Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
The firings and hirings have come and gone. With one marquee job open, most of the coordinators have been promoted or hired to be a head coach, but there are some names to keep an eye on when it comes to offensive coordinators.
In light of recent events, I was forced to make a decision I did not want to make, especially sending the message via email. I had to break up with my online girlfriend of 8 months. Despite never meeting with her, she was the love of my life, but I just didn't feel comfortable moving forward... I feel like such a sleaze for breaking up with her through email. Back to more important issues.
The world of coaching is a cut throat industry. Coaches come, coaches go, coaches get fired, coaches get hired, coaches get promoted, coaches get demoted, it happens. With that in mind, there is a lot of turnover and there are some names to keep an eye on. These five names are guys that are in line to get high profile offensive coordinator jobs or even head coaching jobs. Some may see this list and complain that most of the names are from teams on the west coast. Yeah, there could be a bias there, but I am not too excited with offensive systems in the ACC, Big East, SEC (minus A&M) etc. The systems that I do favor in those conferences either have the Head Coach call the plays or are replacing their Offensive Coordinator, and for those reasons I held those out of my list.
First name on the list to watch is Baylor's O.C. Philip Montgomery. He would fit the title of "Young Gun." Montgomery has 5 seasons as O.C. behind him. The big question this season was how would Baylor fair without Robert Griffin III? Baylor did quite well. Baylor finished the season 4th for passing yards average per game at 340. Nick Florence finished with over 4,000 yards and 33 touchdowns. Baylor finished 8-5 which isn't great, but for a team that lost a Heisman trophy winner, and was irrelevant until 2007, they are well on their way to annual relevance and are pestering defenses with their style of the Air Raid offense. Montgomery has experience, but still has many years ahead of him, look for him to step out of the shadows of Art Briles, his mentor and head coach, and take a head coaching job on his own.... Eventually every young, aspiring coordinator leaves the nest.
Second name on the list is ASU O.C. Mike Norvell. Another young gun, Norvell has been in Todd Graham's fold dating back to the days at Tulsa. Norvell also coaches the quarterbacks, and I must say he has a gem with Taylor Kelly. I for one, did not expect ASU to be competitive after Dennis Erickson ran that program in the wrong direction. ASU runs a different style of offense, it isn't a Chip Kelly offense, but it is largely a zone read/option attack, but there are other wrinkles in there. Watching ASU this year, Norvell wasn't exactly given a great team... He had red shirt freshman quarterback, taking over a team that did not know the word discipline or consistency, and only being a co-O.C for a year at Pitt, Norvell did not have a blazing resume last September. However, I watched many ASU games this year and a few things stood out to me: with the exception of the Oregon game, ASU was competitive in every game, the offense moved the ball on all opponents, and Norvell had an uncanny ability to call the right plays at the right times, which is one thing with an experienced corps of guys, but he had a freshman quarterback, and unknowns all around. ASU finisihes the season with a lopsided win against Navy. Look for ASU to challenge for the Pac-12 South next year.
Third name on the list is also found in the Pac-12. Noel Mazzone, of UCLA. This is where we break from the young guns on our list. Mazzone has been in the game for a while, and is the only name on the list whom I think is happy right where he is. I don't see Mazzone becoming a head coach, but his offenses have some power. Another O.C. who had a freshman quarterback with Brett Hundley, but he also had Johnathan Franklin, who rushed for 1700+ yards, and tight end Joseph Fauria, both of which should be high draft picks. Mazzone had an offense that was very efficient, they averaged 190 yards rushing per game, and 275 yards passing a game. Those are good numbers for an offense, not phenomenal, but pretty good. Mazzone runs a zone read offense, but does spread the ball around. Look for UCLA to have another productive year next year. I think UCLA will have USC's number for the next few years.
Fourth name on the list in Tony Franklin, O.C at LA Tech and now Cal. Franklin was hired by Sonny Dykes in 2010. Both have roots to Hal Mumme at Kentucky and both love the air raid. Franklin has made stops at Troy, Auburn, and Middle Tennessee State, before landing in Ruston. Dykes took the job at Cal, and so goes Franklin. The LA Tech offense has went from being irrelevant to getting national attention. This past year, LA Tech was 3rd in the league in passing yards per game.... Can anyone remember the last time LA Tech was top 5 in any national category? Franklin isn't a die hard passer like some of his air raid brethren, he prefers to run the ball a bit more, which is fine. I knew Dykes was on the verge of an AQ job, but I find the Cal job a curious hire, but I expect Franklin to be on his own soon.
Last name on the list is San Jose State O.C. Brian Lindgren. I have some minor ties to Lindgren, being that both of us are from Eastern Washington, and both of us played quarterback. We were only separated by about 40 miles. Lindgren played 8 man football for the DeSales Fighting Irish (just outside Walla Walla). Lindgren decimated all passing records, and got a scholarship at U of Idaho. He still holds records at Idaho, and in my opinion was a better quarterback than Enderle. Lindgren spent a few years at Northern Arizona, one of which he was the offensive coordinator. Under Lindgren's direction, SJSU was 6th in the Nation in passing yards per game. The offensive production went from a quarterback throwing for 3100+ yards and a 130 qb rating, then insert Lindgren and the quarterback throws for 4100+ yards and a qb rating of 170. Thats not bad. I am not sure where Lindgren will land with a coaching change at SJSU, but he new Head Coach would be wise to keep Lindgren on staff.