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A guess at what’s going on behind the scenes with the Virginia coach search

uva footballCarla Williams didn’t have time to be shocked by the news that her football coach is stepping down at the end of the 2021 season.

The job of an AD is to be prepared for everything.

Williams almost certainly had a short list of candidates to begin vetting, if not Thursday, when Bronco Mendenhall confirmed his plans, even earlier.

We don’t know if Mendenhall was in contact with Williams earlier in the week. We do know that Mendenhall began thinking on Sunday that stepping down might be a possibility.

From what we know of Mendenhall, it would be a surprise to learn later that he didn’t reach out to Williams Sunday or Monday to let her know of his thinking, just to prepare her for what might be coming.

I presume this because Mendenhall certainly knows that the next important date from a football perspective is Dec. 15, national signing day.

There’s actually still a good bit of work to do with the 2022 signing class. Mendenhall has commitments from 15 players, headlined by four-star Mooresboro, N.C., wide receiver Dakota Twitty, but the class is ranked just 46th nationally by both Rivals and 247 Sports.

If the coaching situation were to be in limbo, it would be incumbent upon Williams to have a successor lined up ASAP, if not sooner, and not only Williams, but Mendenhall, has a vested interest in getting that successor off to a good start.

It would also be important to have a new coach and staff in place so that any re-recruiting of the current roster that would need to be done could begin in short order.

Maybe Williams wants to promote someone from the current staff. Robert Anae, the offensive coordinator, is the architect of the nation’s third-ranked offense. Keep him, elevate Jason Beck to replace him as OC, hire a new defensive coordinator, fix special teams, and Virginia maybe enters 2022 as a preseason Coastal Division favorite.

Or maybe she has someone from the outside in mind – Anthony Poindexter, a UVA alum now serving as defensive coordinator at Penn State; Bill O’Brien, the former Penn State and Houston Texans coach, now the offensive coordinator at Alabama.

If Mendenhall did let on early in the week that he was leaning toward stepping down, he could have blessed having Williams reach out to possible coach candidates to get the execution of a succession plan in motion.

If you know Mendenhall at all, you know that he’d be big on having a process in place along these lines.

It all looks messy from the outside looking in.

I’d be surprised, and disappointed, if there isn’t already a coach in waiting, ready to be rolled out on Monday.

Story by Chris Graham

augusta free press
augusta free press