Texas A&M has made the 72-hour journey from Dennis Franchione, coach on the hot seat, to Mike Sheman, new man in charge.
It's a decisive move. But is it the right move?
Clearly, A&M athletic director Bill Byrne thinks so. The timetable of this regime change suggests Byrne identified his target quickly and has been huddling with Sherman and his representatives for quite some time -- long before anyone could start a "post-season" evaluation of his sitting coach.
But this isn't about the semantics involved in determining how long a post-season review should take or when it truly should start. Obviously, Fran had to go. The middling record (32-28) and VIP Newsletter fiasco made that clear.
What is unclear, at this point, is whether Sherman's NFL pedigree will transfer well to the college game. Bryne clearly thinks so. Sherman has impressive offensive credentials at the NFL level. Former A&M coach R.C. Slocum considered him an asset as a recruiter during Sherman's previous stints in Aggieland.
But can Sherman be the recruiting magnet A&M needs to upgrade its personnel? At Green Bay, he was hardly the face of the franchise, even when he was the Packers' head coach. He'll need to be that at A&M for the Aggies to pick up the pace in landing more difference-makers. And I don't think Sherman is about to announce Brett Favre as his new offensive coordinator, a move that would excite lots of potential recruits and could jump-start a banner recruiting class.
In recent years, more NFL returnees have struggled, rather than succeeded, when returning to the college game. USC's Pete Carroll is the exception. Sherman could be, too. It will all come down to his recruiting abilities. He's got to persuade more blue chippers to shun Texas, OU and LSU -- the Aggies' logistical Bermuda Triangle in the recruiting process -- and choose A&M over those programs. Can he? I don't know. To me, is the great unknown about this hire. The answer to that question will ultimately determine the success or failure of today's announcement in Aggieland.
_ Jimmy Burch
_ Jimmy Burch