Thursday, October 09, 2008

Slapdash wishlist of candidates for Auburn's OC position*

Quick and dirty, but hey, topical! So here we go, keeping in mind that 1. a balanced spread guy who could make use of the likes of Burns, Ray Cotton, LaDarius Perkins, etc. (and someone who is not, specifically, Patrick Nix, whose offense is even worse than Auburn's) would be preferred 2. I don't know anyone Chip Kelly-esque who might be hiding in I-AA or D-II 3. I don't really know what I'm talking about, period, since I don't know who's got those SEC connections and recruiting ties and whatnot that will probably play a role, but whatever:

1. Chip Kelly. Seeing as acquiring the services of Oregon OC Kelly would require Auburn winning a bidding war with Phil Knight, I think it's safe to file this one under "the sort of pipe dream so pipe-worthy it's actually dreamed about by pipes" (or something). Nonetheless:

Plus he's Spread plus Kodi Burns could feasibly = Dennis Dixon and he made Dennis Dixon into a Heisman winner until his leg fell off plus that leg kept Oregon from winning a national title last year plus ho boy look at these numbers. Yeah, I know, 44-10 to USC, but that's with Oregon trotting out their 17th-string quarterback and I'm pretty sure even he had a bum ankle. Too bad Auburn's only shot is to hope whilst growing up and then coaching in curling-mad** New Hampshire, Kelly's always nursed a secret desire to test himself in a place like Alabama and the SEC where college football ruled every facet of day-to-day life with an iron leather first. Assuming that's not the case, we're not getting him. (But a boy can dream ...)

2. Dan Mullen. Only slightly less pie-in-the-sky, I know, but it'd be worth a call to find out if he's tired of living in Meyer's shadow and being called out by Gator fans after 400-yard, 30-point games. If he wants to be a head coach, maybe he could be persuaded that that chance would come easier via getting full credit for a successful offense, a la a certain current Arkansas head coach, rather than having to share it with Meyer. (The voice of rationality inside me right now: HA HA HA HA HA HA HA! Seriously, you're killing me here.)(Stupid rationality. Now's not the time. I say it's worth a call, and we might as well put one into the similarly-positioned Calvin Magee at Michigan and Dave Christensen at Missouri while we're at it. Also, I'd like a pony that can drive a flying car!)

Getting somewhat more realistic ...

3. Gunter Brewer and/or Trooper Taylor. I realize that Oklahoma St.'s ridiculous success and balance might be firstly be attributed to Mike Gundy (who's going nowhere) and secondly to Larry Fedora (also going nowhere), but if it's balance out of the spread you want (and both Tubby and I would like it, please) the Cowboys are where you want to find it--in 2007 they finished with exactly 3,161 yards both rushing and passing. And even without Fedora, they haven't skipped a beat thus far this season--they're currently third in the country in yards-per-play.

Brewer and Taylor are currently listed as co-OCs with Brewer coaching the quarterbacks and Taylor the WRs. Brewer's been in the system for four years now, so he should be more prepared to run the offense without Gundy's input, but if he's not interested it might be worth taking a long look at Taylor anyway--he's your proverbial hot up-and-comer, by all accounts he recruits like a demon, he coached a whole string of NFL wideouts at Tennessee and the Vol fans were exceedingly pissed when they lost him during the offseason. He'd be worth an interview at the very least, and excuse me while I add "Brewer comes and brings Taylor with him" to the list of lovely gumdrop-and-cotton-candy-scented daydreams I've already got above.

4. Rickey Bustle. Bustle is currently the head coach at Louisiana-Lafayette, so he might not want to take the "demotion" to OC and, of course, our last OC hire out of the Sun Belt didn't work out so hot. But if you want someone who can churn rushing yards out of the spread, he's your guy: ULL is currently second in the country in rushing yards-per-game. Rugged QB Mike Desormeaux has a lot to do with that and Bustle would hypothetically have to have hypothetical Burns throw the ball more than Desormeaux has the past couple of years with the Ragin' Cajuns, but still: the numbers don't get a lot better than this. Plus, he'd probably at least to what Auburn would have to say, since he's one of the lowest-paid head coaches in Division I.

5. Andy Ludwig. Ludwig is the current Utah OC, and from what I saw of the Utes vs. Michigan, he's running a version of the Meyer spread that's been hip in Salt Lake City since the Alex Smith days. But Ludwig's also got experience as Belotti's OC at Oregon, Utah's nicely balanced, and the Utes have shown some explosiveness the last two years when QB Brian Johnson (whose combination of mobility and arm strength might be considered Burnsesque, even if he's a foot taller) has been healthy.

Also worth thinking about, spread-wise: Ball St.'s Stan Parrish, who has a ton of experience and has seen the Cardinals go nuts the last two seasons; Mike Locksley, who's Zook's OC at Illinois and has the Illini looking pretty good with a zone-read-and-bombs-away scheme that would play into Burns's strengths, plus he's got a good recruiting reputation; and Rob Spence, who's managed to ruin what ought to be a phenomenal offense at Clemson this year but does have a strong overall track record and will very likely be looking for a job at season's end.

And as for something completely different ... The odds of lifelong coaching Midwesterner Glen Mason walking away from his cushy Big 10 Network gig to become Auburn's OC are most assuredly somewhere between slim-and-none, and he's sure as hell not a spread guy. But if Tubby's willing to take his lumps on this year's recruiting class, no one but no one has an offensive scheme better suited to either Tubby's run-run-run-now-let's-play-defense worldview or Auburn's traditional RBs-and-O-line heavy personnel than Mason; his zone-blocking madness would have taken him to the Rose Bowl if he'd ever found a defense.

*Don't call it that.

**I don't think New Hampshire's actually curling mad, but it might help our chances.


tiger7_88 said...

If we don't promote from within (which is the most likely thing that will happen), the best chance Auburn has to get an established OC to come to The Plains is to canvas the country for the the most successful OC possible that has a career death-wish. No sane established OC would place his career into the hands of Tommy "Death to Offensive Coordinators" Tuberville. Ergo, we must search for the INsane.

Anonymous said...

Rob just called and said he will listen to what we have to say...