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Charles Fischer

Coach Boles: My Top Five Candidates to Become Oregon’s Defensive Coordinator

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8 hours ago, jrw said:

Is it presumptuous of us to think that we get to pick and choose? Is the Ducks' program that attractive to coaches who could go virtually anywhere?

I think in a normal year that might be the case... But this year their really aren't that many coaching jobs opening up. Some, yes, but if the desire is to get a new position and coach next year then their aren't many coaching vacancies. 

The pac-12 isn't desirable for many ... But Oregon is the big exception in many regards as I am sure there is a bit more money available as apart of Cristobal's coaching extension and back to back conference championships does set Oregon's future up in a big way... Especially with all the young talent. 

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Reply to FishIceCream about defensive alignment:

The basic concept of 3 down linemen makes no sense...typical OL has 6 blockers...so they double team each of the DL and their RB is “off to races”. On pass plays there is “zero rush”...QB looks around for 5 or 6 seconds until a receiver comes open! With only 3 there is little or no possibility of stunting! The 3-4 also requires 4 really good LB’s...difficult to recruit and maintain 5 or 6 (injuries, transfers, etc).

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Other side of the 4 down linemen is the flipped problem of needing four good linebackers.... a 4-3 needs 4 good, solid, powerful linemen on the field (which means at least 6 players who can play on the roster). Maintaining that year to year is pretty difficult or at least can be as some of the most coveted recruits are defensive linemen because of the physical attributes they must have to play at the College level.

Though I suppose all these things are solved with recruiting.

Personally, I like whatever puts the opposing quarterback on the ground with the most frequency.

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10 minutes ago, Coach Bowden said:

Reply to FishIceCream about defensive alignment:

The basic concept of 3 down linemen makes no sense...typical OL has 6 blockers...so they double team each of the DL and their RB is “off to races”. On pass plays there is “zero rush”...QB looks around for 5 or 6 seconds until a receiver comes open! With only 3 there is little or no possibility of stunting! The 3-4 also requires 4 really good LB’s...difficult to recruit and maintain 5 or 6 (injuries, transfers, etc).

I think I agree, pointing out that I said it's ideal for the very top programs - i.e. every one of the three can command double teams, which frees up the linebackers etc. And assuming teams who can recruit at that level have good linebackers too.

Thanks for the reply!

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6 minutes ago, David Marsh said:

Other side of the 4 down linemen is the flipped problem of needing four good linebackers.... a 4-3 needs 4 good, solid, powerful linemen on the field (which means at least 6 players who can play on the roster). Maintaining that year to year is pretty difficult or at least can be as some of the most coveted recruits are defensive linemen because of the physical attributes they must have to play at the College level.

Though I suppose all these things are solved with recruiting.

Personally, I like whatever puts the opposing quarterback on the ground with the most frequency.

Definitely agree with that last point!

My point is more looking at programs which can't put that many solid D-line on the field. 4-3 lets you put two with two tweeners, sort of like that. 

That's my impression of our D this year.

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2 hours ago, FishIceCream said:

Great article, thanks!

Here is an open question to the more knowledgeable folks in our community. Does my following theory make sense?

My theory:

If I were an Alabama/Ohio State, and could essentially draft the best players in the nation, I'd go with a base 3-4. Three defensive linemen who could truly be two gap defenders and get some pressure on the QB. Sort of like what we had back with Buckner, Armstead, and our nose guard whose name I forget. (To my shame!) That much talent on the line lets you get fancy with the linebackers.

At the next level, I'd go with a base 4-3 style defense. Maybe only two 2-gap types and the others try to penetrate or go around the edge. This is about where I think we are now, recruiting-wise.

At the level below that, if I could only get one 2 gap type reliably through recruiting, I'd go back to the 3-4 and put that one at nose guard.

Summing up:

1. Reliably able to recruit enough good DL so you can field 3 good ones all game, go with the 3 up front.

2. Only able to recruit enough to reliably field two, you go with the 4 up front, maybe moving around where they line up.

3. Only able to recruit enough to reliably field one, back to the 3 and put him in the middle.

This might be the dumbest post in the short history of this forum, but I am curious what people think about it!

As for the new DC, I think all of those seem pretty good to me.

 

Was Alex Balducci from Central Catholic in Portland (I think) the one you're thinking of?  'Dozer quality NG.

