October 7, 2013

Puppetmaster


This is Jon Oliver, the Executive Associate Athletics Director at the University of Virginia. 2013 marks his 13th season at UVA, and his job description states that he is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the Athletics Department. Oliver oversees various Athletics Department branches, including Academics, Equipment, Game Ops, Sports Medicine, Facilities Construction, and many more. But he is best known for his role as Administrative Liaison for the Football and Men's Basketball teams.

Oliver has done some very good things while he has been here, the greatest of which seems to be hiring Tony Bennett to head up the basketball program. Oliver also oversaw the building of the new indoor practice facility, and other athletics construction projects. Oliver's time here is not without merit, but it certainly is not without fault either.

As legend has it... At the end of the 2009 campaign, UVA had had enough of the Al Groh era and elected to move on, and Jon Oliver was at the helm of the coaching search. Rumors were flying about who would be brought in to take the reigns of what had quickly turned into a dumpster fire of a program. Names bounced around like Charlie Strong - the then defensive coordinator at Florida, Al Golden - the then head coach at Temple and former UVA defensive coordinator. But one name quickly rose to the top, and that was Mike London. A young, dynamic head coach that had just lead Richmond to the 1-AA championship in 2008. He was the perfect man to help rebuild the image of UVA football. And after the administration interviewed multiple candidates and thoroughly vetted Coach London, he was hired. Let me state now that I thought, and still think, that that was the right move at the time.

But that was not what actually happened. It later came out that Coach London was in fact the only man that Jon Oliver had interviewed for the job, essentially staking his career to the ultimate success or failure that Coach London has at this school. A wildly reckless risk to take with his career, and one I think he needs to pay for.

Think about it. If your stock broker tells you to buy a stock that he says is going to work out great, and it should become the basis of your portfolio that he doesn't need to look at any others because this one is going to be perfect, and then it tanks and you lose a big chunk of your money, you get rid of your stock broker. That's where we are right now. We are staring into the abyss of another 2008 and 2009 moving forward with a coach that appears to be taking this program nowhere fast. And we're being led by a man that was so confident that this would work that he felt that we didn't need to look at anyone else. By a man that has so staked his career at this school to one coach that if he doesn't succeed, it could cost him his job. How can we trust that man to make a decision that is best for the program? My simple answer is, we can't.




He looks like an AAD right?

Jon Oliver has to go. I'm tired of seeing football decisions made by a man who doesn't know what he's doing. Oliver has done some good things here, but let's face it, in college athletics departments, football is king. Oliver's ridiculous mismanagement of the development of the program and his constant presence on the sideline and perceived meddling in coaching staff decisions needs to be done away with. This football program needs, and we as fans should demand, that a person who knows how to build a successful college football program be brought in to right this ship, because if we don't, we'll be watching Oliver rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic while the UVA football ship sinks.

8 comments:

  1. I agree with this much more than firing Mike London, as I still think that London's got merit, because I think Mike London can be the perfect head coach- with the right support staff. I think we found half of it in Tenuta, Saturday's game excluded. Fairchild? We'll see. We saw more progression on Saturday, and read options that Watford seemed to be executing appropriately, but then we stopped running. Why? Why why why why?

    ReplyDelete
  2. I hate that we went out and got a pro-style OC. The pro-style in college IMO is dead, unless you have the recruiting base to get a consistently dominant offensive line.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was a little disappointed about that, too- was it yours or Kendall's idea to hire the guy at ODU? Bang on about the o-line, though. Like I've said time and again, losing Cascarano and Cwalina were killers.

      Delete
    2. I think it was probably both of us. Kendall has been beating the scheme drum for a while. If we bring in Chad Morris I think it would be a home run to bring in Scott to coach the QB's and potentially be the offensive coordinator if Morris would delegate that responsibility. We need to stop doing what everyone else does because we will NEVER get the consistent recruiting to make that possible.

      Delete
    3. Guys, please don't start hyping up that overrated spread offense. An offense that never wins championships. If uva is going to win, follow the Stanford blueprint. Stanford has been able to win the pac 12 with a pro offense that doesn't have great athleticism. They shut down Oregon's spread offense. The pro style offense is not the problem, execution is the problem.

      Delete
    4. Agree to disagree on that one, Darryl. Stanford is the absolute outlier in being able to raise a program's status through a power-based offense. Meanwhile, look at Baylor, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Northwestern, Texas Tech (during the Leach tenure), Kansas under Magino, Boise State, etc., etc., etc. The key to rising up from also-ran status is to run the spread, and even the playing field against the schools that can bring in more talent than you can.

      For UVA, I have two words: Air Raid.

      God, how awesome would that be?

      I know it'd take some time to transition. But honestly, we're at a pretty crappy spot right now. Can't get much worse, right? And at least we'd know we're building toward something AWESOME.

      The immediate impact of installing the Air Raid:

      From 1994-1996 the University of Kentucky went 9-24 while scoring 149, 223, and 138 points. Upon hiring Hal Mumme, they went 18-17 while scoring 348, 431, and 328 points from 1997-1999.

      From 1996-1998 the University of Oklahoma scored 255, 232, and 184 points. In 1999 they would score 430 points and finish 13-0 while scoring 481 points in 2000. The 481 points were the most they had scored in a season since 1987 when they were coached by Barry Switzer.

      From 1997-1999 Texas Tech University scored 245, 315, and 253 points. From 2000-2002 they would score 330, 402, and 537 points while improving their record to 9-5 by 2002. From 2002-2009 they never won fewer than 8 games under Mike Leach.

      From 2000-2002 the University of Houston scored 211, 190, and 320 points. In 2003, under Art Briles, they scored 448 points. That was the most since 1990 when they were coached by John Jenkins. Art would have 2 more seasons in which his teams would score over 440 points in a season. Kevin Sumlin would then take that up a notch with his teams scoring 528, 591, 452, and 660 points from 2008-2011.

      From 2009-2011 Texas A&M University scored 427, 382, and 475 points. Kevin Sumlin took over and led the 2012 Aggies to an 11-2 record while scoring 578 points and garnering a Heisman Trophy for QB Johnny Manziel.

      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      So it wouldn't be all doom and gloom if we made the switch to the full-on Air Raid. I wonder if Tony Franklin is interested in his first shot as a head coach?

      And look, part of the reason I want the Air Raid is because it's a brand of football that would be a blast to watch. Sometimes the plight of the fan doesn't need to be so complicated. Bring in a guy who runs a fun system, and the fans will be happy to come and watch it, and the recruits will flock to it. Air Raid fueled by 757 talent... it could be tremendous.

      Climb aboard the spread bandwagon, Darryl. It's what we need to have at UVA.

      Delete
  3. Good stuff, Oliver should pay for not pursuing Strong or Golden and giving London a raise after 2011.

    I have ambiguous feelings about the offensive styles. I love watching the spread and would love to get Morris. Check out Kliff Kingsbury at Texas Tech. He has them going in the right direction with a walk-on true freshman and seems to be able to recruit. I would probably prefer him to Morris, but I can't imagine Kingsbury coming to Uva.

    On the other side of it, I think the Stanford model is highly effective and with the right coaches probably better long-term.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think Kingsbury should be the model we follow, but he is an alum of Texas Tech and don't think he would consider leaving, at least not for UVA. I think we need to set this up to have a longer term answer at head coach, and the guy I want for that is Brian Scott from ODU. I think if they make a move for Morris/Franklin this would be more of a stepping stone. My hope would be we get the ball rolling and have Scott just step in and continue down that path.

      Delete