Update (12/8/11): Iowa State offensive coordinator Tom Herman has been hired as the QB coach.
If we can all set aside our collective excitement about the jolt that Urban Mayer has brought to the recruiting trail for a moment, there is also a new coaching staff currently being put together in Columbus that offers plenty of excitement in its own right.
First, we’ll start with the offensive side of the ball.
With the – let’s just call it less than ideal offensive play calling this season- which was the culmination of almost a decade’s worth of frustration, new blood and new ideas are just what the doctor ordered for the Buckeyes on offense.
Urban Meyer has the clout and the open checkbook to put together one of the best groups of coaches in the country, and that is just what he plans to do.
With an infusion of new talent practically across the board, the final product will almost certainly be a significant improvement.
Have I mentioned that this is something to get excited about?
Here is a look at some of the rumored top targets for Meyer’s offensive coaching staff.
Studrawa has long been rumored as one of the leading candidates to be the new offensive coordinator under Meyer. Studrawa was a graduate assistant at Ohio State, Meyer’s offensive line coach at Bowling Green, and is originally from Fostoria, Ohio.
His Buckeye roots and his connections to Meyer run deep.
Currently serving as LSU’s offensive coordinator/offensive line coach, he is likely being looked at to serve in a similar dual capacity at OSU.
It is difficult to gauge his interest at this time given his current preoccupation with preparing for a national championship game with LSU.
Due to these other responsibilities, Studrawa has fallen off a bit in rumor land in favor of some other big names.
Although we will likely have to wait until January to know for sure (unless another coach is hired before then), Studrawa is still a strong possibility for the Buckeyes moving forward.
Chad Morris has been a hot name for offensive coordinator for the past week or so, primarily due to the drop off in buzz surrounding Studrawa.
Anyone who has watched Clemson this season knows that their offensive style under Morris is right in line with Meyer’s philosophies, making this an intriguing option.
However, Morris has reportedly agreed to a new deal with Clemson, making this potential hire all but over before it really began.
Gregg Brandon served as Meyer’s offensive coordinator at Bowling Green and replaced Meyer as head coach at BG when Meyer moved on to Utah.
Unsurprisingly, Brandon has deep roots in Meyer’s preferred style of offense, and you have to imagine it wouldn’t be hard for Ohio State to outbid Wyoming for his services if they decided to go that route.
Scott Loeffler served as Meyer’s QB coach at Florida from 2009-2010 and as the long time QB coach at Michigan (his alma mater) prior to that.
By most accounts, Loeffler is a recruiting dynamo which is right in line with what Meyer looks for in his assistants.
While moving from offensive coordinator at Temple back to QB coach at Ohio State would seem like a step backwards, it is still a possibility given his connection with Meyer.
As we all know, Michigan’s entire football program is built on turning Ohio players and coaches to the dark side. If Loeffler is hired, it will be a strange feeling turning the tables on that school up north by converting one of their own against them.
Mike Sanford was Meyer’s offensive coordinator at Utah and mentored Alex Smith during his time there.
Like Loeffler, a move from assistant head coach/offensive coordinator at Louisville to quarterbacks coach at Ohio State would seem like a step backwards.
Money talks, as they say, and Meyer will likely pull out all the stops to get the coaches he wants.
Ohio State, WR
Stan Drayton will be retained as a part of Urban Meyer’s coaching staff, which is unsurprising given that he worked with Meyer at Florida immediately before coming to Ohio State.
Drayton coached WRs this year for the Buckeyes, but he will likely move back to RB, the position he coached while at Florida.
Having observed Drayton during practice in person, I can say that he is a very enthusiastic coach on the field.
His reputation on the recruiting trail, especially in Florida (see: Ricquan Southward) is outstanding as well.
LSU WR/Passing Game Coordinator
Billy Gonzales spent two years (2001-2002) as Meyer’s wide receiver coach at Bowling Green, two years (2003-2004) as Meyer’s wide receiver coach at Utah, and five years (2005-2009) as Meyer’s wide receiver coach at Florida. He also served as Meyer’s recruiting coordinator for part of his time at BG and Florida.
Notice a trend in his career moves?
This could be viewed as somewhat of a package deal with Studrawa given their current mutual employment at LSU.
Florida WR/Recruiting Coordinator
Aubrey Hill is the man who replaced Gonzales at Florida in 2010 for Meyer’s last season at Florida.
Hill played for the Gators and may be difficult to pull from his alma mater.
Zach Smith was a part of Urban’s staff at Florida as a graduate assistant for five seasons. Part of that time was spent as a recruiting evaluator.
He was born in Dublin, Ohio and his grandfather is named Earl Bruce… so he has that going for him.
Western Kentucky, OC
Zach Azzanni coached with Meyer at Bowling Green in 2001 and 2002 as well as at Florida in 2010.
He has had great success developing talent over the years at every coaching stop.
Boston College WR
Day served as a graduate assistant under Meyer at Florida and has been the wide receiver coach at Boston College for the past five seasons.
Notre Dame, RB
Tim Hinton has experience coaching a wide range of positions and has deep Ohio roots as a high school coach and with Cincinnati under Dantonio and Kelly.
Hinton worked with Meyer on Earl Bruce’s staff at Ohio State in 1986 and he has the versatility and background to fill a number of spots on this coaching staff (RB being one of them, obviously).
Brewster has reportedly been approached by new Arizona HC Rich Rodriguez (maybe you’ve heard of him?) and Meyer. Prior to being hired (and subsequently fired) as Minnesota’s head coach, he spent time as a TE coach for various college programs and NFL teams.
The main reason he was hired at Minnesota was his enthusiasm on the recruiting trail, which is what Meyer looks for from his assistants.
Matt campbell is a up-and-coming young coach who worked with Meyer as a graduate assistant at Bowling Green.
Campbell is an outstanding recruiter… hey look, another trend.
Ohio State, TE/Recruiting Coordinator
John Peterson has a background coaching the offensive line at the college level and reportedly took over some of the duties from Bollman this past season despite officially being the tight end coach.
It seems unlikely that Peterson will be retained, although his tenure as the recruiting coordinator has arguably been a very successful one, so there is that.
I put my favorites at the top of the list, and a coaching staff of:
Greg Studrawa, OC
Scott Loeffler, QB
Stan Drayton, RB
Billy Gonzales, WR
Tim Hinton, TE
Matt Campbell, OL
would be a veritable “dream team” as position coaches and recruiters.
Stay tuned for a look at the defensive coaching staff candidates right here at TheBuckeyeBattleCry.com.