In early 2005, Florida hired a Mountain West coach that ran a West Coast style offense. At the end of 2000, USC hired a coach that had failed repeatedly in the NFL, hadn’t coached in a year, and hadn’t coached in college in SEVEN years. In 2007, Stanford hired this:
Between the three of them as coaches: ten conference championships (college), five National Championships, four Heisman winners, three Super Bowl appearances, and one Super Bowl ring. And none of them had to spend any time in Tuscaloosa or Baton Rouge.
The proliferation of “spread” style offense, getting athletes into space, and emphasizing one-on-one match ups has tipped the scales away from X’s and O’s and more towards player recruitment and development with just a smidgen of Dodge Charger bulk buy discounts sprinkled in. The problem with this is that ONE team in all of FBS is leaps and bounds ahead of everyone else in those departments.
Some programs, like Penn State, choose to get creative. They hire young OC’s from the FCS level and not unlike Paul Walker’s talented, athletic and BEAUTIFUL character in the final game of Varsity Blues, lines up extra wide outs and throws it all over the field with no regard for silly things like “time of possession” or “ball security.” He also does this while older and VERY conservative Texans look on in equal amounts of fear, anger, and insecurity.
Of course, you can always choose to copy someone else’s recipe for success. Imitation is a very sincere form of flattery and a proven way to get Nick Saban’s sweet, sweet, Little Debbie Cream Pie scent in that locker room is to hire a
Derek Dooley Will Muschamp Jim McElwain Mark Dantonio Jimbo Fischer.
But is that what YOU really think you can get? Do you really think you’ll get a coach that will even reach a fraction of that level of success? A fraction that still equates to probably at least 3 conference championships and at least one set of back-to-back national championships, all on the backs of some very questionable recruiting tactics and an absolute bottomless pit of booster support?
Sure, he’s had some solid DC’s that have a proven record on that side of the ball, even as head coaches but do you REALLY love to watch defense that much? Specifically, defenses that spend almost the entire 60 minutes on the field only to watch as modern offenses evolve right before their very tired and weary eyes? You know damn good and well that you’d rather watch CSPAN coverage of the Iowa caucus than an actual Iowa football game.
Football programs, both up-and-comers and blue-bloods, usually find their lot in life is better off after they’ve hired someone that actually does things significantly differently, whether it be changes to recruiting (Nick Saban, Jimbo Fischer) changes in scheme (Chip Kelly, Steve Spurrier) or changes in culture (PJ Fleck, Pete Carroll). Teams will get it wrong, hires won’t always work out, and flashes in the pan may not pan out in the long run. But what’s that saying Bama’s staff put up all over the locker room after the 2013 season? Something about doing the same thing over and over again…