Holohan: Who’s next?

Published 3:00 am Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Well, it’s about that time.

Is the suspense killing you yet?

Believe it or not, there are only four days left in the Larry Blakeney era at Troy.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

After that, it’s time for a new name and a new face for Troy University football.

But who?

Prospective names haven’t been easy to come by around town and the university.

Well, there have been several names floating around, but the legitimate ones require some sifting through some implausible or tongue-in-cheek suggestions.

For those not totally up to speed, here are some names that have most frequently popped up: Houston Nutt and Gene Chizik — both former head coaches at Ole Miss and Auburn, respectively — to smaller names like Kentucky QB coach Neal Brown, LSU running backs coach  Frank Wilson and LSU defensive line coach Brick Haley. And perhaps the most surprising — former Hoover High School head coach Rush Propst.

To me, you can automatically cross off Nutt and Chizik. I know Chizik has strong ties to Blakeney and Troy defensive coordinator Wayne Bolt and was even here this offseason, but Chizik would presumably cost Troy big money. And if he does well at Troy, he’ll be here for a few years before he gets another shot at a power five school again. And as for Nutt, I just don’t see the connection at all. And in my opinion, he was less than impressive at Arkansas and Ole Miss. Cross him off, too.

Then we work our way down the list to the lower-profile prospects.

Propst, who no doubt has been successful as a high school coach, is an absolute no. He has zero collegiate coaching experience and personal baggage back here in Alabama — look no further than ESPN’s E:60 segment on his off-field exploits. Cross him off. Move on.

I think it would benefit the program greatly to select someone with experience at Troy. Someone who understands the culture and expectations of fans.

That eliminates Wilson.

So, that leaves us with Haley and Brown. I think both would be strong choices, but in different ways.

Neal, who was at Troy from 2006-2009, proved his offensive prowess at Troy in 2009 when the Trojan offense finished the season ranked third in the country in total offense. And by the way, he was the youngest offensive coordinator in the nation at the time.

On the other side of the spectrum is Haley, who coached linebackers from 1994-1996 at Troy.

Haley has coached all over the country, including three SEC teams, and even had a stint as a D-line coach for the Chicago Bears from 2007-2009.

Now, he is the D-line coach at LSU, a virtual pipeline of defensive talent to the NFL. Look no further than your favorite NFL team and there is sure to be an LSU grad on the defensive side of the ball.

At the risk of sounding indecisive, I put my stamp of approval on either Brown or Haley.

The Neal Brown Era? The Brick Haley Era?

I like it. Make it happen, Troy.