When Chad Morris officially took over at Arkansas on Dec. 7, he told folks he was going to get the best defensive coordinator in America.
Give him this, he hasn’t backed off that statement. That is a big reason many Razorback fans have held out hope he was talking about his good friend Brent Venables.
Sorry, folks, that ain’t gonna happen. Venables likes the job he has at Clemson and is not going to make a sideways move, even for a couple of hundred thousand extra dollars. Unless the money is stupid high, good coaches don’t make lateral moves for some extra bucks.
Which is why Texas A&M defensive coordinator John Chavis is usually the next name mentioned and he’s the one we’re hearing will be the next defensive coordinator.
Speculation is an announcement could be coming as soon as next Tuesday. He is coaching the Aggies defense in the Belk Bowl (11 a.m. Friday on ESPN).
It is assumed he is not going to be retained by new A&M coach Jimbo Fisher, but it’s a ticklish situation with the contract extension he signed prior to this season, according to a story last week in The Dallas Morning News:
It also elaborates on what happens if A&M fires Chavis without cause.
Under those circumstances, the defensive coordinator is still required to look for another job to offsets the remaining amount of the contract that A&M owes him. However, the new deal specifically states Chavis has agreed to make “reasonable and diligent efforts to obtain employment with compensation at market value.”
A&M also has the right to request evidence of Chavis’ efforts to find another job, a stipulation that was mentioned in the original deal. Mediation to any potential disputes between both sides regarding a future buyout was also added.
That one clause could open the door for the Hogs to openly talk with Chavis or his representatives.
But many fans question if Chavis is the right choice, mostly because his defenses with the Aggies never ranked higher than 41st in his first season there.
Over a 23-year career as an SEC defensive coordinator at Tennessee (1995-2008) and LSU (2009-14), Chavis’ defenses stacked up, well, an average of 21st prior to going to A&M.
He had defenses ranked in the Top 5 three times, in the Top 10 six times and 14 defenses ranked in the Top 20.
His highest ranked defense was in 2008, when the Vols finished No. 3 in his last season on Rocky Top.
That may or may not satisfy your qualification as the best defensive coordinator in America.
Some want the Hogs to find the best up-and-comer in coaching, which is a valid point, but the guess here is unless something derails it, Chavis will be the next defensive coordinator.