly, he's now been under Mack Brown, one of the greatest managers of a program in all of college football, for 14 years.

Interest in Davis has primarily been lukewarm. He's been contacted, but not by any program that has sparked his interest. Becoming a head coach again is something Davis would like to do, but said it would have to be the "right situation."

His "right situation" is going to have to be somewhere in between the lower tier programs he's been contacted by and the higher tier ones he's expressed interest in, but when he finally does find that middle ground, many Texas fans will be surprised at how good as a head coach he really will be.

What do you think?

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