January 1, 2009

The Fix: New details about Muschamp's contract and more

Welcome to the New Year's Day edition of the College Football Fix. We've got a lot of critical information you need to start 2009 so let's get to it.

As Orangebloods reported after the football banquet last month, Will Muschamp, 37, will have no buyout clause in his contract as coach-in-waiting at Texas.

I bumped into athletic director DeLoss Dodds today at the beautiful Camelback Inn, here in Paradise Valley, Ariz., and he told me some details about how the contract will be presented to the board of regents in a few months.

Muschamp's salary as defensive coordinator this year is $900,000 and will be up for renegotiation after each subsequent season. If Muschamp takes over as head coach for Mack Brown in 2009, the salary would start at $2.25 million and increase by $250,000 every year after that with the option for UT to renegotiate upward.

Mack Brown currently makes $3 million per year.

Dodds said there would be no buyout clause in Muschamp's contract because "we want people coaching here who want to be here." That is a departure from what Florida State has done with coach-in-waiting Jimbo Fisher, who has a $5 million buyout in his contract.

If Fisher is not the head coach at Florida State in 2011, the school has to pay Fisher $5 million. If Fisher takes another job before 2011, he has to pay FSU $5 million.

No buyout clause in Muschamp's contract also puts no timeline on when Mack Brown would step down as coach. Dodds reiterated today that he wants Brown to coach as long as he wants and that Muschamp is comfortable with Brown coaching as long as he wants.

WISCONSIN ON THE SCHEDULE?

Texas is in talks about possibly adding Wisconsin to the non-conference football schedule for next season. The idea was presented to the school by television officials at ESPN. Only problem is the Longhorns are all booked for the non-conference season next year.

The Longhorns have Louisiana-Monroe at home, then a road trip to Wyoming followed by home games against Central Florida and UTEP. The games with Wyoming, Central Florida and UTEP are all part of home-and-home contracts. The Louisiana-Monroe game is a "buy" game for UT. So the Longhorns would have to move one of those games to make room for the Badgers.

Dodds confirmed the talks about Wisconsin but said he doesn't think next year's schedule will change.

MUSCHAMP 101

We'll have a more detailed Muschamp 101 on Sunday, but here's a little trip inside the mind of UT's coach-in-waiting …

Want to know how intensely Muschamp is looking at Monday's Fiesta Bowl game with Ohio State?

"We're playing for the national championship in my opinion," Muschamp said.

Orangebloods.com broke in detail the meeting involving Muschamp, Sergio Kindle and Kindle's father, Johnny, in Dallas after Christmas. Other reporters trying to play catch-up asked Muschamp about it Thursday.

"We've had some meetings, but right now we're focused on the bowl game," Muschamp said of Kindle.

Muschamp has been pleased with some of the young guys in practice, namely Emmanuel Acho and Keenan Robinson - both of whom could be candidates to follow in Kindle's footsteps as situational pass rushers in the near future, Muschamp said.

Muschamp said the Ohio State game will be a good one for backup nose tackle Ben Alexander to show a little something because of downhill nature of the Buckeyes' running game.

"We all have strengths and weaknesses, and Ben's strength is playing the two-back run and playing the zero technique on the center and eating up double-team blocks. Not as much necessarily in the one-back setting when offenses start to spread out. In the off-season, we have to work with Ben on change of direction, speed and power. He's been working hard to enhance those things."

Muschamp said Kheeston Randall and Michael Wilcoxon have both looked good in practice this week.

"Kheeston is a really good, big athlete, and those guys are hard to find - guys who can bend their lower body and have good flexibility," Muschamp said. "He's a tough guy to block because of his size and girth inside.

"Michael Wilcoxon is a guy who plays hard with a really good motor, we just have to work some on holding the point of attack inside with him."

BEANIE WELLS' LAST GAME?

Ohio State junior running back Chris Wells, a.k.a. "Beanie," said today he's undecided about jumping to the NFL after this season.

Yeah, right.

You tell me if you think Monday's Fiesta Bowl will be Wells' last college game based on this information: Jim Tressel told him to not even bother with getting an NFL evaluation (because it was so obvious he was a first-round projection); he's got 11 brothers and sisters who could probably use some help; and running backs have a shorter shelf life than just about any other position, so the sooner they get into the NFL the better - because they have only so many hits in them.

When I asked him if Terrelle Pryor's development would help open up the running game for Wells next season, Wells said, "It will help whoever the running back is."

Bye-bye. (By the way, Wells said Thursday he has missed some practice time because of a hamstring injury. He said he'll play Monday, but that injury was new news.)

MUCKELROY READY FOR BEANIE

Roddrick Muckelroy jumped onto college football radars with 19 tackles in a high school playoff game for Hallsville against Adrian Peterson and Palestine. Muckelroy is hoping to make a name for himself again on Monday against Wells.

Muckelroy said Wells will be the best back he's faced since playing against Peterson.

"After this game, maybe I can go make a name for myself against a great back, and let's see what they say after the game," Muckelroy said. "There are going to be times when Beanie and I are one-on-one, and someone has to win. Let's see. Let's go."

THIS AND THAT ….

Senior defensive tackle Roy Miller was asked about facing Ohio State true freshman center Mike Brewster and Miller started smiling. "He's got a lot of potential," Miller said all but licking his chops. … Miller also said Emmanuel Acho is one of the young guys who have played really well in bowl practice so far. … Everyone wants to know about Ohio State's plan to use quarterbacks Terrelle Pryor and Todd Boeckman on the field together. Ohio State offensive coordinator Jim Bollman started laughing Thursday at all the questions and suggested too much is being made of the wrinkle. Wells also said, "It's just a couple plays." Sounds like the Q Package. … Muschamp said the reason you have to respect Terrelle Pryor as a passer is his 62.5 percent completion rate. "Any time you have a freshman completing more than 60 percent of his passes, that's an accomplishment," Muschamp said. "He may not throw it as often as we've seen in the Big 12, but when he does, it's on target." … Mack Brown has repeatedly said he wants to see if Texas' No. 2 ranking in rush defense (73.6 ypg) is "real" against Ohio State and Wells because UT has played so many spread, passing teams in the Big 12. That didn't seem to sit well with Roy Miller, who said, "That number was real at the end of 12 games," said Miller, the anchor of UT's run defense. ... Wells is seventh nationally in rushing (121.2 ypg), and Ohio State is 28th nationally in rush offense, averaging 191.6 ypg.

ONE FINAL THOUGHT

Happy New Year to everyone. I spent last night at Tempe's famed "Block Party" with 100,000 other people listening to Styx. While we got a rousing version of "Come Sail Away," there was no "Mr. Roboto." Someone explain that to me. By the way, I asked Will Muschamp if he could only listen to one CD for the rest of his life, what would it be and he said either Hank Williams or Lynrd Skynrd. I told him Gene Chizik had admitted that ABBA Gold was his must-have CD and Muschamp said, "Ol' Gene is a throwback."


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