The inner circle of the college football coaching fraternity is a place where many people know or at least know of each other and deposed coaches can revive their careers and their reputations. Former head coaches at both the NCAA and NFL levels seem to all have nine lives and re-invent themselves as a new offensive or defensive coordinator for a current head coach desperate to tap into their game knowledge and infinite connections built over decades of networking.
The Texas Longhorns are reportedly talking to their second former head coach for the role of “analyst.” What does a football analyst really do? For starters, you won’t find them hanging around the locker rooms and building relationships with the players and positions coaches. NCAA regulations are strict on what an off-field analyst can do and when the NCAA means off-field, they mean off-field. Former TCU head coach Gary Patterson is now in the process of changing all of this purple and black polos into burnt orange as he joins the Longhorn staff as a defensive analyst for Steve Sarkisian. The blowing off-season winds of college football have now carried in the subtantial rumor (albeit at this point just a rumor) that former Duke head coach David Cutliffe may find new life in Austin while working in a similar role as Patterson.
David Cutliffe has spent an entire coaching career working on the offensive side of the ball. After his first stint at Alabama, Cutliffe arrived at Tennessee as the passing game coordinator and later offensive coordinator during the mid-90’s while mentoring an NFL Hall of Famer by the name of Peyton Manning. After his tenure at Tennessee, Cutliffe stayed in the SEC and moved over to Ole Miss as the Rebels’ head coach and then mentored yet another Manning in the form of Eli (and more than likely another HOF’er when his waiting time is up to enter Canton.) For this reason alone, Cutliffe has built a reputation as a quarterback builder and it was no strange coincidence that both Mannings came to Duke to work out with their former coach during their NFL off-seasons. Cutliffe led Duke for the last 14 years through its greatest football run in school history and combined with his prior offensive successes, Cutliffe looks to be a strong candidate to help out the Longhorn offense in an analyst role this season.
Oh, another thing – Texas is actively recruiting Peyton and Eli Manning’s nephew Arch Manning so Cutliffe’s influence may be a key factor in where another Manning decides to come to college. At any rate, don’t expect Patterson and Cutliffe to be around for years in Austin. Old football coaches have a tendency to keep moving forward and only retire when they have to retire. But for the mean time, if Texas gets both of these big coaching names to help out where they can, it may all be worth it.