Well, that didn’t take long. Just this past weekend, Jerry Gray announced he was leaving Texas to become the defensive coordinator with the Tennessee Titans after just joining the Longhorns’ staff last month. Rumors began to circulate about a few names that Mack Brown would turn to next as the game of musical chairs on Texas’ coaching staff apparently wasn’t over.
As it turns out, the search didn’t take long. And really, the search probably consisted of just a phone call as Duane Akina, who Gray had originally replaced, is apparently coming back to Austin after just leaving for a spot on Mike Stoops staff at Arizona. The announcement was made by Arizona athletic director, Greg Byrne, this morning on his twitter feed.
It originally seemed like a big blow for Texas to lose Akina in the first place, especially with all the changes already happening on Mack Brown’s staff. Then the crisis was averted by naming Gray to the staff the following day who just happened to be a Longhorn great and very seasoned and successful coach in his own right. Then Gray leaves (which might have been for more reasons than just money), and Brown appears as though he has to keep hunting to complete his staff. But apparently we can just forget any of this happened since Akina is back in his old spot. (Did it really happen or did I just dream it)?
No, it happened. Akina left Texas for family considerations and apparently still has family considerations in Austin because that was his announced reasons by Arizona for returning to Texas.
So what it means for Texas is that instead of six brand new assistant coaches, they’ll have only five new members of the staff. And through the whole process, they ended up retaining a pretty good defensive backs coach in the end.
One thing I can’t help but wonder, what does defensive coordinator Manny Diaz think of all this? Usually a coordinator likes to have a say in who is going to be working for him. I’m not saying Diaz did or didn’t have input in this case, but with the all the upheaval on this year’s staff, you have to wonder how fast the coaches will develop a comfort level with each other if they weren’t allowed to have a say in their own hires. The process begins shortly with Texas set to start spring practice in two weeks (February 28th).
It should be noted, there has been no official announcement from Texas on Akina's return.