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Lopui is not to be desired in my opinion.  He was fired by UW for allegedly paying illegal monies to football player(s).  When he went to USC, he then came under NCAA investigation...denying all charges against him.  There may be a reason he was such a good recruiter.  🤔

Edited by Mudslide
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2 hours ago, Mudslide said:

Lopui is not to be desired in my opinion.  He was fired by UW for allegedly paying illegal monies to football player(s).  When he went to USC, he then came under NCAA investigation...denying all charges against him.  There may be a reason he was such a good recruiter.  🤔

I have soured on him pretty quickly personally... I'm sure he is a good positional coach but he has an up and down history as a play calling DC from the sound of it. 

And then there are some dubious stories surrounding him concerning recruiting. Oregon cannot afford a recruiting scandal! There is already enough negative recruitment against Oregon we don't need a scandal to make it worse. 

Also we are in the pac-12 ... So if there is a recruiting scandal we'll get all the punishment unlike sec schools. 

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2 hours ago, FishIceCream said:

Great article, thanks!

Here is an open question to the more knowledgeable folks in our community. Does my following theory make sense?

My theory:

If I were an Alabama/Ohio State, and could essentially draft the best players in the nation, I'd go with a base 3-4. Three defensive linemen who could truly be two gap defenders and get some pressure on the QB. Sort of like what we had back with Buckner, Armstead, and our nose guard whose name I forget. (To my shame!) That much talent on the line lets you get fancy with the linebackers.

At the next level, I'd go with a base 4-3 style defense. Maybe only two 2-gap types and the others try to penetrate or go around the edge. This is about where I think we are now, recruiting-wise.

At the level below that, if I could only get one 2 gap type reliably through recruiting, I'd go back to the 3-4 and put that one at nose guard.

Summing up:

1. Reliably able to recruit enough good DL so you can field 3 good ones all game, go with the 3 up front.

2. Only able to recruit enough to reliably field two, you go with the 4 up front, maybe moving around where they line up.

3. Only able to recruit enough to reliably field one, back to the 3 and put him in the middle.

This might be the dumbest post in the short history of this forum, but I am curious what people think about it!

As for the new DC, I think all of those seem pretty good to me.

 

Typically, teams that can recruit the DL at a high level run a four man front. It allows them to get to the QB without having to bring extra pressure. That of course doesn't mean that they don't blitz at all.

And honestly, it comes down to what scheme the coaching staff favors. Though it has been said that it's easier to recruit LBs vs elite DL.

DL are different  between even and odd fronts also, in terms of body types. In odd fronts, the DL are usually bigger and take up block to free the LBs. 

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1 hour ago, Coach Bowden said:

Reply to FishIceCream about defensive alignment:

The basic concept of 3 down linemen makes no sense...typical OL has 6 blockers...so they double team each of the DL and their RB is “off to races”. On pass plays there is “zero rush”...QB looks around for 5 or 6 seconds until a receiver comes open! With only 3 there is little or no possibility of stunting! The 3-4 also requires 4 really good LB’s...difficult to recruit and maintain 5 or 6 (injuries, transfers, etc).

This is only true if the coach is only rushing the three DL, and that's usually not the case. There is almost always pressure coming from another part of the field. Very few situations where they'll only be rushing three. Its also been said that recruiting good LBs is easier than recruiting elite DL.

I also don't think that Wisconsin would agree that odd fronts are poor against the run! This season the held opponents to 93 yards a game on the ground, with a 3-4 defense.

Edited by Coach Eric Boles
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Muschamp would be great, but as others have said it’s difficult to imagine him wanting to be Oregon’s DC when he has no shortage of opportunities and supposedly turned down Texas‘ DC job. 

At FIU and Oregon Mario has hired a combined four DCs, and three of them were home run hires: Geoff Collins, Todd Orlando, and Andy Avalos. Mario’s coaching connections are as good as anyone’s and this is a word-of-mouth profession for both the candidate and the employer. 

As for internal candidates, if they go that route, Keith Heyward is the clear choice from my perspective. He’s never called plays, but he’s also been around some great defensive coordinators. I also think individual play calling on the defensive side is secondary to scheme and execution of that scheme. Heyward has a track record as both a developer of talent and recruiter. Worrying about him eventually leaving for a head coaching position seems like a bad reason to not consider Heyward, it would mean he was overwhelmingly successful, and expecting more than a few years service from a coordinator is something that doesn’t happen too often anymore. 

