Who are the best offensive coordinators in college football primed for a head coaching job? The Campus Insiders team debates in this roundtable.
There are some really really good offensive coordinators across the country that will be head coaches sooner than later, so this is a tough one to pick. But I am going to reward Tee Martin for the job he is doing this year at USC. This is his first stint as a college coordinator after performing very well as a wide receivers coach, and he’s crushing it with a resurgent Trojans squad. The well-established recruiter is overseeing an offense that is racking up 476.4 yards per game under new starting quarterback Sam Darnold, and Clay Helton’s squad is in the thick of the Pac-12 South race. He relates well to players and could really benefit if the Trojans continue their winning ways.
Texas OC Sterlin Gilbert. He’s proven able to tutor a young quarterback. He’s proven able to maximize the talent of a gifted running back. And he’s proven able to win shootouts when his team’s defense couldn’t stop a runny nose. Let’s say that Charlie Strong gets axed, and Tom Herman leaves Houston: that leaves Gilbert potentially looking for a new home, and an opening for a program that loves offense. All this at a time when Gilbert’s unit just averaged 500 yards per game. It’s not hard to envision the stars aligning for this one.
This likely will come as a surprise, but I’m going with Maryland offensive coordinator Walt Bell. He’s only 32 years old, has one of the most gifted offensive minds in college football and would be the youngest head coach in FBS this year had he not turned down Louisiana-Monroe this past offseason. Before arriving at Maryland, he guided an Arkansas State offense that was the best in the Sun Belt. The Terps rank fourth in the Big Ten in yards per game in his first season with limited talent, up from ninth in 2015. Once he has an influence on recruiting at Maryland, watch for that offense to take off even more – if he’s still there.
Jonathan Bass called my shot with this one. Before I even started typing, he knew exactly which offensive coordinator I was going to pick. Jake Spavital, to me, is the most intriguing offensive mind in college football right now. With the exception of the last two weeks, he’s had Cal putting up a ton of points and moving the ball well with Davis Webb. I think he’ll get a chance to be a college football head coach very soon, and I think he’ll recruit at a very high level when he does.
I’m going with every offensive coordinator except former LSU OC Cam Cameron, who if ever hired in the college football ranks again, should be suspected of holding incriminating evidence on the head coach/athletic director. If I have to pick one, I’m going with Texas offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert, who has made the Longhorns offense led by a true freshman into a machine.