Everybody loves brackets and we all have opinions on the search for the next great coach to lead our Golden Gophers. Well it is time that you all have a say in the matter (and by having a say I mean pushing a button on the internet as an anonymous lurker and the results of said button pushing will have absolutely no bearing on the actual outcome of the coaching search). It is time for the voting to start and Gopher Nation to be allowed to speak.
We are no into the Elite Eight! This is a battle of opposites. Shannon is a defensive minded coach who has lost with more. Leach is an offensive guy who has won with less. Who will prevail?
Current Position: ESPN Analyst, former Oregon HC
TDG Candidate Profile
Why? - Shannon was a very good defensive coordinator for several seasons at Miami before taking over as head coach. In six seasons as the DC he coached five units that ranked in the top 10 nationally in total defense. That is hard to do at any program with any recruiting base in your backyard. His recruiting has also been very good. Sure, he has 5-star recruits within blocks of his office but he's done a very good job getting ranked classes with kids from all over. For his 2007 class he was forced to work with a limited time frame after the Larry Coker firing. He managed to steal a local commit previously committed to Alabama, nabbed a Nebraska native and a premier DT out of Georgia. 2008 was the #1 class in the country according to ESPN and 2009 was #7. Having spent nearly 20 years playing, coaching and recruiting in the Miami area he clearly has contracts and relationships that would pay off in recruiting. Lastly, the U is making a concerted effort towards diversity in this hiring process. Randy Shannon would be the Big Ten's first black head coach since 2002.
Why Not? - He hasn't turned those recruiting classes into dominating teams. With top 15 classes four years in a row he's managed a 26-20 record. He's participated in and won just as many bowl games as Tim Brewster. Ultimately I just don't know how or why this makes much sense. Shannon has spent every minuted of his coaching career in the 305 area code. He not only hasn't spent any time above the Mason-Dixon line, he hasn't spent any time above the Florida panhandle! The pressure might be coming to a boil for him in Miami but I don't know if Minnesota is the right place for him to land.
Current Position: CBSSports color analyst
TDG Candidate Profile
Why? -The guy won and he won in a challenging place (he's kind of the opposite of Shannon in this regard). He has a very effective offensive scheme that he teaches very well and his teams then execute it very well. There is no denying that Leach is a very smart football mind and very few would argue that he wouldn't be successful here. Leach has been the #1 target of Gopher fans since the day Tim Brewster was let go. Can he run the table in this competitive bracket? As the #1 seed he should be relatively safe this week.
Why Not? - He didn't leave Texas Tech on his own and it was surrounded by plenty of controversy. On top of that he didn't exactly get along with the powers at Texas Tech, they were kind of looking for a reason to edge him out anyway. So would the powers that be at Minnesota be willing to take a risk with the controversial pirate? The answer to that has been a pretty clear no. But even if they were others may argue that winning in Minnesota with the Air Raid offense isn't going to be nearly as easy as it was in Texas. Recruiting enough skill position players won't be as easy to pull off here. Lastly, some Gopher fans may have grown tired of not seeing a Big Ten caliber defense on the field. A Leach team has never been known to try and stop it's opponent it just tries to outscore them.