I don’t understand bringing up Joe Salave’a, he is the most disappointing of Oregon’s coaches. Big Joe’s recruiting has been pedestrian, relying on players recruited by other coaches and inability to recruit players that aren’t of Polynesian descent. The performance of his defensive tackles has left much to be desired. Ken Wilson has called plays in the past, but he’s been around long enough to where one must question why no one else has given him a shot at DC.  

Tosh Lupoi makes a lot of sense to me. The obvious connection to Cristobal, ties to the West Coast and nationally, and his noted recruiting prowess. There are the scandals, but he managed to have the giant Alabama target on his back and come away unscathed, he wasn’t the mastermind of faking injuries as a young assistant, and I doubt that coffee cup had his own personal cash in it. As for his play calling, if Saban was willing to give him a chance and it didn’t work out it doesn’t mean he’s never going to be great at it. 

A current G-5 DC I haven’t seen mentioned that I’ve been plugging for a while is David Reeves from UAB. Unlikely candidate, but bear with me. His UAB team finished 9th in total defense in 2018, 9th in 2019, and 11th this past season. Here are UAB’s yards per play allowed national rankings over the last three seasons: 17, 12, 11. PPG allowed ranks: 12, 25, 18. Over that time span his defense has played to the strength of their personnel: one year they’re third in the country in sacks,    another they’re sixth in yards per pass attempt allowed, and in another year they were 12th in yards per rush. It’s great overall consistency, and as someone who is into statistics and analytics that defense always jumped out at me before I even knew if it was the same DC or what his name was. 

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16 minutes ago, RatherBe said:

Muschamp would be great, but as others have said it’s difficult to imagine him wanting to be Oregon’s DC when he has no shortage of opportunities and supposedly turned down Texas‘ DC job. 

Outstanding thoughts and post; please post more often!  Your last suggestion is very intriguing to me, and I appreciate your taking the time.

Mr. FishDuck

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55 minutes ago, Coach Eric Boles said:

Its also been said that recruiting good LBs is easier than recruiting elite DL.

That has certainly been the case at Oregon.

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7 hours ago, 30Duck said:

A very valid concern, and probably a nonstarter in any discussion, if his family doesn't want to move to Oregon. 

Hard to get the East guys to "go West young man". 

 

3 hours ago, FishIceCream said:

I loved Aliotti and would love to have him back, personally.

But is that an actual option or just a fun idea?

IMO Aliotti is to much of a "bend but don't break" type and we need a "domination" type. 

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I also see a little bit of an idea that we can't get a coach not from the west coast to come to Oregon. Out of the nine position coaches on the staff and Coach Cristobal, four of them are from the west coast. The rest are from the south and mid-west.

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Thanks for the various replies re: the 3 vs. 4 man front.

It's probably just so obvious that I shouldn't even bring it up, but I feel like there should be a balance between what coaches like to run, and what recruits they can get. If that makes sense.

If you only rarely get top quality 'big' defensive linemen, use a system that works with smaller, faster guys.

It seems to me that our current recruiting bonanza has been netting a lot of solid O line guys, but few of those big D line types.

Obviously it's not something you can order on Amazon, but I wish they could address that issue.

If they can't, I hope the new defensive coordinator can use a scheme that takes advantage of smaller/faster men in the box. My sense is that Avalos' system was designed specifically for that, especially coming from Boise St. where you would rarely get really big D linemen.

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3 hours ago, BigDucksFan said:

IMO Aliotti is to much of a "bend but don't break" type and we need a "domination" type. 

I felt like with him that he was bend, don't break, but was also take some risks to get the turnovers - including in that sacks/tackles for loss that might get the other team off the field.

If the other team got down into the red zone, then it would go back to a more conservative style.

I get the sense right now that linebackers are the strength of the defense, so whatever system comes in should take advantage of that.

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19 hours ago, Coach Eric Boles said:

I don't know that really guarantees a long term DC though. Coach Heyward wants to be a HC and is on record as acknowledging that the way there is to become a DC. His defenses could ballout for a year or two and he's moving on to be a HC. But, that's also not something that I think should be worrisome. The larger Coach Cristobal's coaching tree becomes, the more attractive an opportunity it is to coach for him.

