Thursday, April 4, 2013
New coaches bring recruiting prowess
By Brandon P. Oliver
When Chip Kelly left for the NFL and took defensive line coach Jerry Azzinaro with him, there was concern around the Oregon program that the Ducks' longtime coaching staff would fall apart. USC approached defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti, Louisiana Tech pursued former receivers coach Scott Frost and long-time running backs coach Gary Campbell was rumored to be close to retirement.
In the end, they all remained in Eugene, and the Ducks added two coaches with great potential.
While Azzinaro did a nice job of piecing together some solid defensive lines during his time in Eugene, the Ducks might have upgraded when they hired Ron Aiken to fill the vacancy. The former Arizona Cardinals' defensive line coach not only brings a proven track record of developing talent, he could be a big upgrade on the recruiting trail. The Ducks did land some solid recruits under Azzinaro, but not many of them had "Coach Azz" as their main recruiter.
Aiken is more likely to be able to take the lead on the Ducks' top defensive line targets. Aiken will be able to draw upon his recent NFL success -- where he helped the Cardinals rise to the top of the NFL's rushing defense charts -- and his relative youth to help develop relationships with recruits and coaches across the country.
While at Duke, Matt Lubick was a finalist to be the American Football Coaches Association Assistant Coach of the Year.
The Ducks have yet to make the defensive line much of an emphasis for this recruiting cycle, but that is mostly due to Aiken adapting and identifying which type of defensive linemen he wants to work with. Now that he has settled in and spring practice is under way, expect the laid-back and experienced Aiken to hit the ground running.
Former Nebraska quarterback Frost -- a rising star in the coaching ranks -- was promoted to offensive coordinator. As receivers coach, he did a great job recruiting a talented group of receivers and helped the Ducks' weakest offensive position group step up to match the rest of the potent offense.
Oregon wished to hire another young and talented coach that could recruit and coach up the young, but talented group and believe they found one in former Duke recruiting coordinator and wide receivers coach, Matt Lubick. Lubick is the son of former Colorado State coach Sonny Lubick, who was the defensive coordinator for the great Miami teams under Dennis Erickson before moving on to become a legend in Fort Collins. His son clearly has the pedigree, and has made stops at Colorado State, Oregon State, Ole Miss, Arizona State and Duke.
At Ole Miss, Lubick led the charge in their recruitment of Dexter McLuster. In Tempe, he was responsible for the Sun Devils' signing of Vontaze Burfict. At Duke, Lubick helped develop the wide receivers into a record-breaking group, including last year, when the Blue Devils were the only team in the nation with three receivers having recorded 60-plus catches. The Blue Devils' success led Lubick to be named a finalist for the American Football Coaches Association Assistant Coach of the Year.
“Matt Lubick — no offense to anyone I’ve ever worked with — is simply the best recruiter that I’ve ever worked with,” Duke coach David Cutcliffe said to footballscoop.com.
Given Oregon's success and growing national brand, hiring Lubick looks to be a great match. If Lubick and Aiken can continue to have the same success, Oregon's recruiting could reach the next level of success. Most of the old guard is still around in Eugene, bringing experience and stability while young coaches such as Frost and Lubick are at the forefront of the next generation.