However, if the 3-4 Buffaloes lay down against 11th-ranked Oklahoma on Saturday night, Hawkins could be gone next week.
That will bring us to the successor search, which is going on now. I'm told four people are atop the target list: Bill McCartney, Alabama offensive coordinator Jim McElwain, Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn and LSU coach Les Miles.
Of the the four choices, Gus Malzahn stands out the most. Have you guys seen Oregon's offense this year and the numbers they're putting up in our future conference? That's a good resemblance as to what Gus Malzahn's offenses do. I know he has no head coaching experience at the collegiate level, but the guy has worked at 3 different high-profile programs like Arkansas, Tulsa, and Auburn and has coached alongside some of the great. And recruiting? The guy helped reel in one of Auburn's greatest recruiting classes in their long and storied program -- and they're on track to have yet another great class again this year! So obviously he knows how to recruit! In addition, he was one of the best high school coaches in the state of Arkansas, which is what got him noticed, and how he managed to upgrade to the collegiate level. The guy is a GENIUS!
We all know he runs one of the most complex offensive schemes in the country, and it's his own brand. No other teams run his exact offensive scheme. It's phenomenal to watch, and if you haven't seen it yet, you can catch a sneak peek during Auburn's game tomorrow evening, prior to our game coming on 2 hours later.
Now onto the results... in his very first season at Arkansas (which also happened to be his very first season coaching at the collegiate level), his offense led Arkansas to their first conference championship game in years, and they kept it close with the Florida Gators (who would go on to win the NC that year) for most of the game, only losing by 10 points. You might say it was due to the 2 NFL caliber running backs they had. But just keep in mind, they played in 2005 and 2007 as well, yet didn't lead their team to anything significant in those other two seasons without Malzahn.
In 2007, he took over at Tulsa as their offensive coordinator, and the year prior to that, their offense finished the season ranked 24th, overall. In his very first year, he propelled them to the number 1 overall offensive ranking. And in year 2, there was no drop off either as they finished number 1 yet again!
In 2009, he took over as Auburn's offensive coordinator. Prior to his arrival, Auburn's offense was simply put: abysmal. They finished 97th, overall, in 2007, and 104th, overall, in 2008. In his very first year at Auburn, he propelled their offense to 16th OVERALL, in a defensive-heavy conference. I should also note his offense scored more points (21) against the national champions that year, Alabama, than any other SEC team did that year. And remember Alabama had one of the best defenses last year. Not to mention he turned one of the worst QBs in the SEC in 2008 (Chris Todd) into a machine in 2009. This year, his offense is currently ranked 10th, but should be top 5 (my guess would be 2) by the season's end. And also, Auburn is ranked FIRST this year and on track to win a national championship...
If he can put up those kind of numbers in a self-proclaimed defensive conference, imagine what he could do for us in the Pac-10/12! The guy has had enough experience to be a head coach, and if he could find a Will Muschamp type defensive coordinator, we'd be unstoppable.... JUST LIKE OREGON! Plus, he's a midwest guy and there's no doubt he's quite possibly the hottest assistant coach in the country right now! I'd much rather us try out luck with him, before someone else snatches him up, because I'm willing to bet he'll be a successful head coach here soon.
So what do you guys think? Should we push for Malzahn? Of all the candidates on that list, I really think he's the best choice. McCartney was a great coach, and I appreciate what he was able to do for us, but I think he'd be way past his prime, similar to Bobby Bowden in his late years. Jim McElwain at Alabama's only advantage is the fact that he coached under Nick Saban, but other than that, I'd much rather have Malzahn if we decide to hire an OC. And Les Miles would be a waste of time. He isn't leaving LSU for us... heck, he wouldn't leave them for his alma mater, Michigan.
So what say ye? How does Malzahn sound? I think he'd be the perfect fit for us!! Mike Bohn, this is your time to shine!!