It didn’t take long for Baylor head coach Matt Rhule to get floated as a potential NFL coaching candidate. Seeing the job he’s done bringing Baylor back from the dead, it makes sense.
While Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley continues to be the top name from the college ranks connected to the pros, and Urban Meyer has now emerged as a possibility, Rhule has quietly established himself as one of the best college coaches out there.
Rhule helped build Temple up from one of the worst in FBS to a consistent bowl team in the tough AAC. Now, in just year three, he took Baylor from the post-Art Briles doldrums to a Big 12 Championship berth.
Rhule, who has coached on both sides of the ball, but was most recently an assistant offensive line coach for the New York Giants before landing the Temple job, is seen as more of a top-down manager, rather than an X’s and O’s expert. That’s exactly how he wants to be.
He recently appeared on Adam Schefter’s ESPN podcast, and admitted that he would “never say never” when it comes to the NFL. He does say that it would take an “idyllic” situation for him to leave Baylor.
Most coaches would stop there, but Rhule does come off as more honest than your average college head coach. Here’s what he said about his ideal NFL situation. Via Football Scoop:
“I think A) you need to have a quarterback, and B) you need to have alignment.”
“I don’t think that I would ever want to see myself or any coach in a situation where you’re just subcontracted out for you X’s and O’s knowledge. The teams that have won in college football, the Nick Saban’s the Dabo Swinney’s – and the people that win in pro football in the Mike Tomlin’s and Bill Belichick’s, they run a complete and total program. And everybody, they have different responsibilities, but everybody’s aligned to the same vision.”
If Rhule takes a job, he’ll definitely be looking for some more control than the average coach, and some assurances. That may be a lot for a guy that has coached Baylor and Temple, but he’s been floated for NFL opportunities enough over the last few years that it seems as if he’s very well regarded at the next level.
Whether he moves up to the pros or to the elite college programs, we should see Matt Rhule around high-level football for a long time.