Mack Brown just finished holding together one of the best recruiting classes in the country while going through a complete overhaul of his coaching staff. It was probably time for Brown to sit back and take a deep breath but that isn’t likely to happen with spring practice starting in less than two weeks. And as for the coaching staff, well, that isn’t quite complete just yet, either.
On Saturday, just-hired defensive backs coach, Jerry Gray, accepted a position on the Tennessee Titans staff as their defensive coordinator. He will reportedly more than double his salary and will once again be an NFL coordinator, a position in which he held with the Buffalo Bills from 2001-05.
As much as it was a tough job for Gray to pass up, it’s no less disappointing for the Longhorns to lose a coach that seemed to be the perfect fit in Texas. Gray is a former Longhorn star that has an abundance of experience in the NFL, both as a player and coach, and seemed to be the ideal hire to replace Duane Akina who left for Mike Stoops’ staff in Arizona toward the end of Brown’s staff shake-up.
Akina had been coaching the Longhorns defensive backs since 2000 and was one of the key holdovers Brown kept on staff following the 2010 season. Not to mention, he was hugely successful in the position sending many Longhorn DB’s to the NFL and his loss seemed to leave a huge hole in the Texas defensive coaching staff. But shortly after Akina’s departure, Gray was snagged from the Seattle Seahawks staff and all was good in the land of Texas' secondary. That was until Saturday.
Not that the Longhorn faithful need to worry, however. Brown and new defensive coordinator, Manny Diaz, are likely to pull another high profile name out of the hat. Shortage of coaches that would like to get an opportunity to coach on the Texas staff is one problem not facing the Longhorns. As for Gray, it had to be a tough call for him to leave his alma mater, "but this was something that I couldn't turn down," Gray said.