Chris Ash? Isn't he gone? Making a lot of money to coordinate some big boy football in the SEC? Yes. Yes, he is.
But the dreaded sources are reporting that there's enough interest in Ash vis-a-vis a head coaching job that he could very well come back to Madison. As such, he's on the list to be interviewed. So, as we're hearing that, we need to do some diligence and see what we could be getting in a Chris Ash administration.
Overview: Ash is another one of those classic assistants rising up through the rank types. He started off at his alma mater Drake University, then became the defensive backs coach and recruiting coordinator at Iowa State. After a brief foray at San Diego State, he spent 2009 back in Ames before coming to Madison and sharing defensive coordinator duties until leaving for Arkansas.
Why It Works: He's a diligent and willing recruiter. He was someone who ran recruiting at Iowa State and San Diego State, and his recruits in 2006 did manage to play key parts in an Iowa State bowl win. And while Ames is a nice small town which I have visited because my sister went to school there, it's not exactly a bustling metropolis. And they have won three bowl games. Ever.
Also, on a statistical level? He had a successful pass defense for the Badgers. On a play-to-play basis is a different magilla altogether. But through the three sets of defensive backs, his worst defense yardage-wise was 26th in 2010. As such, while he worked with struggling units in Ames and San Diego. When he got an upgrade in materials, he did good work. Antonio Fenelus and Devin Smith were under his tutelage. And no one will kick that tag team of cornerbacks away from their team.
And considering some of the names that were tossed about? I've got to say, a non-retread is something that would be worth considering. I mean, need I mention that mustachioed weirdo again? No. No, I don't.
Why It Doesn't: 2011. If the defensive backs have two more plays in them, the Badgers are playing for the national championship. And if there's one thing I've learned as I write here, it's once a coach falls out of the circle of trust, there will be some people who will never let them in.
Chris Ash fell out of the circle. There's a reason I felt I had to throw in the play-to-play basis qualifier. I don't want to get yelled at.
But in all sincerity, even if he is a success? We've seen him with a wandering eye. There's going to be a suitor that's going to come for him. And then we have to go all over again.
My Opinion: Of the 11 candidates I've broken down, when you take away the unrealistic coaches? He's average. Maybe even a little below par. But he's not the worst hire there could be.
Percentage Chance: If he's interviewing? I'd give him 12%.