I'm going over here...to Seattle.
It's oFISCHal, the Seattle Seahawks have hired away Jedd Fisch. The bad news is that we are going on our fourth offensive coordinator in five years. The good news is that we are replacing a guy who led the Gopher offense to last in the Big Ten in most offensive stategories.
The facts are these...
|B10 Rank||NCAA Rank|
|3rd Dwn %||34.10%||11th||not found|
Those numbers are anything but impressive. The Jedd Fisch era was brief and very disappointing. But one can't help but wonder if year 2 would have seen a remarkable turnaround simply because of continuity. 2009 was a year of adjustment for the players and for Fisch who had never been a coordinator before. Given a full season for the players to adjust to his style, terminology, expectations and scheme they would have been better equipped to execute without thinking. And given a full season of learning how to game plan, prepare, teach and call plays in a game as an offensive coordinator should have set Fisch up to be much more successful in year two than he was in year one.
But that is pure speculation and we will never know.
Based on the numbers, my heart does not break to watch Jedd Fisch take an NFL job as a position coach and leave the Gopher offense in the hands of someone else. What makes this loss disconcerting all comes down to one thing. One five-syllable word that is probably not in the vernacular of any Gopher football fan.
- the state or quality of being continuous.
- a continuous or connected whole.
As stated this will be the fourth offensive coordinator in five seasons for the Golden Gophers. Fifth year seniors, like Adam Weber, will be learning a new offense for the fourth time. Guys like Brandon Green, Da'Jon KcKnight, Troy Stoudermire and Eric Lair will have their third OC in three seasons. That is unprecedented and it is disastrous for an offense. I realize that Brewster desires for the incoming OC to run the same offense, but there will still be differences in teaching style, expectations, play-calling rhythm and communication. All essential for an offense to execute effectively.
This is where I truly envy our Big Ten neighbors to the south who have had their OC (Ken O'Keefe) for 11 continuous seasons and DC (Norm Parker) also for 11 consecutive seasons. Iowa isn't the most explosive team but they know who they are, their players know what to expect and they do it well.
So what does this all mean for the 2010 Gophers? Your guess is as good as anybody else's but I am very afraid that this is going to be a short-sighted hire. Brewster has stated that he wants the incoming OC to keep continuity in the offense, right down to the terminology. While I am all for continuity, this is the wrong approach. This approach is a 1-year grasp at straws to get the most out of the 2010 offense (and save his job). It does not, however, have the best interests of the Gopher offense at heart.
I hope Brewster goes out and hires the right coach, not the coach who is willing to teach the 2009 offensive playbook. Bring in the best offensive coordinator you can find. Bring in someone talented, let him run HIS SYSTEM and do whatever you can to keep him here for several years. I realize the offense may not take the strides we all want to see in 2010, but the other option appears to be bring in someone less talented who is willing to do what he is told or someone who wants to run "his" system. The ultimate problem in this scenario is that Brewster is gifted at some things as a head coach. He rallies his players around him, he recruits well, his teams are generally prepared and he seems to organize his staff well. But he absolutely needs to be surrounded by very good coordinators. Which again leads me to plead, hire the best available OC.
I am very afraid that this is a lose-lose scenario when it comes to 2010. As mentioned, either we hire an inadequate coach who is willing to use the current playbook (square peg, round hole scenario OR someone over their head). Or Brewster thinks long-term (while fighting for his job in the short-term) and hires someone who will tweak / alter / throw out the 2009 playbook. This may be better in the long run but 2010 may be another down year for the Gopher offense as everyone has to adjust...(sigh) again.
The in-house scenario would be that Brewster will promote Tim Davis (current OL coach and Run Game Coordinator). Davis will be familiar with the personnel and the playbook. The players will be familiar with Davis. But Davis has no OC experience. Nobody will be surprised if this is the hire. But it does have the appearance of a bunker-down mentality by surrounding yourself with those closest to you and hoping for the best rather than taking a risk and getting best man available.
If Brewster goes outside of his current staff, I will be shocked if it is a big name hire who has any chance of being here long term. A name like Mike Leach is tossed around but it is not only crazy (because he's not coming here), but even if he did he won't be here for very long as this would be a stopping point till a better job came along.
Like I said, who knows what is going to happen. But not even the optimist in me sees this as a positive for 2010. 2009 was bad and there really should be some improvement in 2010 but it will likely be another year of adjustments and great strides will be hard to come by. The best thing we can do is hire for the long-term. This is a desperate plea to make this a great hire for 2011 and beyond.