Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Offensive Coordinator Candidates

Now that Dave Brock has moved on to become the head coach at Delaware, Rutgers must search for a new offensive coordinator for the fourth year in a row. They could take this opportunity to reevaluate the style of offense they run, but I don't see that happening, and frankly, I don't think they should make a change. Rutgers has and can recruit the personnel you need to have a successful traditional* offense, and Kyle Flood clearly prefers this style.

When asked what qualifications he was looking for in a new coordinator, Flood mentioned only one thing: previous coordinating experience. So that gives us a somewhat clearer picture when thinking of potential candidates. For this list, I tried to slim it down further to coaches who have some background in the north east, even though that's not a must, and mostly to coaches who have run a traditional style of offense, with a few spread coaches just in case. Even with these things in mind, there are plenty of  quality options available.

*I'm not going to use the term pro style anymore. The term was very vague in the first place, and with NFL offenses incorporating more and more concepts from the college game, the term is obsolete. So for now, I'm going to refer to the style of offense Rutgers runs as "traditional."
Accepted NFL Job After I Already Started his Post

John McNulty Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Coach (Clarks Summit, PA)
McNulty was an assistant at Rutgers from 2004-2008, first as the wide receiver coach and then as the offensive coordinator and quarterback coach. He took over coordinating duties in 2006, and he oversaw the best offenses in school history during his three seasons as a play caller. In 2009, he joined Ken Whisenhunt's staff with the Arizona Cardinals as a receivers coach, before being promoted to QB coach in 2012. Arizona brought in a new coaching staff this offseason, forcing him to look for a new job, and unsurprisingly, he rejoined Greg Schiano in Tampa Bay as the QB coach. It was a long shot for Rutgers to land him again anyway. He interviewed for the head coaching job last year, and I highly doubt he would want to come back for a lesser role after being passed over.
Matt Cavanaugh QB Coach Chicago Bears
Cavanaugh has been an NFL assistant coach for a long time, as both a QB coach and a coordinator. He worked most recently as QB coach with the Jets and he has plenty of previous coordinating experience at the highest level with the Bears ('97-'98) and Ravens ('99-'04). His only collegiate coaching experience came at Pitt, where he was an offensive assistant from 1992-1993 and then the offensive coordinator under Dave Wannstedt from 2005-2008. He joined Marc Trestman's staff in Chicago on Friday.


Ralph Friedgeon Former Head Coach Maryland (Harrison, NY)
Friedgeon was fired by Maryland after the 2010 season in which the Terps finished 9-4 and ranked 23 in the final AP Poll. He has not coached since. His offenses at Maryland went through extreme ups and downs, but he was a very successful coordinator with the San Diego Chargers and at Georgia Tech prior to that. He runs a traditional, ball control offense that takes a lot of shots down the field, so he seems to be the kind of coach Rutgers will probably be looking for. The big question is if he has any motivation to get back into coaching and even if he does, would he want to be only an assistant?

Mark Whipple Former (?) Cleveland Browns QB Coach (Tarrytown, NY)
Whipple runs a pro style offense, but he is more of an air it out type of coach, predicating his offense on the vertical passing game. He was a highly successful head coach at UMass, winning a D1-AA national championship in 1998, but he left the Minutemen to become the quarterback coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2004. With the Steelers, he coached a young Ben Roethlisberger during his first three seasons in the NFL, and he was apart of a staff that won a Super Bowl in 2005. He was most recently a coordinator at Miami in 2009-2010, and he had some success there before returning to the NFL.

Jeremy Bates Former Chicago Bears QB Coach
Bates, the son of a coach, is only 36 but he has spent quite a few years as a QB coach in the NFL. He coached with the Jets and Broncos before moving on to his first coordinating job, at USC in 2009. He only spent one season there before following Pete Carroll to the Seahawks, again as a coordinator, and he was fired after one season in Seattle. He spent the last two seasons as a QB coach with the Bears, and he was let go along with the rest of the offensive staff after Lovie Smith was fired.

Dana Bible Former Offensive Coordinator North Carolina State
Bible has been an offensive coordinator at various stops since 1986, save for the three years he spent as the QB coach for the Cincinnati Bengals in the early '90s. He was the Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator in 1998, and most recently, he was the offensive coordinator at Boston College and North Carolina State under Tom O'Brien. He runs a traditional offense that has been pass heavy in recent years, and he has done a great job developing quarterbacks, with Matt Ryan, Russell Wilson and Mike Glennon amongst his protege. He is on the market now that new Wolfpack coach Dave Doeren hired a Matt Canada as his offensive coordinator.

