We have a proposal. Someone give us the budget to do a sting operation on Dennis Erickson, News of the World-style. We hire a private jet, some fancy actors who look like high-rollers and who can affect a passable Alabama accent, and then see if we can get him to agree in principle to taking the Alabama head coaching job just days after leaving Idaho to take the Arizona State job for just pennies over what he's making at Arizona State.
(This, by the way, seems to be a problem with coaches with the name "Erickson" or anything like it.)
Do you have one of these? Then Dennis Erickson is yours.
We'd bet our nonexistent riches on Erickson taking the gig, even if you offered him just ten dollars more a year to do the job. This will be Erickson's 13th coaching position in all; it is his seventh as a college head coach. He has bolted unsuccessfully for the NFL twice and left both franchises in tatters. He has no loyalty whatsoever, and has two one-year stints as a head coach on his resume, including a baffling return to his starting point, Idaho, in 2006.
There could have been a nice symmetry to this, with Erickson suddenly getting properly medicated--Adderol, perhaps?--and spending the rest of his days as lord of the manor in Moscow, Idaho. Yet he bolts for the first job that comes a-winking, Arizona State, and leaves his players feeling...well, fucked with. Those aren't our words, by the way:
"It doesn't really matter who the coaches are -- well, it does -- but we're the reason they have jobs," he added. "If they're going to do that and play the politics game, its going to be hard for us to trust our next coach because we've been [messed with] a couple of times, so it's hard to deal with."
We'd double down the first bet and guess that the [messed with] is "fucked with," a better turn of phrase that sadly cannot appear in major papers. (Viva la blogalution!) No one expects a coach to not take the business side of the equation into account, and a certain amount of circumspect skepticism must be in a college player's head at all times in regards to the lifespan of a coach. This is especially true at Idaho, which is cold, in the middle of nowhere, and in Idaho. (Redundant? Sure.)
But one year? There's a difference between a tryst and a cheap slam in the alley, and that difference is relative brevity. If Erickson had given three--maybe even two--years at Idaho, he could have maintained some illusion of commitment or sincerity. More importantly, if he'd really even improved them significantly, his 4-8 might have looked a bit better in retrospect if he'd followed it up with a better season.
Yet in his mind, Erickson must be still driving the Camaro around with a cold one in the cup holder, a Tawny Kitaen look-alike in the passenger seat, a national championship ring gleaming off his hand, and his gargantuan 1989 cell phone ringing incessantly in the backseat. Show up with a Gulfstream and a wad of cash, and he's yours, the biggest slut in the often slutty world of coaching.
Mal Moore, take notice--he's a sure thing, and he'll put out on the first date fast and like crazy. Do not, however, fall in love. Because we'll make a third bet that Erickson has one more turn in the NFL left in him, since Orson's rules tell us that people make the same mistakes again, and again, and again. "People" evidently includes Erickson, NFL GMs, and Arizona State, who just made as bad a long-term hire as you'll ever make in NCAA football.