Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Impact of Rogers LOA

The news of new offensive coordinator Kevin Rogers taking an indefinite leave of absence not only took many Eagle's fans by surprise, but prompted feelings of outright despair regarding a season which is going horribly wrong.  The good news is that interim OC Dave Brock is a very capable coach, as he managed the remarkable Kansas State offense under Josh Freeman.  Brock is a coach who understands the offensive system, and has had concrete success in pass-happy offenses.  If anything, this could bode well for the passing game, possibly with a few more throws towards the TEs.  I do wonder how Brock's promotion will effect Ryan Day, who has now been passed over for promotion twice, despite being an up-and-coming coach.

It will be interesting to see what Rogers' absence does to Coach Spaz's job security.  First, no matter how bad things get this season, Spaz will almost certainly finish the season.  Spaz is also likely better than most of the potential replacements currently on the market, but we will have a post on that later in the week.  Essential to any coaching change is the decision that the likely replacement will be a better coach and/or fit for the program than the current coach.  I want to briefly explore three areas where I think Spaz has an institutional advantage in this respect.

First is money.  BC is not your typical big-football, big-money school with unlimited pockets lined with the money of big-name boosters.  In fact, I highly doubt that GDF would be able to pull out his rolodex at any given point in time and raise enough money to make a coaching change pay for itself on the spot, no matter how bad things get.  BC probably was stretching its financial resources to pay both Jags and Spaz at the same time (it seems that we just stopped paying Jags this past year), and I have a feeling that some of the money BC was previously paying Jags started going to pay Rogers.  While BC was able to stomach two HC salaries for a few years, I don't know that that is something the athletic department is financially healthy enough to make a habit of.  Keep in mind that BC is paying two basketball coaches right now as well...

Second is Kevin Rogers.  As long as Rogers is with BC, I think Spaz will have more job security than he otherwise would have earned on his own merits.  BC paid a lot of money for Rogers and had to get a little creative for what was a splashy hire on the offensive side of the ball.  Rogers is probably the best offensive mind to head up the BC offense in the past decade.  Implicit with this money, however, is very good job security for Rogers.  This means that even if BC decides to fire Spaz, they would likely retain Rogers as the OC for the new head coach.  For many candidates, not being able to bring in their own coaching staff may be a deal-breaker, or at the very least make the job much less attractive.  Want to know how important a coach's trust in his OC is?  Two words...Gary Tranquill... The removal of Rogers, in my opinion, is a pretty sizable blow to Spaz's job security as it increases the liklihood that a new HC would be able to bring in his own staff.  This is not to say that Rogers won't or can't come back or that BC will definitely make a move with Spaz if the season continues like this. Though I do think this makes the HC position at BC more attractive.

Third is the athletic department's interest in seeing Spaz succeed.  Not just any coach, but specifically Spaz.  GDF burned some bridges and used up a fair amount of institutional good-will to make a very controversial firing of Jags.  This was a coach who took BC (BC!!!!!!!) to number 2 in the country at one point.  Firing Spaz would likely mean making an outside hire and would probably end the BC-men-first strategy of the athletic department.  BC has been burned by flight-risk coaches in the past (O'Brien, Jags) and the athletic department desperately wanted a home-grown guy to succeed here.  If things go further south than they already are, the athletic department might be hesitant to admit that this home-grown guy strategy may have set back BC football a decade or more.

Like I said, I don't think we make a change unless things get worse than they are - significantly worse, but at the same time fans should understand that there is a little more to coaching changes than wins and losses.  Two questions for the comments section:  Should we make a change? Will we make a change?


  1. two quibbles with your post. First, Tom O'Brien was not a flight risk coach. He was at BC for 10 years and showed remarkable success rebuilding a team rocked by a gambling scandal. Let's remember that the two years Jags was at BC were basically Tom O'Brien teams. So I wouldn't give too much credit to Jags for those years, especially 2007. He basically came in with a Heisman candidate quarterback who went #3 in the NFL draft and a top-10 defense in the nation. I'm not sure how much Jags had to do with that. In fact, Tom O'Brien should probably get most of the credit (and Spaz on defense), but that's not how these things work.

  2. Wait what? This TOB thing never makes any sense to me. Ryan wasn't great under TOB, and the teams werent either. TOB was very odd about Ryan - he seemingly never knew what he had and tried to force him into the same line of more limited QB's that he had in the past. He might have brought in the talent for the 07 team, but theres no way in hell that O'Brien brings that team to the ACC Championship, never mind the 08 team.

  3. I mean, yeah, O'Brien wasn't a flight risk up until he bolted for NC State. I agree that Jags won with O'Brien's teams, and that Jags' seemingly nonchalant attitude to recruiting and team-building meant that his early success was simply not sustainable. At the same time, the knock on O'Brien was always that he found a way to lose one or two games that we should have won (Nc. State 2006, Wake 2006, for example). I agree with Mike that 2007 doesn't happen with O'Brien as HC, but we would likely overall be in a better position this season had he never left.


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