We Don't Need a Big Name OC

We're all assuming right now that Gary Crowton is on his way out.  It's one of those situations that has a lot of smoke, with 1) a whole lot of suckitude coming out of our offense this year, and 2) rumors of a genuine rift between Crowton and Miles.

A lot of names have been bounced around as replacements, from Charlie Weis to Steve Kragthorpe to Norm Chow and others.  I don't see a whole lot of point in saying, "I want us to get [insert rising young superstar coach or former unsuccessful head coach who may be looking to get back to what made him so popular in the first place]."  It's just too uncertain at this point, and we don't actually know if there will be an opening.  Assuming there is one, I would have nothing against hiring a Steve Kragthorpe, but I just want to remind everyone that sometimes the big name isn't a very successful hire and sometimes it's better to go with someone who is lesser-known.

In thinking about the OC position, I keep going back to what Alabama did before the 2008 season.  Nick Saban had previously hired rising superstar coach Major Applewhite to be his offensive coordinator.  Applewhite had as much name recognition as any offensive coordinator in the country, but was mainly traveling on his success as a player rather than his accomplishments as a coach.  In 2007, under Major Applewhite, the Bama team had serious offensive deficiencies and limped to a 6-6 regular season.

With Applewhite out of the picture following that season, Saban hired a relatively young, but not super-young, offensive coordinator whose previous experience was at Fresno State.  Jim McIlwain wasn't on anyone's list of hot young coaches looking to move up in the world, but a funny thing happened.  Bama's offense improved.  Part of that was due to an influx of young talent: Mark Ingram, Julio Jones; but quite a lot of it was just due to him figuring out what his veterans like Glen Coffee and John Parker Wilson could do well and having them do it, while playing within their comfort zones, and emphasizing competence over flashiness.

It wasn't a splashy hire, but Bama's offense went from suspect to solid.  Saban went out and hired someone he could work well with and whose offense complemented his attacking style of defense.  It wouldn't surprise me in the least if we tried, consciously or not, to emulate that decision process.

I'm not advocating anyone in particular, and it wouldn't surprise or disappoint me if the person Miles ultimately hires is someone I have not yet heard of.  Personally, the idea I like the best of the ones I've heard is to go get Todd Monken if the Jacksonville Jaguars decide to clean house.  Monken is a former WR coach at LSU and is a very good coach who would probably return to college to take an offensive coordinator position.  I won't be disappointed if it doesn't happen, but I suppose it may.

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