College Football spring games are in full swing after this weekend and in many top programs made moves over the winter changing head coaches, coordinators and with any college sports attrition.
Can Kevin Wilson fix Ohio State’s passing game?
Kevin Wilson, former head coach at Indiana, built a creative, up-tempo, spread offense that had the Hoosiers bowling the past two seasons. Before becoming Indiana’s head coach, Wilson coordinated Oklahoma’s offense from 2002-2010 including the 2008 Oklahoma Sooner team that had arguably the greatest offense in college football history. Sam Bradford threw for over 4700 yards, Demarco Murray and Chris Brown had over a thousand yards on the ground and five players had five hundred plus yards receiving. Ohio State relied on the running game with quarterback JT Barret, running backs Mike Webber and Curtis Samuel combining to average 245 yards per game on the ground. Barret threw for 2555 yards last season, but Samuel caught 865 of those yards. Clemson exposed the Buckeyes lack of a passing attack in last season’s playoff giving Urban Meyer his first shut-out as head coach. While at Oklahoma, Wilson worked with pocket passes such as Jason White, Sam Bradford, and Landry Jones. Wilson must figure out how to turn Barret into a competent passer into order for Ohio State to reach the playoff for the third year in a row. Ian Boyd from SB Nation highlighted some of the changes Wilson could make with Barrett to make him more of an effective passer. That article can be found here.
Has Alabama given up on the spread offense?
In 2014 Lane Kiffin was hired at Alabama to bring the spread offense to the Crimson Tide. Kiffin engineered offenses that broke several team records for total offense, passing yards, and an increased tempo that led to three playoff appearances, two national championship game appearances, and one National Championship. Over those three seasons Kiffin had three different quarterbacks in Blake Sims, Jake Coker and Jalen Hurts. In addition to changing the Tide’s offense, Kiffin caused conflict with Head Coach Nick Saban. On several occasions, during Kiffin’s tenure, Saban gave Kiffin an ass-chewings on the sidelines. Saban “fired” Kiffin before last season’s National Championship game. After Kiffin was hired at Florida Atlantic Saban hired former Patriots Tight ends coach Brian Daboll to be the offensive coordinator. By hiring Daboll has Saban reverted back to a pro-style offense? I would like to think so after last year’s title game where the Crimson Tide’s defense ran out of gas due to the Crimson Tide no-huddle spread approach that had too many three and outs to be effective. For the first time in Saban’s tenure at Alabama, they let a ten point lead slip away in the second half.
Can Clemson re-load?
The mark of any elite program in college football is the ability to plug starters in a year to year and be able to compete for the National Title. Clemson is facing that dilemma now after losing the entire offensive skill positions during the off-season. Two-time ACC player of the year Deshaun Watson led the Tigers to back to back National Championship game appearances. Along with Watson, Clemson is losing running back Wayne Gallman, receivers Mike Williams, Artavis Scott and Tight end Jordan Leggett. Dabo Swinney has recruited well over the years and has replaced talented players before but replacing the entire offense is another story altogether. The offense must gel quickly as the schedule is pretty tough the first few weeks. After opening with Kent State; Clemson has Auburn at home (always a tough game) and a road game against Lamar Jackson and Louisville.
Will Texas become an elite program again?
From 2001-2009 Texas won at least ten games a year and never finished below 12th in the polls. After losing to Alabama in the 2009 National Title game the Texas program fell flat finishing with records 5-7, 8-5,9-4,8-5, 6-7, 5-7,5-7. Granted the Big 12 has gotten significantly better as a conference since 2009, but the Longhorns are the biggest name brand in the state of Texas, have an unlimited recruiting budget and generates the most revenue in the country. Texas made 92 million dollars profit from the 2016 football season…..92 million! That’s 92 million dollars to spend on coaches, staff members, facilities, equipment, travel expenses for recruiting, etc. All of those dollars are now in the hands of new head coach Tom Herman. As you may know, Herman was a Graduate Assistant with Texas during the 1999 and 2000 seasons before becoming the offensive coordinator at Texas State, Rice, Iowa State and Ohio State. The past two seasons Herman was the head coach at Houston finishing with a record of 22-4. The question, however, is can Herman sustain that success at Texas? Charlie Strong built Louisville into a BCS bowl winner and flamed out at Texas.