Now while I may not be the most on board with the possibility of Darrell Bevell returning to Madison as head coach. The matter of any semblance of a potential return necessitated a chat with the Editor of SB Nation's Seattle Seahawks blog Field Gulls, Danny Kelly, along the same lines as we've done for Paul Chryst and Willie Taggart.
And after all, if anyone's qualified to provide the insight needed into Bevell as coach? It's Mr. Kelly.
B5Q: Obviously, you are not a mind reader, but take a wild guess at Darrell Bevell's interest in a head coaching job at his alma mater.
It's kind of funny, Bevell gives a press conference every week but I don't think we as Seahawks fans really know a whole lot about him. He's more soft spoken, to the point, & understated than Pete Carroll, obviously, but he seems to very, very dedicated to coaching. Just guessing here of course, but I would have to think he'd jump at the opportunity to coach at Wisconsin.
B5Q: Have you been satisfied with Bevell's job performance thus far?
That's extremely difficult to answer, actually. The Seahawks haven't exactly been blessed with a high-octane offense in the two years Bevell has been the offensive coordinator, so it's tough to judge him free from all the mitigating factors and lack of talent at key positions. I can't lie that I've blamed him at times for the offensive shortcomings, but we all know that it's not always just the coaching staff's fault.
I wouldn't say many people were excited when he was announced as the replacement for a fired Jeremy Bates - he had sort of a tepid reputation and apart from Brett Favre's stellar year in Minnesota, a so-so track record of success. But, I do think he did do a pretty good job of maximizing Tarvaris Jackson's potential last season and calling plays that suited his skill set -- it was Jackson's best season as a pro -- and overall it's hard to complain with Russell Wilson's development this season.
Bevell bears the brunt of fans' ire when you see the Seahawks' offense stall -- with people criticizing his unimaginative playcalling (which can predictable at times: the 'run-run-pass on third down-punt theme was pretty prevalent early in the season), and I think he's been a bit too stubborn sticking to the run on first down at other times -- but overall I'd say that he's certainly impressed in some key situations of late. He's been delivered an edict from Pete Carroll to run the football even when running the football isn't working (to set up play-action), and to his credit (because Bates wouldn't do this), Bevell has had the discipline to stick with it.
Now that Russell Wilson has improved and the game has slowed down for him, I'd say Bevell's playcalling has started to really click. The Hawks have incorporated the read-option and bubble screens -- "college plays" -- into their offense to supplement their base package of inside/outside zone runs and deep shots down the field on play action, and execution and efficiency has improved a lot. I have to credit Bevell for at least some of this.
B5Q: How would you describe the Seahawks' offensive scheme and how it's changed since Bevell was hired?
It hasn't changed a ton since Bevell took over as OC, other than some minor tweaks; As said above, I'd just say that he's a little more disciplined in his play-calling, which I'm sure Pete Carroll loves. The basic scheme is a hybrid West Coast Offense that incorporates play-action to take deep shots several times a game.
The zone blocking scheme up front is designed to make Marshawn Lynch the centerpiece, and then things work off of that (not super familiar with Wisconsin, but from what I hear, there are a lot of similar features to the Badgers scheme, which is why Wilson was so quick to adjust). From what I know, the terminology is all WCO, but I think Seattle likes to use the deep bomb a little more than most WCO teams.
Bevell, like many OCs, is in a tough spot because when a play goes bad, it's oftentimes 'his fault' for calling a dumb play. Nevermind execution, of course. While at times I've been that guy questioning a playcall -- more specifically, situational playcalling taking time and field position into account -- there have been a few flashes of genius in there as Bevell will call double throws or flea flickers or some 'trick play' by methodically running 'set-up' plays that look the same initially, over and over to bait the defense. The argument could be made that he uses too many of these set up plays - bubble screens, end arounds, etc - and they cause a few too many 3-and-outs, but the 'explosive play' is one of the major tenants of the offense. Overall I'd say that Bevell's 'stamp' on the offense is the Seahawks' total dedication to the run as the core identity of the team.
This strikes me as something that would interest Wisconsin. And yes, I grew up a Nebraska fan. Sigh.
B5Q: Does Bevell strike you as the type of guy who would make an excellent head coach, or is he more of a x's and o's guy than a leader?
Honestly, he doesn't really. I don't know if a certain charisma is necessary for head coaching - I think a variety of personalities work - but he's not super talkative. Like I said above, he's been in Seattle coming on two years and I don't feel like I know anything about him. That said - he seems like the consummate professional, and he never says 'the wrong things', which seems to get a bunch of coaches in trouble of late.
B5Q: How disappointed would you be if Bevell departed Seattle to take the Wisconsin job?
I would probably be… indifferent, honestly. I think the 'scheme' and overall philosophy is more Pete Carroll's than Darrell Bevell's, so I don't think a whole lot would change if he were to go.