There’s been a few names swirling around for the open offensive coordinator position in Tempe. After head coach Herm Edwards announced that Rob Likens would not return, many believed the spot had many suitors. Here is background on the few names that have been thrown around.
Hue Jackson, former NFL head coach
Jackson has been the name most talked about to replace Likens. Linked as another of ‘Edwards friends’ throughout social media, Jackson has quite the resume in coaching including his stop at Arizona State between 1992-1995 as an offensive assistant coach.
Of course Jackson will forever be connected with the incredibly bad years as head coach of the Cleveland Browns, however it shouldn’t cloud over the success he had elsewhere. Before taking the Browns’ job, Jackson was the offensive coordinator of Marvin Lewis’ Cincinnati Bengals for two seasons. In 2015 when the team went 12-4 they were a top 10 offense.
Jackson also had a one-year stint as head coach of the Oakland Raiders with a 8-8 record, but a new front office department went a different way. As the team’s offensive coordinator the previous year, the Raiders scored 25.6 points per game, the sixth most in the league. He also worked with Joe Flacco his first two years in the league, a time where Flacco was certainly regarded as an above average quarterback, as the Baltimore Ravens quarterbacks coach.
Jackson certainly has a history of coaching good offenses and has the easiest path to the job it appears.
Brain Lindgren, Oregon State offensive coordinator
Edwards probably sees the success Beaver running backs Jermar Jefferson and Artavis Pierce had the past two seasons and smiles. Edwards has always said he wants to run the ball, Oregon State has ran the ball well and numbers probably would be even better if the Beavers weren’t trailing as much as they’ve had the past two years.
Lindgren has had previous Pac-12 history, two years at Oregon State and five at Colorado as offensive coordinator. That’s an advantage over Jackson is that Lindgren knows college football and knows the conference. And he knows how to run the ball. In his last year at Colorado, the Buffs ran the ball the 35th most in the nation. Oregon State in 2018 were 50th, despite winning two games and needing to throw a lot.
The other thing is he also tended to make sure his star wide receiver, Isaiah Hodgins, got the ball. Over the past two years, fans tended to be upset that at times N’Keal Harry and Brandon Aiyuk weren’t being fed the ball enough in certain games.
Also going back to Edwards’ press conference before the Oregon State game this season, he said he was impressed with the improvements made by the offense. That’s a huge thing is the jump Oregon State has made over the past two seasons. The Beavers went from 116th (20.7) in scoring offense before Jonathan Smith and Lindgren came to Corvallis to 91th (26.1) in 2018 and 51st (31.2) in 2019.
Zak Hill, Boise State offensive coordinator
Similar to Oregon State, Boise State’s offense has continued to get better under Hill. The former Central Washington quarterback took over the job as coordinator by himself before the 2017 season. From 2017 to this season, the Broncos have only made a five-point rise in scoring offense. Although that seems marginal, the difference between 32.5 to 37.3 has Boise State ranked as the 13th best scoring offense currently.
Hill also worked with Hank Bachmeier, a freshman quarterback, for most of the start of the season. And for Hill, outside of calling an offense, the most important aspect of the potential of taking the Sun Devil position is continuing the development of quarterback Jayden Daniels. He had a similar experience with former Oregon quarterback Vernon Adams, while Hill and Adams were at Eastern Washington.
Who do you like for the job? Who else do you hope ASU looks at?