If the ‘Canes current offensive play caller takes a head coaching job, who can come in to replace him?
Rhett Lashlee has come to Miami and turned one of the nation’s worst offenses into an exciting, point scoring machine. The ‘Canes are 7-1 and have scored 33 points per game, good for 39th of 126 FBS teams in the country. The attention on Lashlee from SMU and now Miami, and his work with QB’s Shane Buechele and D’Eriq King, has him in the spotlight for head coaching vacancies.
While Lashlee may not even get an interview for an SEC position like South Carolina, he could be a head coaching hire for one of the dominos that falls in the wake of the Gamecocks decision in the coaching carousel.
Lashlee has been well traveled of late; moving his family from Connecticut to Texas and now to Miami in short order. But that’s the coaching business, families adapt or divorce over the constant chase of a ‘better’ job. If Lashlee does take an expected opening, like up at Liberty with the Flames, who could possibly replace the Miami OC?
Garin Justice, Miami OL Coach
In 2020, Garin Justice inherited the worst performing Power 5 offensive line in college football. What would’ve made for a competitive and highly important spring was cut short by COVID-19, and Justice had limited time to improve his unit. Even through COVID roster limitations during the season, the O-Line hasn’t been terrible.
The ‘Canes four leading rushers all run for over four yards per carry (King, Harris, Knighton, and Chaney) and Miami has ran for 13 TD’s this season. Justice has done a bang up job working with Zion Nelson and helping the young fella regain his confidence.
Justice is a former OC from his time at UNLV, and is a former D2 head coach which brings ample depth to a quite depthless coaching staff. He also has the Las Vegas recruiting connection which has been a thing at Miami as of late (Bubba Bolden, Brevin Jordan, Tate Martell). I also like that Justice also has an MBA from Florida State and not a nondescript masters from his time as a GA. That shows dedication, intelligence, and problem solving skills.
Justice also has some South Florida credibility having coached at FSU, Florida Atlantic, and now Miami. It helps that he’s familiar with the talent, and has a relationship with both Coach Diaz and hopefully D’Eriq King.
Justice struggled at UNLV to keep the offense going. The Rebs failed to keep Armani Rogers healthy and Kenyon Oblad played okay at best. QB Completion percentages were all below 60%, yards per attempt below 8.0, and interception numbers were too high in 2019. RB Charles Williams did have a great 2019 season, rushing for 1,257 yards (5.9 ypc) and 11 TD’s.
PPG: 33.3 (39th overall)
Tim Beck, NC State Wolfpack
Tim Beck is the offensive coordinator for the NC State Wolfpack. Beck has a well traveled coaching career that spans multiple in and out stops in the high school and college ranks. He has a Cardinal Mooney (OH) connection to the Stoops and Pelini families.
Beck is a former UCF quarterback who was an assistant coach at Miramar High School (FL). Over the span of a 32-year coaching career, Beck has served as an OC or co-OC at multiple stops including Nebraska, Ohio State, Texas and NCSU. Beck has traditionally liked a mobile QB that can run the Urban Meyer power-run scheme.
I like that Beck is known as being an all around good dude, who has coached multiple positions having worked with QB’s, but also running backs and wide receivers which provides depth to his knowledge base.
The Pack have struggled at times on offense without being able to get consistent play from a starting QB. One thing that all three have done is have solid completion percentages. The trio averages well over 60%, just under 8 yards per attempt, and have thrown 17 TD’s with 10 INT’s. Hockman has added three more rushing TD’s. The combination of Zonovan Knight (5.5 YPC) and Ricky Person Jr (4.6 YPC) has logged about 1,000 yards rushing with 8 TD’s. Emeka Emezie has stepped up as the leading WR with 16.6 yards per catch and four TD’s.
NCSU 2020- 33.5 PPG (35th overall)
Former Michigan Wolverines walk-on turned spot starter, Nick Sheridan is my top candidate for the Hurricanes OC position. Sheridan worked hard for his lot in life, having started off as a walk-on, earning a scholarship, earning four starts, and then returning to Saline high school to serve as a high school coach.
Sheridan then took a GA position under Willie Taggart at Western Kentucky and followed Taggart to USF. After being let go from the Bulls, Sheridan coached at Tennessee, before landing the QB coach position at Indiana.
Sheridan has experience coaching QB’s, but also TE’s which gives him some depth to his arsenal. I like Sheridan as a 32 year old candidate that has coached in Florida and has worked under multiple head coaches. He’s also been around S&C gurus Dr. Matt Rhea and his partner David Ballou. This gives Sheridan an inside knowledge of the Rhea-Ballou sprint based approach, and is currently working with Keith Caton, too.
Sheridan’s experiences might give Manny Diaz and David Feeley a push away from 300’s and 110’s and into a more sprint-based football approach.
At Indiana, QB Michael Penix Jr has completed almost 61% of his passes for 9 TD’s and 3 INT’s in four games. The Hoosiers starting RB Stevie Scott has ran for only 3.6 yards per carry with 5 TD’s. Leading WR Ty Fryfogle (real name) averages 17.7 YPC with 4 TD’s of his own.
2020 Indiana- 33.8 PPG (33rd overall)
Obviously, this is a bored, COVID-19 killed the end of our season, off-season-esque post. I have no idea if Coach Lashlee is a viable candidate for South Carolina, Liberty, or any other opening or if he would even choose to pursue those openings during a pandemic. Then again, head coaches are typically guaranteed money where as assistant coaches are guaranteed much less.
Lashlee has been around some big name head coaches in Gus Malzahn and to a lesser extent Manny Diaz and Sonny Dykes. He’s seen the do’s and don’t’s over his career. From seeing Lashlee in pressers and in practice- you can see a teacher of the game.
With that said, if Manny can produce a head coach from his staff, that says a lot about what he’s doing as a head coach, CEO, leadership type. With guys like Justice, Beck and Sheridan being mentioned above, some other names to consider are: Travis Trickett of WVU, Andrew Sowder of Kent State, and Anthony Tucker of UCF.