Yesterday, Jake Spavital and Texas A&M mutually parted ways according to a school press release.
The offense had regressed under Spavital’s watch and it was time to make a change. That coupled with the exodus of 5-star quarterbacks and a bowl loss to Louisville, and it’s not far-fetched to claim that this is the most important hire of Sumlin’s tenure.
A quick two year look at Oklahoma and one can see that the right offensive coordinator can be the difference between an 8-5 team (2014) and a playoff team (2015). There is no reason to believe the same can’t be true for A&M. This roster still boasts an incredible amount of offensive talent.
The next OC will be tasked with getting the most out of this offense; and quickly too. Sumlin’s job likely depends on it.
So who might the next coordinator be? Here are the top 5 names Aggie fans are talking about.
Doug Meacham (TCU)
Meacham is considered one of the brightest play callers in college football. Prior to his arrival, TCU struggled to a 4-8 record in 2013 largely due to the offense which ranked 104 out of 123 nationally. The following offseason Doug Meacham and Sonny Cumbie were brought in as co-offensive coordinators. And since then, with Meacham calling plays, the offense has ranked #5 in 2014 and #3 in 2015.
Noel Mazzone (UCLA)
Mazzone has been an offensive coordinator in some capacity for nearly 20 years. Like John Chavis, his longevity is a true testament to his overall ability. At UCLA, his offenses have posted in the top 30 in consecutive seasons. Additionally, his prior work experience includes stops at Ole Miss (1995-1998, 2005) and Auburn (1999-2001) would prove invaluable on the recruiting trail.
Tony Franklin (Cal)
Franklin, a Hal Mumme/Mike Leach disciple, has been implementing his version of the 1-back offense for quite some time. He received his first opportunity in 2000 at Kentucky and immediately led the Wildcats to the nation’s 2nd best passing attack. 15 years later, he has had stops at Troy, Auburn, Middle Tennessee State, and California. However, most Aggies might remember him from his time at Louisiana Tech when he took Johnny Manziel and A&M to the wire in a 59-57 thriller in Shreveport.
Spurrier has likely forgotten more about offense then most coaches will ever learn. He is most notably known for implementing his “Fun ‘n’ Gun” offense at Florida in the 90’s. And after 10 years at South Carolina, he chose to resign midway through this past season. But upon his resignation, he made clear that he wasn’t retiring from football. “I’m resigning, I’m not retiring,” Spurrier said. “I doubt I’ll ever head coach again, but who knows what will come in the future.”
Tyson Helton (WKU)
Helton has led Western Kentucky to top 10 finishes in both of his seasons as offensive coordinator. As a result, he is drawing a great deal of interest from several other major programs. Just a few days ago, Sports Illustrated reported that Helton would be joining his brother, Clay, at USC and serving as running backs coach. That hire has yet to be confirmed and seemingly would be a step down for the fast rising play caller.