What will new OCs bring to Texas?
Dave Behr, Staff Writer
Texas’ offense has the potential to look very different in 2011. Rumors about different offensive coordinators leading next year’s Longhorns are being bounced around on a daily basis. Each guy rumored for the job has pros and cons that Mack Brown will have to weigh.
Does Brown want a guy to continue the pro-style offense transition that started last offseason? What about a guy who’s offense has been revolutionary even though it goes away from the pro-style scheme? Is a guy with familiarity of the program the best bet or is it OK if he doesn’t as long as he has experience going against BCS conferences?
Here’s a look at the six guys Hookem.com views as the top candidates to replace Greg Davis and what kind of offense they’ll likely bring to the University of Texas.
Bryan Harsin (Hookem.com’s bio)
Experience: 5 yrs. as offensive coordinator for Boise State
Harsin’s M.O.: Harsin’s offense at Boise State has been spread all the way. The Broncos offense is all about speed. Despite the recognition for quarterback Kellen Moore, the BSU offense runs it more than it throws (and it has in every year except one under Harsin). If he becomes the next offensive coordinator at Texas, he will have the benefit of using talent in the backfield unlike anything he’s had before. Harsin’s only 200+ pound running back at Boise State is safety-turned-running back Doug Martin in 2009-2010.
What to expect: If Mack Brown extends the offer to Bryan Harsin, it would seem Mack is still interested in utilizing the spread offense. Harsin learned Boise’s attack under BSU head coach Chris Petersen and it wouldn’t be likely to see him switch up his style at his first new job.
Major Applewhite (Hookem.com’s bio)
Experience: 2 yrs. as offensive coordinator; 1 at Rice, 1 at Alabama
Applewhite’s M.O.: In his balanced offenses, Applewhite relied heavily on one go-to receiver. At Alabama it was D.J. Hall (67 receptions) and at Rice it was Jarett Dillard (91 rec). He used a two-headed running attack at both schools; Glen Coffee and Terry Grant at Alabama, and Quinton Smith and Chase Clement (also the quarterback) at Rice.
What to expect: If Applewhite is named offensive coordinator, expect it to be as a co-offensive coordinator with one of these other candidates. Applewhite has been able to mold his offense to the personnel on hand. Applewhite would probably keep the Texas bus moving towards an pro-style offensive attack and would certainly utilize incoming freshman Malcolm Brown (whom he recruited) to the fullest.
Paul Chryst (Hookem.com’s bio)
Experience: 8 yrs. as offensive coordinator: 2 at Oregon State, 6 at Wisconsin
Chryst’s M.O.: Chryst is an attractive candidate because of his ability to succeed with different types of offenses. He ran a pass-heavy attack at OSU and is currently running a run-heavy offense with Wisconsin. Whatever his players can do, that’s what he’ll do. At Oregon State he had a great college quarterback in Derek Anderson a great running back in Steven Jackson and two solid wide receivers. At Wisconsin, he’s been given a quality running back year after year and each year the ground game has improved (from 37th in ‘05 to 12th in ‘10).
What to expect: This may be the hardest one to peg because it seems Chryst would first have to figure out where the best talent lies. If he likes and trusts Garrett Gilbert (or one of his backups), he’ll mold the offense to him. If he likes and trusts incoming freshman Malcolm Brown, then get ready for a Wisconsin-style offense in Texas.
Jim McElwain (Hookem.com’s bio)
Experience: 4 yrs as offensive coordinator; 1 at Fresno State, 3 at Alabama
McElwain’s M.O.: One thing has been a constant in all the years McElwain has been in charge of offenses, he likes to run. 2010 has been his most balanced year as a play-caller with a 55/45 run-to-pass ratio. If you tally up all four years, his offenses run the ball 61% of the time.
What to expect: A Jim McElwain hire almost certainly signals a pro-syle shift in the offense. McElwain will utilize incoming freshman Malcolm Brown and the rest of the Texas RB corps and likely put much less of an emphasis on Garrett Gilbert and the passing game. A wide receiver like Mike Davis can still flourish in McElwain’s offense (a la Julio Jones at Alabama), but the emphasis will be strongly on the running game.
Experience: 19 yrs as offensive coordinator; 8 at Cal State Fullerton, 9 at Purdue, 2 at Tennessee
Chaney’s M.O.: Jim Chaney’s most successful offenses over the years have come due to great passing games. The nine years he spent at Purdue saw six offenses ranked in the top 16 nationally in total offense, and in all but one year it was because of a top-15 ranked passing attack. Though Chaney has led offenses that have relied heavily on the run, he’s had the most success with offenses who let it fly.
What to expect: We’d get a real good idea of how good Garrett Gilbert is if Jim Chaney took the helm of Texas’ offense. Chaney was able to work wonders with a QB by the name of Drew Brees while at Purdue, so if Gilbert has any chance of succeeding, it may be with Chaney’s offense.
Experience: 7 yrs. as offensive coordinator; 4 at Louisville, 2 at Arkansas, 1 at Illinois
Petrino’s M.O.: Working under his brother Bobby during six of his seven years as an OC, Paul Petrino’s offenses have been superb. Petrino, like Chryst, has found success in different ways. At Louisville, both the running game and passing game were consistently ranked near the top in the nation. During his two year run at Arkansas, the passing attack was the bread and butter. And in his one season at Illinois he’s had to rely heavily on the run game, and because of that, his ground game is ranked 13th nationally.
What to expect: Petrino is an interesting case. He’s kind of like Chryst in that he’s had great success running different offenses, and he’s kind of like Harsin in that most of his success has come under a respected offensive mastermind (his brother, Bobby). If Mack extends the offer to Petrino, I would expect to see him try to install an offense similar to the one he ran at Louisville; a very balanced, high-scoring unit.