Mike O'Cain Former QB Coach Virginia Tech
O'Cain was the head coach at NC State from 1993-99, and has been a coordinator at three ACC stops (North Carolina, Clemson, Virginia Tech) since then. He was most recently at Virginia Tech, and he was fired after this past season. He runs a ball control offense, usually out of traditional sets, but he and the Hokies made a half assed attempt at the pistol in '12, after he lost coordinating duties.

Internal Options

Norries Wilson RB Coach Rutgers
Wilson would be the preferred candidate if they promote from with in. He was the offensive coordinator at Connecticut back when they had a competent offense (2002-2005) and he was even a finalist for the Broyles award in '04, when the Huskies led the Big East in total and scoring offense. He also coached UConn's offensive line coach during his time in Storrs and was a coordinator at Bucknell prior to that. He came to Rutgers last year after a head coaching stint at Columbia, and he did a great job helping Jawan Jamison rush for over 1000 yards while also bringing Savon Huggins along nicely.

Rob Spence QB Coach Rutgers (Pellham, NY)
Spence has 15 years of coordinating experience at six different stops. He was a very good coordinator at his initial stops at smaller programs like Hofstra, Louisiana Tech and Toledo, but he hasn't been able to replicate that success in BCS conferences. He had a disastrous end to his tenure at Clemson and then was a flop in his two seasons at Syracuse. He had a...let's say up and down year in his first season on the Banks, coaching QBs. Gary Nova took some steps forward as a passer, but he looked lost at times and had a couple horrific games that he looked unprepared for.

Would Have to Buy Pry Them Away

Warren Ruggiero Offensive Coordinato Bowling Green (Glen Rock, NJ)
Ruggerio was the quarterback coach at Hofstra during Kyle Flood's final two seasons with the Pride and the QB coach at Kansas State during Dave Brock's only season as the Wildcats' offensive coordinator. Since 2009, he has been the offensive coordinator at Bowling Green, where he had a very good offense in his first season, and some not so good offenses since then. He runs a spread attack with the Falcons, and he also served as a coordinator at Elon.

Jeff Jagodzinski Georgia State Offensive Coordinator
Jagodzinski is a curious case. He was a successful coordinator with the Packers, and went 20-8 as the head coach at Boston College, but he was fired for interviewing with the Jets for the head coaching job after the 2008 season, and hasn't been able to land on his feet. He was hired as the Buccaneers offensive coordinator in 2009, but he was fired before the regular season, and he's been in the UFL and at small schools since then.

Tim Albin Ohio Offensive Coordinator
Albin has conducted some very good offenses for the Bobcats since 2005, under Frank Solich. He also has coordinating experience from his time at North Dakota State, and he was also an assistant with Solich at Nebraska. He has run the pistol offense in recent years.

Bob Stitt Head Coach Colorado School of the Mines
Stitt is a complete wild card here. He has been a very successful head coach at Colorado School of the Mines, which is an engineering school with extremely tough academics restrictions that plays at the division 2 level, but he may want to make the move to the FBS level as a coordinator. He was a candidate for offensive coordinator jobs at other FBS schools, but he either did not want to leave or was passed over. He runs a spread offense (he has studied the west coast offense too), and he supposedly created the fly sweep pass play that West Virginia torched Clemson with in the 2012 Orange Bowl.

Candidates I Did Not Think Of

Brian Angelichio TE Coach Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Ilion, NY)
Angelichio was the tight end coach at Rutgers for one year, 2011, before following Greg Schiano to Tampa Bay. Prior to that, he was the tight ends coach at Pittsburgh for 5 seasons and the offensive coordinator at Ithica College from 2000-2005. He's also a great recruiter, and he helped land a number of recruits from eastern Pennsylvania for Rutgers' 2012 class.

Brian White RB Coach Florida (Groveland, MA)
White is a Harvard grad and he has been at Florida since 2009, first as the tight end coach and now as the running back coach. He has 8 years of coordinating experience at Wisconsin (1999-2005), and then at Syracuse (2006-07). He might be "out of Rutgers' price range", but if they can not shell out $300K for a coordinator when the head coach is making less than $1,000,000, I will be pissed.

Rutgers will have a new offensive coordinator for the fourth year in a row next season, and all that turnover is not necessarily a bad thing. There are plenty of quality coaches out there who can come in and significantly improve the offense. The Knights will likely stick with a traditional style of offense, but there is a small chance they could go in another direction. With the impending move to the Big 10, I expect this job to generate a lot of interest from coaches around the country, and Rutgers needs to make a home run hire.

For what it's worth, my preference goes as follows: Bible, Friedgen, Whipple, Wilson.

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