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Colorado Buffaloes Head Coaching Search – What We Think We Know (or Pretend to Know)

Rumors have been swirling. One day Troy Calhoun is the leader in the clubhouse to fill the vacant Colorado Buffaloes head coaching job, one day it is Bill McCartney, then it's Les Miles might sneak out the back door into Boulder.

Bottom line, take your time, get it right. Of course, we don't want to be sitting here in January without a coach trying to fill the 2011 recruiting class but rumor is Athletic Director Mike Bohn is making the candidates not only interview but also present what assistant coaches the potential head man could bring to Boulder. Everyone stand up and applaud if that is true. As Buff fans, we realize the importance of assistant coaches and bringing the whole squad over, not just a few pieces.

Other things we think we know...maybe:

It has been reported by multiple outlets that Air Force coach Troy Calhoun is not in the running for the job. John Henderson of the Denver Post has repeatedly stated he is the leading candidate. Right now, he is wrong. My thoughts: I like Calhoun, I think he is a good coach, has NFL experience and has been given great recommendations but many NFL head coaches. That being said, it would be hard for Mike Bohn to sell another non-BCS, non "Colorado Buffalo man" hire. I would be curious what other NFL type assistant coaching talent Calhoun could have brought with him. That part got me excited about the thought of Calhoun coming to Colorado

Houston Nutt is assumed to have interest in the job but Mike Bohn & Co does not. Good.

Two things have really bothered me over the past couple of days. Rodney Stewart being left off the All Big 12 team by the coaches and the Boulder Daily Camera article stating 15-20 faculty members have wrote the Colorado administration disapproving of Bill McCartney coming back to Boulder for his Christianity beliefs and criminal records of players 20 years ago. If I had the extra time, it would be fun to dig up some of the backgrounds of these faculty members who claim to be liberal, open thinkers. It is a shame McCartney, who wants to come back and help the University resurrect itself, was the subject of this article. My favorite rule of thumb when assessing why Colorado is Colorado and why Oklahoma is Oklahoma: WWOD - What Would Oklahoma Do? Little doubt OU wouldn't have this sort of discussion going on without it being squashed quickly.

Interim Head Coach Brian Cabral interviewed for the head coaching job on Monday. I just don't see him getting the nod as head coach. Hopefully he can be obtained as linebackers coach or defensive coordinator.  His value to the program cannot be questioned.

Les Miles. Is he the X-factor? Is that what Mike Bohn is waiting on? Can the University afford this sort of transaction as well as guarantee his assistants the right salary to come with Miles? History doesn't suggest so. The story is nice on the outside - Les Miles would come to Colorado, escaping the intense and fickle SEC fans, riding off in the Boulder sunset to bring the program back to prominence. Along the way, take a pay cut, have one year contracts for your assistant coaches, take a step back in facilities, take a step back in terms of proximity of recruiting grounds and let's face it, Colorado is not LSU in any stretch when talking football programs. Nice story, like I said and his nickname is the Mad Hatter so who knows but it would be hard for me to logically say this is real possibility. He obviously would be a slam dunk hire, it would bring the University great validation overnight and the credibility of the football program would grow leaps and bounds.

Looks like we can cross Troy Calhoun and Houston Nutt off the list based on actual reports. Bill McCartney now has an uphill battle also considering his age and his time away from the game. Brian Cabral is still in the game but the noise around him has fallen off after the Nebraska loss. Les Miles seems like a pipe dream.

That leaves two that we have heard about. Certainly, the list may be longer than what we know and other candidates may exist. Former Buff players Jon Embree and Eric Bieniemy are the two that seem to be the leader(s) in the clubhouses. Both interviewed this past weekend in Washington D.C. before the Washington Redksins (where Embree is the tight ends coach) faced the Minnesota Vikings (where Bieniemy is the running backs coach). The question on everyone's mind is will both of them come over, if one is tabbed with the head coach title and the other as offensive coordinator assuming both initial interviewed for the head coaching job. Back when Hawkins was fired, many were excited at the possibility of the triumvirate of Bill McCartney, Jon Embree and Eric Bieniemy.  

The questions/concerns surrounding each are certainly valid. Neither has been higher than a position coach, certainly no head coach experience at the college or pro level.  Questions will come up about the staff they can assemble which is why I think the rumor of Mike Bohn making candidates present their entire staff makes sense and is important. The Buffs will need some experience behind Embree and/or Bieniemy. No one can answer what offensive or defensive scheme each coach will run which has to be an unsettling feeling for any athletic director, especially Mike Bohn who is trying to hire his second head football coach after the first one failed miserably. Many will like the prior connection to the school and Bieniemy does have a nice ring to his opening recruiting line: I was a former All American at Colorado, played in the NFL, coached players like Adrian Peterson and Maurice Jones Drew at the pro and college level.

If Bieniemy and/or Embree are named head coach, the talent level of the staff around them cannot be stressed enough.

But again, the feelings/rumor change everyday...stay tuned.