Count me among those who do not want to see Mike Canales continue as head coach. The team is 0-7, the program is still inching it’s way from its nadir, and the quarterback position has been woeful. He has been responsible for much of this. He was hired as “associate head coach” and thus bears some responsibility for the disaster that ultimately felled his friend and boss Dan McCarney.
He recruited and championed Josh Greer whose career thus far can only be generously described as iffy. He was unable to muster much progress from Andrew McNulty, Dajon Williams, Brent Osborn, or Brock Berglund despite being the QBs coach. Right now his best chance for redemption in this area is DaMarcus Smith, and he is completing passes at 43.8%.
There are other recruiting-related stories that work against him. He was allotted the DFW area to recruit and he has failed to produce significant numbers of quality players — or so say the recruiting pundits. There are anecdotal things about him ignoring targets, passing on guys who he shouldn’t have and more. I won’t hold those unverified things against him, as I have little or no proof of those. Suffice it to say these anecdotes merely serve to provide color to some of the harder evidence against him in this area.
The above said, let us remember the title of this piece. What is the case for Mike Canales, Interim Head Coach, to become Chico, Head Coach of UNT Football?
Well let’s make said case.
1. He’s passionate about this University.
There’s a lot to be said for a guy that wants to be here. Many Mean Green faithful have had it drilled into their heads that this university is less-than, unworthy of quality coaches, and should be happy that anyone would deign to consider the job. Here’s a guy that openly campaigned for the job back in 2010, after Dodge was fired. He actually wants to be here. He’s lived and breathed North Texas (and third person references) for six years, recruited these players, been here for the ups and the downs, and wants to remain. Should we turn away a man that actually wants the gig?
2. He’s unfettered
Dan McCarney was a famously stubborn man who wanted a certain kind of offense and a certain kind of quarterback to run said offense. He believed in a certain set of rules about depth charts and practices and definitely did not believe in ‘gamers’. Mike Canales holds a different belief. Under his watch his best players get the ball the most (probably only) and he rides his horses. Thus far it has meant Jeffery Wilson and DaMarcus Smith– two of the most talented players on the team — have played significantly more under Canales than under McCarney.
It has also meant a less conservative playbook. Chico mentioned “there’s nothing to lose” in his introductory press conference and we have seen some evidence to back this up.
Would a McCarney team have called the above play?
We know D. Smith, the man who has produced two 100-yard rushing games from the QB position, a handful of highlight plays, and — perhaps most importantly — hope to the offense would not be playing. It could be argued that a full Chico Canales team would see even more of these types of benefits with the his players, his practice, and his philosophy if given more time.
3. He’s done it before
On the interim level he’s coached North Texas to wins before. As of this writing he hold a career record of 3-5 as head coach under the most awful of circumstances. He went 2-3 in 2010 when his predecessor only mustered one win that season. This year he’s already tallied a win when McCarney managed zero in five tries.
4. He has player support
Perhaps the loudest cry for a Canales hire has been from former players. Their arguments have been “I’ve played for him, I have a better idea of what this program needs than pundits and I think Chico is right for this team.” “He just needs the right players and he’ll do great things here.” “He’s just what the program needs.”
Here’s UNT great Marcus Trice in his own words:
— Marcus Trice (@CoachTrice8) November 1, 2015