Assistant Taver Johnson Needs To Coach Team Through 2012 Season
Despite temptations to do otherwise, Arkansas should take its time and pursue a coach during the fall in replacing the fired Bobby Petrino.
Don’t pull a Mike Shula move, getting an untested .500 leader just to get a coach, only to have to fire him four years later (of course, in the end it worked out pretty well for Alabama, it wound up getting Nick Saban, but that’s hardly a recommended approach to these things).
The Arkansas alumni and fan base will be squealing for immediate action, but you’re not going to hire a quality, long-term coach in April or May. Lane Kiffin comes to mind, but he’s at USC now and not Tennessee, and why go down THAT road again!?
Who knows, assistant Taver Johnson could turn out to be a gen. He certainly showed a lot of poise when thrown to the podium the day before Petrino was fired. He’s assistant head coach/linebackers coach, and has been through a bizarre head coaching change just recently; he coached cornerbacks at Ohio State when Jim Tressel was fired. Prior to that, he was defensive coordinator and assistant head coach at Miami University (2005-06) and coached in the NFL.
Athletic Director Jeff Long blundered when he hired Petrino four years ago, but he stood tall and made the right call in firing his coach. Now he needs to stand tall again and take his time to hire the right coach for Arkansas.