After two of the worst offensive outings in the past 8 years, it is apparent from the comments made by the head Coach, Will Muschamp, that Brent Pease and other staff members are being put on notice. Muschamp went as far as to say, "offensively we are inept." When the head coach calls the offense inept, there is no reason to believe that he can pull that nickel out of your ear that you just didn’t know was there … because frankly Pease not know what a nickel is in this case.
The ineptitude hit an all time low this past Saturday after the Gators finally established an offensive drive by running the football with Kelvin Taylor (and Patton’s 17 yard sweep run) for the only offensive touchdown of the day, and almost half of their total offensive production came on that drive (70 out of 151). Instead of the "Ah ha!" moment most of us watching were waiting for, the next 3 play calls should tell you all you need to know about how inept Brent Pease’s play calling has deteriorated. I was actually a supporter of the man but the past two games are so blatantly obvious I can no longer do such.
So logically the best course of action is to begin looking for a replacement. Is that Joker Phillips? I am not sold on Joker. His offenses at Kentucky were often one hit wonders. He had successful seasons as the OC in 2007 and the head coach in 2010, but he also had years of under 300 yards of offense a game(2011, 2008, and 2005) . Yes it was Kentucky, but Pease was also a success at Kentucky with those standards.
So who our other options? After studying a few of the offenses and their Coordinators. I attempted to limit my two suggestions to candidates we can logically achieve, so no I am not suggesting Oregon’s, Florida State’s, or any other top 10 tier school’s OC. I also wanted the OC to have regular competition against FBS teams, FBS AQ schools, and FBS teams with winning records (So Boise and Fresno, you’re out).
My first suggestion will probably be rather under the radar for most of you. He actually resides in the SEC. In fact we can make a better observation of him in 3 weeks. His name is John Donovan at Vanderbilt. He is a young coach who has been with James Franklin since he was the offensive coordinator at Maryland. He is a good recruiter from what I have heard, he knows running offenses like Will would like. He is innovative, and he is having success at Vandy. In fact, each of the past 3 seasons Vandy has improved on offense with him. Now you might say it’s James Franklin’s offense, But I have never seen James calling the plays in any Vandy game I have watched.
In case you are wondering in 2011 the offense averaged 339.1 yards a game, 5.23 yards a play, and 26.7 points a game (23.5 against AQ competition). In 2012 379.7 yards a game, 5.65 yards a play, and 30.0 points a game (25.7 vs. AQ). So far in 2013 412.4 yards a game (374.8 vs. AQ), 6.13 yards a play (5.43 vs. AQ), and 33.3 points per game (29.8 vs. AQ).
2011 is his worst year, which is a good thing as it shows progress. For comparison sakes Florida in 2012 was 334.0 yards a game, 5.25 yards a play, and 26.5 points a game (26.7 vs AQ oddly)
His hire could actually give us a boost in recruiting and developing offensive players and Vanderbilt has shown a penchant to incorporate innovation and trickery into their play calling.
My next suggestion is from the ACC. Florida has actually drawn pretty well from this well, the last coach we took from this school kind of put us on the map with his quick witty sarcasm, high flying offense, and wins. Yes I am talking about Duke, and their offensive coordinator in primo is Kurt Roper. They have a another OC, Scottie Montgomery, but he is an OC this year, so the success of Duke’s offense is mostly Roper’s and gives Duke the perfect segue to OC should Roper leave.
Duke actually has a good offense, but their defense leaves something to be desired. It is in the ACC so not too much of a downgrade from the SEC. Roper has been the SEC before multiple times. He was with Cutcliffe at Ole Miss, at Tennesse in 2006 to 2007 as the Running backs coach, and at Kentucky as the QB coach in 2005. Over the past few seasons his offense has been fairly consistent at moving the ball and scoring points, again no defense to stop the opposition.
I’ll use the same 3 years I did with Donovan for consistency. In 2011 Duke averaged 366.3 yards per game, 5.12 yards per play, and 22.5 points per game (18.9 vs. AQ). Those are actually pretty bad numbers compared to Donovan, but just wait. In 2012 Duke averaged 409.2 yards per game, 5.37 yards per play, and 31.5 points per game (27.2 vs. AQ), a significant jump in production. So far this season they are 452.1 yards per game (432 vs. AQ), 6.12 yards per play (5.82 vs. AQ), and 35.7 points per game (35.7 vs. AQ).
And if you though Duke was just chucking the ball around, forget it. This year they average 174.5 yards per game on the ground vs. AQ competition on 39.75 attempts a game (sacks included). They pass the ball 34.5 times a game for 257.5 yards against AQ competition this season. Vanderbilt in comparison is actually in favor of passing more than running this season against AQ competition.
Who are your top two candidates? Are you looking to Joker? Or do you want Brent Pease to stay for some reason, if so why?