Tracking the assistant coach search

THERE'S BEEN a lot of speculation around Beaver Nation as to who will replace running backs coach Reggie Davis, who left to team up with Jim Harbaugh of the San Francisco 49ers. One school of thought offers a couple names for the ‘candidate of the moment' club -- one purportedly with the inside track and the other a long shot.

Charlie Collins, Sacramento Mountain Lions wide receivers coach of the UFL, is the odds-on favorite to join the OSU staff if you believe The site, which generally does not attribute its sourcing and relies on , among other things, reader tips, reported this week that Collins was the leading candidate for the vacant Oregon State assistant post.

Collins has a strong coaching pedigree but because of his focus on wide receivers, some juggling of responsibilities on Coach Mike Riley's staff may need to occur according to the report. Cliff Kilpatrick of The Gazette-Times broached the possibility earlier of bringing in Ken Simonton or Yvenson Bernard as a graduate assistant to coach the running backs with the new full-time assistant's responsibilities lying elsewhere, such as with the tight ends or wide receivers.

In addition to his stint as WR coach with Sacramento, (4-4 in 2010), Collins also is the owner of the Phenom Factory, an off-season training camp for wide receivers in the Los Angeles area. Collins trains youth, high school, college, and NFL level athletes including former OSU receivers Chad Johnson and T.J. Housmanzadeh.

While his coaching skills are generally considered strong, his strong connections to the L.A. area would also help to further strengthen Beaver recruiting efforts in California.

If Collins can be considered the leading candidate to fill the spot, Texas high school coach Lydell Wilson would have to be considered a long shot. Lydell coached the Rodgers brothers at Lamar Consolidated and has built a very strong, credible reputation with Mike Riley and his staff.

Lydell's biggest drawback, and it's a big one, is lack of college level experience -- that might be enough right there to take him out of serious consideration. He does, however, have strong connections in Texas, Oklahoma and other points South -- and that could make him an attractive candidate in keeping that Oregon State-Texoma recruiting pipeline primed and running.

Apart from Collins and Wilson, an obvious candidate would seem to be Robin Ross, who spent the past two seasons at Oregon State as the GA in charge of the tight ends. Ross has been a long-time Division I-A as well as NFL assistant, and held the head coaching job at Western Washington. After WWU shuttered the football program, his settlement with the school allowed him to spend the last two seasons at OSU in a low-paying graduate assistant capacity. Davis helped recruit the L.A. area and virtually all of Ross' territories and assignments throughout his career have focused on one place, the region where he grew up: the Los Angeles Basin. His ties to the region are considerable, built over decades.

A hiring is expected before spring ball begins on March 28.

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