Here's my rebuttal / mixed thoughts:
1) I love Derek Dooley. A big part of me wanted us to hire him over Mike London back in December 2009. Don't believe me on that one? I have proof.
2) Dooley is going to get canned at Tennessee -- they are 3-3, with upcoming games against Alabama, South Carolina, and Missouri. UT could be a bowl team this season, but the Volunteer faithful demands more than 6-6 records.
3) I have a hard time believing Dooley would agree to come to UVA to coach special teams. Sorry Mike. But the concept of "associate head coach" is very interesting...
4) I love the idea of Brian Scott as OC. But will Lazor leave? I have a hard time believing the NFL wants him after this year's shit show at UVA. Maybe to coach QBs? But the longer he's away from the NFL, the more the league forgets about him. No, I think to change OCs, we'd need to see Mike London actually hand Lazor a pink slip... which I honestly just cannot visualize. Not after the vast offensive improvement from 2009 to 2010 and into 2011. This year sucks, but Lazor runs a pretty good offense. His playcalling has been suspect this season, but he's playing poker with a shitty hand.
5) The problem I currently have with Lazor is the fact that his offense is a strict timing-based offense, which is specifically unforgiving to inexperienced players, and especially inexperienced quarterbacks. Furthermore, it doesn't lend itself well to London's style of recruiting athletes and putting them on the field. For example, Lazor's perfect receivers are guys like Dontrelle Inman and Kris Burd -- polished, veteran wide receivers in their 3rd/4th/5th seasons, who will run precise routes and make routine plays look routine. He's not the guy who can plop a howitzer-armed QB like Phillip Sims into the offense and have him throw to former high school QBs in their second year of playing wideout and find success. Those things just cut against the grain of all the tenets of the precision-based timing pro-style offense Lazor employs.
6) Back to Brian Scott. My ultimate dream is to see UVA run the modern college spread. Not the half-assed bullshit Gregg Brandon gave us as part of the lame duck 2009 coaching staff, with Jameel Sewell under center. I want to see a spread guru handed the reins and given a fair 3-4 year window to install the scheme.
7) Leave Jim Reid alone. The defense is coming along fine, especially given the lack of experienced playmakers along the d-line and in the secondary. Other than against Georgia Tech, the D is not the reason we're losing these games. Plus, Reid and London have a long history together. You don't want to bust up that synergy, since it might be the best thing we have going for us in the coaching staff, other than Chip West's recruiting chops in the 757.
8) Yes, Dex definitely needs to be replaced as special teams coordinator. Other moves I'd like to see:
- Hire a real quarterbacks coach, and give Lazor the ability to go back up into the box instead of being on the field to coach the QBs. Let him focus on seeing the game unfold and calling plays.
- Take a long look at Shawn Moore and Vincent Brown. Former players, not sure about the coaching chops. We might need to trade some youthful energy for solid Xs and Os guys.
- Marques Hagans coaching the wide receivers might be a problem. You might need more than a graduate assistant with that position group, especially given the demands placed on the wideouts by Lazor's system.
- You have the head coach, the strength and conditioning guy, and nine spots for full-time assistants. The OC and the DC leaves you with seven. QBs, RBs, WRs, TEs, OL, DL, LBs, safeties, CBs, and special teams gives you ten position groups. That means you have to have some "doubling up" of responsibilities if you don't want a GA in charge of a position group. As I said above, the OC needs to be free and clear to call the game from the box without the burden of in-game coaching of a position group. I think the DC can handle a position group -- in Reid's case, that would likely be his specialty, the linebackers. Could London handle coaching the d-line, his greatest area of expertise? Can the safeties and corners be combined into one group, the DBs? The RBs are the easiest group to coach, and therefore that coach is usually the one who ends up with special teams.
- With the above being said, this is how I think our coaching staff should look:
- Mike London -- head coach / defensive line
- Jim Reid -- defensive coordinator / linebackers
- Bill Lazor -- offensive coordinator
- Chip West -- defensive backs
- Jeff Hanson -- defensive quality control
- Scott Wachenheim -- offensive line
- ??? -- quarterbacks
- ??? -- wide receivers / tight ends
- ??? -- running backs / special teams
- Mike Faragalli -- offensive quality control
- Evan Marcus -- director of football training and player development
The question is, will London make any of these moves? He doesn't strike me as being especially cut-throat when it comes to his staff. But I guess we'll see.
Meanwhile, stay tuned. I'll have more thoughts spawned from yesterday's game assembled into a post soon...