You make your point Coach. I feel otherwise, and would not hire KH because he's ready to move on and move up now. Especially with the  Ducks turnover at DC during the past 5 years. That's too bad for Heyward, but favors the big picture. Do you want to have another DC turnover just as the Ducks are approaching the CFP (2-3 years)? Not me.

Edited by Notalot
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Thanks for the update there 30Duck ... Steele is off the board but there are still a whole lot of names on that board that would be great at Oregon.

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Coach Boles:  

A couple of thoughts/recent developments that might narrow down the list.  Also, I think any 'wish list' has to be tempered with a good dose of reality.  Just because a certain coach is available doesn't mean the Ducks would/should go after him.  So, with that in mind, just some reactions to your shortlist...


Kevin Steele:  ESPN is reporting that he's signed to become the new DC at Tennessee, so it looks like he's no longer an option.  That being said, Steele is an SEC assistant and, as such, commands SEC assistant money.  Last year he was rewarded for his efforts with a 3-year extension at $2.5 million/year.  Also, I don't see that a coach who was born in the South, played in the South, and has spent essentially his entire coaching career in the South would be the best fit for the Ducks.  As good a coach as he may be.

Will Muschamp:  I live in Florida.  I got to experience first hand the Coach Boom years in Gainesville, and indirectly his years at Carolina.  As good as he is, I wouldn't want him anywhere close to the Ducks sideline.  Temperament/Personality? He's a bomb waiting to go off; hence the nickname.   I don't think he fits with the Ducks culture.  I acknowledge that he's a good recruiter, and had the name, but it's one thing to convince a Florida kid to say in Florida, or a Georgia kid to cross the state line to play in Columbia; it's a whole 'nother kettle of fish to convince a kid from Apopka, FL to come to Eugene.  Also, I don't think his schtick will play on the West Coast.  Lastly, Muschamp just collected $13M from the 'Cocks.  His kid is playing football at UGA.  I think Boom is going to sit back, smell the roses, and enjoy life with his family.

Jim Leonhard:  Wisconsin born.  Wisconsin-bred.  Played for the Badgers.  The only thing that gets him out of MadTown is a Power 5 Head Coach gig; I think he's a Wisconsin boy that's going to be a Badger for life.  And when Paul Chryst moves on, he gets that gig.   

Jon Heacock:  I can understand the draw to hire someone who's D just shut us down in the Fiesta Bowl, but again, I can't see where he's the right fit for Oregon.  He's never had to/been able to demonstrate that he's an elite recruiter; yes, I know it's tough to get players to come to Ames, but still.  And with the resurgence of USC recruiting that has to be a consideration.  We need someone who is as much a recruiter as a coach, who can go straight up against the Trojans and get kids to come to Eugene, which leaves...

Tosh Lupoi.  IIRC, the Ducks have considered going after him in the past, but its always been a case of wrong place, wrong time.  Look at his CV:  former DC at Bama with a track record of outstanding defenses and sending kids to the NFL.  Position wise, he's been a D-Line coach; I don't think that you can argue that our defensive line was somewhat underwhelming this year.  He's a West Coast guy who played at Cal, coached in the PAC and still knows the West Coast.  Which brings us to the last reason; Tosh Lupoi can flat out recruit.  Period. He did it at Cal, he did it for the Huskies, and he certainly did it at 'Bama  (see Taigavailoa, Tua).   Yes, I know he's never called the plays for the defense before.  Yes, I know that being a DC under Nick Saban may only be a plaque on a door (kind of like being an OC under Chip Kelly).  But....   the lifeblood of Duck success will always be finding players to come to UO.  And I think Tosh Lupoi is the guy to find those players.  Oh, and it also sends a little message to SC.  'You take Donte Williams?  Fine.  Look who we got..."

Full Disclosure:  the next college (or pro for that matter) coordinator I hire will be my first, but to me this is a no brainer.  In Tosh We Trust.  
 

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3 minutes ago, SLKDuckFanFrom77 said:

A couple of thoughts/recent developments that might narrow down the list. 

Outstanding post, and thanks.

I still want Arnett or someone from the Rocky Long coaching tree, but this is all pretty entertaining.

Mr. FishDuck

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