Thursday, December 13, 2012
A look at potential A&M OC candidates
By Sam Khan Jr.
Texas A&M is now searching for an offensive coordinator after Kliff Kingsbury accepted the top job Wednesday at his alma mater, Texas Tech.
So who will fill the void left by Kingsbury, who guided the Aggies to the No. 3 offense in the country in both yardage and scoring? Here are some names coach Kevin Sumlin might consider, in alphabetical order:
UCLA's Noel Mazzone has known Kevin Sumlin since they coached together at Minnesota.
David Beaty The receivers coach on the Texas A&M staff, Beaty has coordinator experience, having been the offensive coordinator at both Kansas and Rice. He has been a terrific recruiter for the Aggies and the receivers thrived under his watch, particularly redshirt freshman Mike Evans, who developed into the team's go-to guy.
Shannon Dawson The West Virginia offensive coordinator has experience with an offensive style similar to A&M's, spending the last two seasons with the Mountaineers and coach Dana Holgorsen, a former offensive coordinator under Sumlin.
Noel Mazzone The UCLA offensive coordinator is someone Sumlin has known for awhile. The two crossed paths at Minnesota in the early 1990s when they were both offensive assistants for the Gophers. Mazzone and Sumlin have also spent a lot of time together at the annual "One-back clinic" where many spread coaches unite to share ideas about their style of offensive football. This option would be a good fit.
Clarence McKinney He's the recruiting coordinator and running backs coach at Texas A&M. He hasn't been a coordinator at the college level but he has spent five years in this offense with Sumlin (four at Houston, one at Texas A&M), so it stands to reason that he knows the scheme well.
Chad Morris Texas A&M's Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback, Johnny Manziel, threw this name out there via Twitter on Wednesday night, tweeting "Chad Morris back to his alma mater?? #paytheman#baller" The tweet has since been deleted from Manziel's account, but it's worth considering. However, considering Morris' $1.3 million salary, it's probably a real long shot. Morris' next job will probably be as a head coach, not as a coordinator.
Lincoln Riley The East Carolina offensive coordinator has experience in the style of offense Texas A&M runs, having coached under Mike Leach at Texas Tech, spending seven seasons in Lubbock, Texas, before joining the East Carolina staff in 2010.
Jason Phillips Phillips, the co-offensive coordinator and receivers coach at SMU, also has experience with the Aggies' offensive style, having held the same position in Houston under Sumlin. In Houston, Holgorsen and then Kingsbury served as the primary playcallers, not Phillips, so that's worth considering when thinking about Phillips' chances.
Jake Spavital The West Virginia quarterbacks coach is a bit young, only two years removed from being a graduate assistant, so it's probably a long shot, but he did spend a season at Houston under Sumlin as a graduate assistant in 2009 and has worked with Holgorsen at both Oklahoma State and West Virginia. Quarterbacks he has worked with include Case Keenum, Brandon Weeden and Geno Smith.
Bob Stitt This would be an outside-the-box option and is probably a real long shot, but Stitt is the head coach at Division II Colorado School of Mines. He carries a lot of respect among spread/Air Raid-style coaches out there. He has been a one-back clinic guy and is the man behind the version of the fly sweep that Holgorsen and Kingsbury have run, where the quarterback "touch pass" or "volleyball tosses" it to the receiver rather than handing it off.