We are getting a better picture of how it came about that Oregon St. landed Gary Andersen to replace Mike Riley as the head football coach of the Beavers, and what things might look like going forward.
Andersen reached out when word got out that Riley had stepped away to Nebraska, possibly in reaction to a post-season meeting with Oregon St. Athletic Director Bob DeCarolis, where DeCarolis advanced the idea of pulling back from the multi-year contracts for assistants Riley had fought to get, and even renegotiating the length of Riley's contract, which extended through 2021, and with contractual requirements for extensions in the event of reaching bowl games.
DeCarolis, whose' daughter attends Wisconsin, may have picked up on Andersen possibly having an interest in a change in the course of several trips to Madison he's made recently as well.
DeCarolis and Assistant Athletic Director Mark Massari flew to Madison to meet with Andersen, and after consultation with President Ed Ray and a select inner circle of trusted members of Beaver Nation, extended the offer to Andersen that led to his acceptance, and after he had a chance to advise his boss, Wisconsin Athletic Director Barry Alvarez, and also to meet with his Wisconsin players and inform them, yesterday's surprise announcement.
Andersen will reportedly get a 5 year deal, starting at about $2.2 million, which is about the same as he made this year at Wisconsin, and up from the $1.5 million Riley received. Annual increases of around $100,000 will occur, plus bonuses for bowl appearances, and other accomplishments, and also additional earnings for media appearances.
Andersen will also have the authorization to pay "Pac-12-competitive salaries to his assistants". At Wisconsin, his assistants overall earned about the same as Riley's staff did.
No word on Andersen's budget for antacids when dealing with Pac-12 officiating though. (Fans may recall his experience above with Oregon's own Jack Folliard and his Pac-12 crew at the mis-handled conclusion of Wisconsin's game at Arizona St. in 2013.)
Riley has taken several members of his staff, assistants and otherwise, with him, with LB coach Trent Bray, Defensive Coordinator Mark Banker, offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh, and Special Teams Coach Bruce Read, as well as, most notably, Ryan Gunderson, from the staff already hired. Gary Beck will be offered a position as well.
Several assistants are still on the Oregon St. payroll, and recruiting, and its expected that Andersen and Riley will both be looking at especially wide receivers coach Brent Brennan and running backs coach Chris Brasfield, as well as defensive line coach Joe Seumalo and defensive backs coach Rod Perry.
It appears unlikely that offensive coordinator John Garrett will wind up on either staff.
Riley said it will be next week before he finalizes decisions about his staff.
Andersen has already made one hire, Zach Nyborg, who was BYU's Director of Football Operations this year. Nyborg was on Andersen's staff last year at Wisconsin, and before that, the last 2 years Andersen was at Utah St. Nyborg, like Andersen, appears to have wanted to return to the west they are both more familiar with.
The most highly prized member of Andersen's Wisconsin staff is defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Dava Aranda.
Aranda was also Andersen's defensive coordinator in 2012 at Utah St., and was with Hawaii the 3 years before that.
There's precedent to indicate a move toward a 3-4 look could be in Oregon St.'s future.
Less loved is Andersen's offensive coordinator, Andy Ludwig, the same much traveled OC as was at Oregon, California, Fresno St., Utah, ...
Being a defensive specialist of a coach, Andersen's offensive hires will be of most interest going forward.
Andersen is an advocate of a spread type system, using it successfully at Utah St., including at the beginning of the career of Chuckie Keaton. Personnel limitations of the inherited personnel at Wisconsin dictated his options during his 2 years in Madison, and evolution of recruiting at Oregon St. will affect the pace of any transition, as it takes not only a quarterback capable of running (literally as well as figuratively) the spread, but also linemen who can block for it, for example. Oregon St. has a couple of options for the former, maybe moreso than the latter, though spring ball will be more interesting and important than in any year for some time.
But its apparent Andersen's preferred tendencies are toward the spread.
The good news for Beaver Nation is that Andersen has established a track record of recruiting widely, but also with a strong tie to the Polynesian community Oregon St. already has a good relationship with. And he has had success with both the under the radar 2 and 3 star recruits Oregon St. is used to, but also some higher rated prospects, which he gained access to while at Wisconsin. Jamie Uyeyama detailed this over at Pacific Takes.
And a top-flight recruiter will accelerate the movement toward where he wants to take Oregon St., scheme wise.
With moving and introductions, as well as numerous appearances on national media already booked for the next week, Andersen's staffing decisions will probably dribble out over the next several days.