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Week Ten Mailbag

What would my dream staff look like? I got to nerd out this week.

NCAA Football: Georgia Tech at Louisville Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

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I think this is a question that a lot of folks are wondering and it makes total sense. I tend to side with the camp of firing a coach when it’s obvious things are at that point. It doesn’t do anyone any good to go through practices and games when the coach has lost his team. Players will or have checked out and assistant coaches are already working to find a new job.

However, Louisville is in a pretty unique situation because they don’t have a coach that you can rust to run this team for the rest of the year. Brian VanGorder has head coaching experience but he was bad at it and there’s no telling if he would be able to handle things on the offensive side of the ball. The next question is who would call the offense? Lonnie Galloway hasn’t been a play caller before that I know of so the job would likely fall to Mike Summers. He hasn’t called plays for years and could have a hard time trying to take over on short notice.

You also would hope that a move would energize the team. The bowl game last year is a good example of that. Mississippi State players knew that the guys they were playing for were leaving and they still came out and played their asses off. I don’t know that UofL has a coach that the players love and that they would play hard for. I think that’s completely due to them seeing Petrino talk down to them and assistant coaches being used as the bearers of bad news all the time.

I think the star system worked out perfectly when you look at Rondale Moore and Tutu Atwell. Moore is a four star guy that probably should have been ranked higher and Atwell was a three star guy that was reevaluated late in the process and was given a ratings bump. They’re similar players when you look at their size but there are some real differences in their games.

Moore is a “make you miss” runner in the open field. He has identified that he won’t be able to outrun everyone so he focuses on making cuts and setting up defenders in space to make them miss him or to give himself a better shot of running past them. He’s also a beast in the weight room and it shows on the field. His second touchdown against Ohio State showed that. Moore is just a rare type of talent that does everything so well.

Atwell is more of a straight line guy when it comes to his speed. He has plenty of speed but I think he’ll start to realize that he can’t just outrun everyone at this level at some point. I tend to think that some of this comes from what position guys play in high school and how they develop as open field runners. While Moore ran a bunch of tunnel screens and other short routes where he had to make guys miss, Atwell was typically running from the pocket where most guys had their backs turned to him. He was usually outrunning people down the field as opposed to having to avoid them.

I also think that he has a long way to go as a route runner. That’s completely expected as he is just now playing wide receiver. I’d listen to an argument that Atwell could end up getting to a similar level as Moore with more time to develop but as true freshmen, they’re just not in the same class.

I only remember one of my costumes as a kid but that’s probably because it was the best. My parents dressed my brothers and I up as Chicago Bears players. We had plastic helmets and jerseys but I don’t remember if we ended up with actual football pants or not. I’ve never been much of a Halloween person but that’s one of my favorite childhood memories. My mom has a picture somewhere that I seem to stumble onto every once in a while.

I might be mischaracterizing it but I always felt like the old X-Men cartoon series was super underrated. I loved it and I don’t ever really see people talk about it. I’m a bit of a comic book nerd so maybe that’s why I loved it but it was my routine as a kid to be in front of the TV when it came on Saturday mornings. I’d also like to point out that it’s a travesty that Teen Titans is the only comic book cartoon available these days.

This is a good question because I think most fans are looking for a coach who can show that he can build a good staff. Bobby Petrino has had obvious issues with hiring good, qualified coaches so the next guy that takes the job has to show the opposite.

If Brohm is the guy to get the job I think he will likely bring everyone on his staff with the exception of Kevin Wolthausen who shares the duties of the special teams coordinator. I don’t think that Brohm had a spot on his staff that needed that tenth coaching spot that he added this year so he added a “Purdue guy” that could help out in the one spot that he lost a coach. He brought most of his WKU guys to Purdue and the few guys he added were hand picked.

JeMarcus Shepard is the rock star of the staff as he’s the best recruiter and he’s a guy that folks talk about as a future coordinator and head coach. Chris Barclay is another guy that has a good reputation as a recruiter even though I scored the longest touchdown of my career against him and he’s probably still recovering from that. Shepard was the guy that landed Rondale Moore while Barclay is a local guy that starred at Male with Montrell Jones and Michael Bush.

I also wouldn’t be shocked to see Brohm evaluate the guys on his staff and chose to make some changes. He wasn’t afraid to do that when he went to Purdue, so I doubt he’d have an issue with moving on from guys this time around, either.

