Dazed’s New OC Candidate List for the Oregon Ducks

DazeNconfused Editorials

Now that Oregon OC Kenny Dillingham has moved on to become the head coach at Arizona State, the question of finding his replacement exists. I’m keen for going the veteran route with this hire. Someone who has been a head coach, with lots of time as an Offensive Coordinator, and who can be a voice of wisdom for Dan Lanning. This will also allow Lanning to focus maximum energy into fixing the defensive side of the ball, by not having to overlook a young OC.

I’m also not basing the hire on the need to be a long-term OC. Oregon has had plenty of OC turnover and been highly successful on offense. I don’t think we have to limit ourselves to only long-term prospects. I also like the idea of having a former HC as our OC in our back pocket. If Lanning were to suddenly move on (we’ve seen that before) this would give us an in-house candidate in the new head coach hiring pool.

Proven Commodities 

No. 1. My top hire is running it back with Dirk Koetter, (Top Photo) the former Oregon Duck OC. He has been a HC and OC in college and the NFL. He can be an excellent older and wiser voice in Lanning’s ear, and is the current OC at Boise State. I would open up the check book and pay him the $1.5 to $2 million to get him. If I’m Oregon’s AD Rob Mullens this hire would fit my bill of getting Lanning a mentor. If Lanning ever wants to move to the NFL, he would do well to have some time with a ex NFL OC and HC in Koetter.

No. 2. Tom Herman is another veteran hire. but can we pull him? Is Herman ready to get back in the coaching game after a two-year break? And if so, does he want to come back as an OC or HC? Herman has five years as a college head coach and a decade as an OC. He was Urban Meyer‘s OC -OB coach at Ohio State from 2012-2014 before he took his first head coaching job. Herman would be a great hire that I’d be willing to pay top dollar for.

Like Kenny Dillingham this year, Warren Ruggiero was in the running for The Broyles Award last year for outstanding assistant.

No. 3. Dan Mullen is a TV analyst this year. He has over a decade experience as head coach at Mississippi State and Florida. He was the QB coach at Utah for Urban Meyer, and his OC at Florida. Are you seeing a trend here? Another coach with tons of experience off the Meyer coaching tree. If we want to win a Natty with Lanning, we improve his odds with a veteran OC that has head coaching experience.

No. 4. Warren Ruggiero has been the Wake Forest OC for the last 9-years and he has been a QB coach for the last 22-years. The Wake “Slow Mesh” put up 51 points on the road against Clemson this year! Ruggiero’s an old college QB was the OC at Bowling Green before he came to Wake. At 56 years old he has spent the last 14-years as an OC between the two schools.

These are four solid veteran coaches I’ve listed, but we could also look to the youth movement. Across the youth movement you can poach a current OC from another school or promote someone to OC from a bigger school who has never been an OC and play caller.

Poach a Young OC 

Garret Riley is the 33-year-old bother of the USC head coach Lincoln Riley. Riley has spent the last three years as OC-QB coach at SMU and now TCU under head coach Sonny Dykes. Though he has only three years of play calling he led the SMU offense to a Top-15 showing in total offense both years. This year he has TCU at No. 16 in total offense as they try to win the Big-12 Championship game this coming weekend and earn a playoff berth.

I really like the idea of this hire. It would allow Riley to move out on his own from under his mentors’ wings in Dykes, just like Dillingham did this year. Riley was born in Texas, so there is some question if we can pull him from away from his roots. Can we convince Riley to be a pioneer and hit the trail to Oregon?

Brian Hartline is one of the hottest young coaches in America and one of the best recruiters.

Two Teaser Names For First Time OCs.

Brian Hartline is the 35-year-old current passing game coordinator – WR coach at Ohio State, and had a six-year NFL career as WR for the Dolphins and Browns. The Buckeyes have this coaching talent stashed, but with HC Ryan Day calling plays–moving on is the fastest route for him to become an OC and play caller. I think he takes the Ducks OC job in a heartbeat, and sticks it out for a few years until his name starts popping up on HC lists. If Lanning moves on, he will throw his hat in the ring for the Oregon job. Hartline is one of the top recruiters in college football, landing all kinds of WR talent at Ohio State in the last five classes. Though he has never been a QB coach, (and that needs to be addressed) players are drawn to him and relate to him. Someone is going to hire him as a first time play caller soon, and his team will gel around him.

Brennan Marion is the 35-year-old passing game coordinator –  WR coach for the Texas Longhorns. Marion was an offensive analyst with Dillingham in 2015 at Arizona State. Marion invented the GoGo Offense as a HS coach and used in at Howard and William and Mary from 2017 to 2029. He has been on three different FBS staffs the last three years, moving up to the Texas program this year. He is another future OC that someone is going to hire soon. Though Marion will not run the GoGo Offense at a Power-5 school, he would mix in a few tenets of the offset two back system.

If for some reason we promoted Junior Adams to OC, a move I do not support, (He has no experience as a QB coach and his play calling duties in the past were pulled after one year) then I’m going after Marion to take the spot of Adams as CO-OC and WR coach.

Coach Brennan Marion has an offense (GoGo) that Coach Boles, Mr. FishDuck and I admire.

Wildcard OC route

Before the start of the season, I wrote about the offensive minds in the coaching tree Dillingham comes from. Lanning has connections to that tree, or Dillingham could recommend a hire off that tree. Could we possibly see an under the radar name appear off this tree?

Duck fans we have no need to wring our hands over the loss of Dillingham, or having to make a new hire. The Oregon OC job has been prestigious position filled with great coaches over the years, and this is just another opportunity for the Ducks to bring in the next great Oregon Offensive Coordinator.

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Portland, Oregon
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