Good morning. It’s a new day, and that means a new candidate is apparently in the mix for the Arizona Wildcats head coaching position. This time it’s Mike Sanford, Jr., the current head coach of Western Kentucky:
Western Kentucky Head Coach Mike Sanford has emerged as a major candidate for the Arizona Head Coaching vacancy. #ArizonaWildcats #BearDown https://t.co/zanHlH0MFx— Jason Scheer (@JasonScheer) January 11, 2018
Sanford has been at Western Kentucky for a year. He took over a team that went 11-3 the year before (under Jeff Brohm who is now at Purdue) and led them to a record of 6-7. They were picked to win the East Division of Conference USA. Instead, they finished tied for third and missed a bowl game. Too bad.
There are some reasons to think Sanford would be fine: he’s extremely young (35), he has experience on the West Coast (three years at Stanford), and he coached with Marcel Yates at Boise State (as the offensive coordinator there in 2014).
But again, he took over a team that went 12-2 and 11-3 the two prior years and couldn’t go .500. WKU finished with its first losing record since 2010.
Worse, though Sanford is supposed to be an offensive guy, the offense dipped considerably. Western Kentucky ranked 14th in the country in offensive S&P+ back in 2016 and finished 77th last year, including dead last in rushing.
Sanford’s Boise State and Notre Dame offenses were admittedly great, but whatever he did in 2017 simply did not work. When we’re dealing with a limited sample size anyway — Sanford was a coordinator for only three years and has been a head coach for one — it’s hard to discount that one down year.
Can we please stop this?
This process has to end at some point, right? Rich Rodriguez was fired over a week ago, Signing Day is now less than a month away, and yet we’re still hearing about new candidates. Kevin Sumlin, Les Miles, Marcel Yates, Jedd Fisch, Beau Baldwin, Neal Brown, Mike Sanford Jr., and even Rick Neuheisel have been mentioned by some outlet as having interviewed, or been requested to interview, or whatever indefinite phrasing we want to use that particular day.
And where are these names coming from? Are they actual leaks, revealing real insight about the process? Are they calculated leaks, designed to gauge the fanbase’s reaction to a candidate before they’re actually hired? Are they coming from agents, floating their clients’ names to try to leverage for more money at the coach’s current job? Are they media members pushing for candidates they know and like?
Regardless of motive, the song and dance is the same. A candidate's name comes out. We learn some background about that candidate. We learn that they’re not a real candidate or they’ve withdrawn. And we move on to the next “candidate.”
I am tired of this. I do not want to wake up tomorrow morning and learn that Mike Bobo has apparently interviewed for the position. Please end this process, please, before we turn into the Tennessee Volunteers.