Nah. That’s the most honest answer I can give. There’s nothing to build on with what they have up front right now. The offensive line has played six guys this year and no combination has played well yet. They’re losing three of those guys and whoever they are going to play use to replace them can’t crack the lineup this year even though the line play is terrible.

I’d guess that Adonis Boone will be the guy to replace Lukayus McNeil and Caleb Chandler will be at guard for Linwood Foy or Kenny Thomas. Robbie Bell has to be the guy at center next year and Cole Bentley would likely be back at guard. That gives you a line of Becton/Chandler/Bell/Bentley/Boone. That line will have never played together and we’d all have to expect for them to somehow be the first good line in six years under Petrino.

I also don’t know how that line does in Jeff Brohm’s system. Boone and Chandler would potentially be the best suited for it as it requires guys to have to get out and run into space on screens and trick plays. Boone has actually been used as a third tight end at times this year. He’s a good athlete and he can run. Chandler is also a guy that is a little smaller and he played on both sides of the ball in high school and he was very good on both sides.

The defensive line is just bad and I don’t know that anyone has shown that they are able or willing to do the things you have to do to help the defense. The interior guys don’t attempt to eat up blocks and they don’t make plays in one-on-one situations. UofL needs to find a true nose tackle that can eat space and hold up blockers. They also need to develop guys that can rush the passer.

Right now, I don’t think that the defensive line necessarily has “bad” players, but they have guys that can’t make plays. I think that some coaching would go a long way, but I’m don’t think that that will happen with this staff.

Via Email from Stephen: Vince Tyra just hired you as the next head football coach. Who do you want as your coordinators?

No offense to everyone else but we’re saving the best for last. This literally made my whole week because I’m a weirdo and I’m going to build my whole dream staff instead of just going with coordinators. Let’s get started:

Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks: Ryan Day - Ohio State

Day is a guy that I would love to see Louisville go after if they can’t get Jeff Brohm. His offenses have been able to be pass heavy or run heavy depending on personnel. He also has adapted his offenses from a formation and play design standpoint. That’s what UofL needs right now.

Defensive Coordinator: Mike Elko - Texas A&M

The easy choice would be Brent Venables but I think that he’s headed towards a head coaching job pretty soon so Elko is a little bit of a safer pick. Elko’s defenses have been very good going back to Wake Forest a few years back. It’s a havoc style system that creates a lot of negative plays.

Running Backs: Tommie Robinson - LSU

Robinson checks all of the boxes for me. He’s a veteran coach that has coached guys to success and he is an all-star recruiter. Robinson has landed some of the best players in the country over his career and your running back coach has to be a good recruiter.

Wide Receivers: Jeff Scott - Clemson

He’s the best in the country. Everyone will see why tomorrow.

Offensive Line: Joe Rudolph - Wisconsin

I love Rudolph’s ability to get the most out of lower rated players. Wisconsin has done a great job of turning three star guys into NFL level guys. He was able to do the same at Pitt before he made the move to Madison.

Tight Ends: Vince Marrow - Kentucky

Marrow is an ace recruiter that can be the primary guy for the state and Ohio. He probably can’t coach a lick but, whatever.

Defensive Line: Craig Kuligowski - Alabama

I was most impressed by Kuligowski when he was at Missouri a few yeas back. I think it’s been overlooked how many guys he developed there. He was also great at Miami over the last two years. Some of those guys are playing better this year because of the coaching he provided.

Linebackers/Recruiting Coordinator: Cort Dennison - Oregon

Dennison is one of the best young coaches in the country and he would grow well under Elko who was a linebacker coach at one point. Dennison is also a top recruiter and did well as the recruiting coordinator for Louisville last year.

Secondary: Corey Raymond - LSU

LSU is known as #DBU for a reason and Raymond is the main reason why. He’s been there for 6 years and they just keep producing All-Americans. Even though he’s only responsible for cornerbacks, he’d take on the entire secondary for my team.

Special Teams Coordinator: James Shibest - Virginia Tech

You get a guy that has continued the legacy of Beamer Ball with the added bonus that he can recruit at a high level.

One thing that all of these guys can do is recruit. Right now a big issue with Louisville football is the fact that multiple guys on staff can’t and don’t recruit at all. Every coach on my staff would need to recruit on top of the fact that they will coach their position and develop talent.