Raju pointed out earlier what he wanted in a coach, and I was going to do something similar, but instead, I figured I would focus on what I want this offseason. Assuming that the $14 million price tag to buy out Riley, the cost of hiring new coach, and maybe just good old fashioned “not wanting to make that change” prevents the athletic department from making a coaching change, I figured I would share what I feel would be solid offseason for the Beavers.
The key to this offseason is excitement. With a trip to Michigan on the horizon, the return of UCLA and Arizona to the schedule, and the graduation of a lot of players, Beaver Nation needs a reason to believe that the 2015 season will be different. In addition, the Valley Football Center renovation is very important and also will need some momentum.
So here are my sure fire ways to build excitement. Any variance from these will ring disingenuous to Beaver fans. Honestly.
1. Coaching Changes:
Should the Beavers end up 8-5 or 9-4 this year, then all coaching changes should be just the natural attrition that staffs experience annually. Should they finish any worse, then there needs to be a change in the coaching department. Not just some GA being replaced, but legitimate changes, even at coordinator or moving away from a dedicated special teams coach to help with some serious transitions on either side of the ball.
We also need to address a glaring hole on the staff, and that is the coaching of the safeties. Mitch Meeuwson was on staff in 2012, and the safety play was exceptional that entire year. Our safeties have not been put in the same position to succeed this season. So addressing this need will be important on the defensive side of the ball specifically. It also gives the staff an opportunity to bring in an A+ plus recruiter such as Brasfield or Bray.
I suggest finding someone whose name starts with “B”.
2. Scheme Change:
No one wants to hear “We are going to look into speeding things up and maybe doing some read option,” because we heard that in 2010 with Ryan Katz in the fold. And in 2011. And in 2012. And in 2013. “Looking into” is a term that should not exist this offseason. Here is a plan that I think would excite people and get fans interested:
- “We are abandoning the huddle.”
No gray area. OSU is going no huddle.
- “We hired new offensive coordinator (insert offensive guru name here) to revitalize our offense.”
Nothing against Garrett, and he could do great in year two, but most people are not going to be excited about a big offensive scheme change ran by the same coaches. They are going to want to see a commitment to something new that can only happen by bringing in someone with a VASTLY different, yet, successful scheme than what the Beavers have ran the last 18 years.
- “We are increasing our recruiting staff by x people.”
The most important factor in winning in Corvallis is recruiting. The most important thing anywhere is recruiting. OSU needs to finish in at least the top six of the conference to compete for titles. Even two people would be doubling the staff and allow more contact and more review of film.
No maybes, just a plain “Here is what we are going to do” approach is what’s need. If that means cleaning house a bunch, then clean house. What I don’t want to hear is “That is not how we do things here” or “We are going to research that and see what we can do.” To be honest, the coaches should do their research from watching other teams torch them with these offenses, while also recognizing how hard it is to sustain drives with theirs or score late in the game or the at half with little time. No one says “Crap, there is 1:40 left? We scored too early!” against OSU, at least not this year — and we have a great QB!
They do say that about most everyone else the Beavers play, though.
You have 12 weeks to research what works, so walk across the hall and ask Banker what keeps him up at night. Regardless, hemming and hawing about some changes will sell zero tickets. Decisive action based on a plan will.
3. Architectural mock ups of the new Valley Football Center
Seriously. The project is supposed to start after the Civil War and we still don’t have images plastered all over the interwebs? That is the height of ridiculous.
4. National AD Search:
I hate advocating for firing people. I have done it twice in this post alone, but the reality is that a HUGE portion of the fan base is done with Bob DeCarolis. Not only are they done with him, but his decisions on some very poor coaches contracts are the reason we are using TV money and school loans to pay off coaches’ salaries for coaches who don’t even coach here anymore, and why the university has no leverage to use against Mike Riley.
I am not an advocate of firing people, but what we have is a ton of debt that cannot be retired unless we win more and build excitement around the program. If that cannot be done by Riley, we are going to have such a huge hurdle to climb in the future that it could cripple multiple programs. There is no doubt in my mind that while Bob has presided over the most successful era of OSU sports, that a new vision and a new direction of the non-Glee variety will get people excited.
But you cannot just anoint someone from within. No more inbreeding. A national search that includes athletic directors who have a track record of successful coaching hires and fundraising for capital campaigns. If you want people that are familiar with the culture of Oregon State, go for guys like Greg Byrne or Todd Stansbury who have proven themselves at other schools. I just don’t want OSU to take the easy way out. If you want to build excitement, you need to hire people that will garner it.
Again, i am not calling for anything, but if you want to get people excited, those are things that will. If you want to have a memorable offseason that will get butts in seats for a spring game to see what the heck is going on and then give season ticket sales a boost, these are the things that will do it. Go big or go home, I guess.
At this point, I am not sure how many games OSU will win this year. Maybe all of them. Maybe none of them. But if it is closer to the latter, these are the types of things that NEED to happen or you will have a half empty Reser and a lot of closed wallets in 2015.