Yesterday I was perusing Footballscoop.com, which is one of the best resources for college football coaching news in my opinion. They put together their annual piece that they refer to as nuclear winter, detailing predictions on all the coaching changes that could occur and the domino affect it has on other programs. This piece is very much tongue in cheek and for entertainment purposes only (they have 3 disclaimers noting that), and involves a return to Utah State for Gary Andersen, the second coming of the Chip Kelly era in Eugene, and Scott Frost hoisting his Gator-clad newborn son like Rafiki to declare his intention to take the Florida job. Even though this article is far from serious, one projection did catch my eye, and that was the Beavs hiring former Cal, and current Fresno State head man Jeff Tedford. While there as been no sources stating interest on either end, Tedford or Barnes, long time Beaver sports write Kerry Eggers later wrote a story stating that sources had indicated that June Jones was a candidate. My answer to both of Tedford and Jones if I was Scott Barnes would be the same... “Thanks, but no thanks”
Scott Barnes needs to go in one of two directions in my opinion. He needs to hire either a young(ish) up and coming coach that can bring excitement and energy to the program (Cory Hall, Beau Baldwin etc.), or the less likely scenario of a coach that has won big and is looking for a new challenge, i.e. Dennis Erickson in the early 2000’s (Les Miles is the obvious, and probably only, candidate in this category).
Oregon State football is at a crossroads right now, and the next hire needs to change the program's trajectory and help erase the apathy that plagues Beaver Nation. The next head coach needs to bring some sort of hope and change (Hey, that would be a good political slogan). The next coach needs to move the needle in the Pac-12 landscape. Neither Tedford or Jones does any of that in my opinion.
Tedford helped turn Cal into a good Pac-10 team that could sneak up on contenders on occasion. The 2006 season saw Cal win a share of the Pac-10 title. The Golden Bears reached as high as #2 in the rankings in 2007, and would have jumped to #1, if not for an upset in Berkeley at the hands of the Beavs. The former Oregon offensive coordinator is regarded as a bit of a QB whisperer, having coached several future NFL QB’s including Aaron Rodgers. Following his dismissal at Cal, Tedford coached in the CFL and was a consultant for Chris Peterson at UW before landing the Fresno State gig this off-season. He currently, with the help of Marcus McMaryion, has the Bulldogs tied for first in the Mountain West with a 6-3 record (including losses to Alabama and Washington). While he would likely represent a ‘safe’ hire, at 56 years old and without a signature season under his belt he represents a hire that is neither great nor potentially great, and one that doesn’t induce a significant shift in culture surrounding OSU football .
When asked about the potential of a Tedford hire, many of our twitter followers took a hard pass, while one summed it up perfectly in gif form.... Meh
Jones, an Oregon native, was a quarterback at Oregon, Hawaii and eventually Portland State. While at PSU he learned the run and shoot offense which he would later use as a coach. Following unsuccessful stints as the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons and interim head coach of the San Diego Chargers (before being replaced by Mike Riley) Jones built a winner in Hawaii with his run and shoot offense that saw the likes of Timmy Chang and Colt Brennan sling it 40-50 times a game. He took the Rainbow Warriors to heights they had never seen including a Sugar Bowl appearance in his final season on the island. He moved on to SMU after disputes with the Hawaii administration about the lack of facility upgrades. While at SMU he had a mixed bag of success over 6+ seasons. His time at SMU came to an abrupt halt when he quit 2 games in to the 2014 season. At the time of his departure many questioned his recruiting and his commitment to the program, including an article naming him the worst coach in college football. Jones is currently the head coach Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the CFL, a job he took mid-season and immediately caused controversy when he hired ex-Baylor coach Art Briles as his offensive coordinator before the team realized that was a very bad idea and reversed course.
Maybe I am wrong, it would not be the first time, but Beaver Nation doesn’t need a safe hire this time around. Beaver Nation needs a bold hire, a risky hire, a hire that could change the football landscape in Corvallis, neither Tedford nor Jones are that guy.