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Badger Breakdown: The OC Sweepstakes

Who will call the plays in year one of the Gary Andersen regime? It's time to break us down some candidates.

Could the Nevada offensive coordinator be our weapon of choice?
Could the Nevada offensive coordinator be our weapon of choice?

UPDATE: 12/28, 3:15 CST. Seems as if Rolovich becomes the leading candidate to be Nevada's Head Coach, yes?


Hello, did you all have a nice restful holiday? I know I did. Yes, yes I missed you too.

But what might have been lost in all the holiday hullabaloo was the news of Matt Canada's buyout. It's half a million dollars. There's no more Canada jokes coming back around these parts anytime soon. But I say to you there's a real name that would be an exciting offensive coordinator hire.

And there are some other hires that I would not kick out of Madison on first blush either.

I do have a certain methodology as to breaking this down. You figure you want an offensive coordinator who runs a lot, and you want an offense that was successful with it. You're likely not going to be able to wrest an offensive coordinator from a BCS power school like Oregon. So you're looking at a mid-major offensive coordinator with upside.

Of this, there are five. I will add two other options with some amount of intrigue. These go here.

David Yost (Former Offensive Coordinator, Missouri)
Yost is a strong consideration for a buy low candidate. He lost Henry Joisey, a lot of lineman, and had to trade up in defensive levels from the Big 12 to the SEC. Before then, the worst offense he was an integral part of was in 2010. He finished 35th on offense. He's young (still just 42), he's got a well developed reputation as a quarterback whisperer, deserves the credit for bringing in 2011's No. 1 freshman Dorial Green-Beckham, and as 2011 proved, is not so inflexible as to not use the resources provided to him.

Now, that being said? He is a spread guy. And there is an element to that would never warm to him in Wisconsin. Also, if he was willing to incorporate other elements into his offense, he would have been calling plays for Mike Gundy by now. It's a longshot. But one that could very well pay off. But for me, he's not the guy.

Brian Johnson (Offensive Coordinator, Utah)
Now, I immediately hate him because, like anyone younger than me and so much more successful, they make me feel like I've done something wrong.

In all seriousness, he's a 25-year-old who called all the plays for Utah last year. And if Gary Anderson wants to bring friends and people whom he knows to call plays? Brian Johnson has to be in play. But Utah's not been exactly healthy offensively over the past couple of seasons.

But in fairness, he did improve the offense. The mess when he was the QB Coach? 109th in offense. This year, 108th. I'm not so dumb as to say that he won't get there. But next season? We may not be in a good mood.

Louis Ayeni (Assistant Head Coach/Run Game Coordinator, Toledo)
Another coach with a lot of youth energy. Ayeni was one half of the coordinating team that helped make Toledo one of the best offenses in 2011. In the Matt Campbell breakdown, I've made mention of how 2012 was more of a retrenchment season and they we're going to lose some momentum because of it. But even despite all that, were you aware that David Fluellen is currently in the clubhouse as 11th ranked rusher as of today?

It's true! And Ayeni is someone who knows how to work the Big Ten territory. He's a little untested and has had to share responsibility with Scott Isphording. But Ayeni's a hire with some semblance of upside.

Greg Peterson (Offensive Coordinator, Tulsa)
Peterson is a little bit more of a journeyman assistant than most. He's 52, and has already had offensive coordinating experience on a BCS level, as he was promoted to offensive coordinator in the final two seasons of Bill Snyder's first Kansas State run. It did not work well. It was not a Dave Clawsonesque implosion, but he had to catch on as the tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator at Washington State before he climbed back up the ladder.

He has had reasonable amounts of offensive success in the three stops he's been since leaving Washington State. And perhaps he's ready for a second chance to be a BCS coordinator. But -- and I'm going to channel Jon Gruden here -- he may be a guy, but he may not be THIS GUY.

John Reagan (Offensive Coordinator, Rice)
Rice isn't an easy place to win at. If you win at Rice, you're bound to be a candidate. And John Reagan's built an offense that can get yards on the ground. There was a big improvement in total offense between 2011 and 2012. And he's got seasons of experience as a running game coordinator at Kansas (when they were good).

Is Reagan a solid candidate? Absolutely. Does he know how to get two talented runners on the field at the same time? Definitely. Is he the best candidate in this field? No. But he's definitely a solid hire.

Rich Skrosky (Offensive Coordinator, Ball State)
A bit of a sleeper candidate. From the New York/New Jersey area, Skrosky was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the Elon Phoenix and was a part of an offense that helped make Elon into a winning FCS program. He joined head coach Pete Lembo on a trip to Muncie to fill the offensive coordinator position. And in one season he helped turn Ball State into a dangerous offense.

But the question is this: Is he willing to break up the tag team for a lateral move in position? (Let me reiterate, the Badgers are absolutely more prestigious, but maybe he doesn't want to leave a head coach is what I'm saying.) Because if he is? He's an absolutely solid hire. I wouldn't say a bad thing about this move. It's just...

Nick Rolovich (Offensive Coordinator, Nevada)
If there's an offensive coordinator that hire that would get me to throw up another set of Daniel Bryan gifs? It's Nick Rolovich. Has he coordinated two Top 10 offenses? Yes. Does he know how to use the resources provided to him? Absolutely. Does he have familiarity with our defensive coordinator Dave Aranada? Totes.

And the pistol offense? I know there's some skeeve about the spread. But this quote should allay fears about this offense.

"There are no gimmicks in our offense," Nevada head coach Chris Ault recently explained. [source]. "When the shotgun offenses came out, I enjoyed watching those teams move the football. The thing I did not like was the idea of a running back getting the ball running east and west," he said. "We have always been a north and south running game offense."


Ahem, this is a coach who can put together an efficient offense with the resources provided. And he's currently low cost and under the radar. You know the only school that has an interest in having him come? Temple.

We can get this guy. And he could work so well.