I know we all love high flying offense and tons of points, but don't we love winning more. When we were an up-and-coming program the only way to get relevant was to do something ridiculous, like throw the ball 50 times a game and try to score 50 points every time we went out. We did it, it worked (see Redman, Chris), and people took notice that we actually fielded a football team around these parts.
The next evolution of our program was a move away from a pass first to a "balanced attack" where Petrino implemented a power rushing game with our vaunted passing schemes. The modification proved to be a major factor in our ability to hang with upper tier teams. The problem was that although it was a change from the previous "pass first" offense we were still basically doing the same thing...trying to outscore you. On top of that Petrino's teams always seemed to wilt late in games against teams that played hard-nosed D and like to hit you in the mouth (i.e. Rutgers 2006 and Miam 2004)
Mike Leach, Kevin Sumlin, Paul Petrino, Gus Mahlzan, etc. play that same card and will eventually get us the same result. An offensive based program can win in the short term, but will lose the big games because we're just not tough enough to impose our will. Long term sucess is just not sustainable and if we go with an "offensive genius" we'll just end up right back where we started.
I look at TCU as a role model for what we are trying to achieve here. Just a few short years ago we were chief rivals in a very competitive CUSA. We were the offensive juggernaut and they were the defensive juggernaut. As the years went by we soared to extreme highs and due to our high octane offense and our TV marketability we became very relevant nationally. Well, Gary Patterson and TCU stuck to their defensive gameplan and though they didn't experience the highest of highs, like us, but they also never dropped to the low lows like us. Their defensive mindset kept them competitive all these years even if their offense wasn't lightin up the scoreboard. Look where it has finally gotten them now.
The same could be said of a program like Virginia Tech. Our old Metro Conference foe was never much to speak of until Frank Beamer and Bud Foster began their run as a hard hitting (and disciplined) defensive football team. It is definitely true that they hit their highest of highs when their offense was filled with playmakers like mike Vick and Kevin Smith, but it was the defense that has kept them relevant for all of the years.
I guess what I'm trying to point out is the old saying is that offense may sell tickets but defense is what wins championships. If we just want a relevant program that gets on national tv and get ranked high every couple of years when we have a star QB they sure, go ahead and hire an offensive guru. But if we want to build a sustainable sucess then its time we changed our whole mindset and went with a defensive guru.
We are never going to compete with the bluebloods, the Floridas, Alabama, Texas, USC, etc. Those teams fill their rosters with studs on both sides of the ball, every freaking year. But with the right mindset and a coach who is actively involved in crafting a big, strong, fast, hard hitting defense, and can recruit the south to fill his roster with those kind of athletes we can make sure that we never fall off the national landscape for very long.
With that said, look at how well Charlie Strong has done his job as a DC and compare that to how well anyone else has done in their position over the past 5+ years. I checked the stats and in those past 5 years Strong's defense has been ranked outside the top 15 only once and it was in the top 6 three times. Oh yeah, and he's directing the top ranked defense in the country right now by the way.
These stats show that defense is the way to go with our next coach. I don't care if we only score 10 points a game next year, as long as the other team only scores 9. A HC with a DC background will mean that we will have a fighting chance everytime we walk out on the field.