The Case For Cubit

Though we have been completely preoccupied with all the recruiting news of the past couple weeks, culminating in Signing Day, there have been some moves and news within the Stanford coaching staff. One of critical importance for the 2004 season and future of Cardinal Football was the naming of the new offensive coordinator. Quarterbacks Coach Bill Cubit was promoted to the position, and one knowledgeable observer argues here why Cubit was the only logical choice.

Much has been made on the BootBoard of the recent hiring of Bill Cubit as Stanford's new offensive coordinator. Many posters have lobbied for a total departure from last year's abomination. In fact, my initial reaction to the hiring went something along the lines of, "How can we possibly hire the man who called plays for last year's offense to be our coordinator?!?!" I started thinking about it, though, and it started to make more sense…at least given the circumstances. Therefore, here is a logical defense of the hiring of Bill Cubit as Stanford's offensive coordinator. Please note that I have no insider information into how this decision was made. I am only making these arguments as an outside observer with an ex-player's knowledge of the intricacies of college football and on unsubstantiated rumors which appear on the BootBoard.

  1. The quarterbacks coach should always be a team's offensive coordinator (OC). The only exception to this rule is when the head coach fulfills the OC duties. The quarterback is the key to all offenses, and unless the head coach runs the whole show himself, the OC should always work directly with the quarterbacks. It's crucial that the two minds which run the offense are on the same page. I've never seen it work out effectively any other way. Once in a while a pure running team can turn OC duties over to the offensive line coach, but this is quite rare. Even more rare are occasions where a receivers or running backs coach is a successful coordinator as well. So, if you accept this premise as true, it would mean that Stanford should have either released Bill Cubit and hired a new QB coach/offensive coordinator or indeed have promoted him to his new position.
  2. If Stanford were to hire a new quarterbacks coach/OC right now, it would mean that we will have had four QB coaches in four years, and Trent Edwards would have played for three QB coaches in his first three seasons. If it should also happen that Coach Teevens is released after next season, it would then potentially make five coaches in five years for Kyle Matter, which is ridiculous, and not fair to our players. Each coach teaches different techniques, so very little skills progression can be made when new techniques are taught every few months and progress cannot be tracked over time. It is better to keep a less-talented coach (whether Bill Cubit falls under this category is yet unseen) for two years than get a new one every year.
  3. All indications are that Stanford would like to move towards a version of the West Coast Offense (WCO). Such an offense is a radical change from what Stanford ran last year. We cannot afford to completely "start over" again from square one with new terminology, base blocking schemes, etc. It's too much to grasp for our young players while they are still learning the basic fundamentals of Division I football. We are much better off in the short term integrating elements of the WCO into what we did last year… and the short term is all that Coach Teevens is guaranteed right now.
  4. I don't know what other options Stanford really had besides Cubit, even if we were willing to let him go. A top-flight OC would not have come into what is perceived externally as a potentially short-lived situation unless they were to be paid a lot more than we will pay them (read: probably as much or more than Teevens makes). Also, whether true or not, Coach Teevens has a reputation for maintaining difficult relationships with his offensive coordinators, including "control" issues. These elements would have made it difficult to recruit a proven external candidate.
  5. Many have argued for the hiring of Ken Margerum as our new OC. Much of this is due to his knowledge of the WCO and his effectiveness as OC for the Scottish Claymores of NFL Europe. While this success was impressive, Ken would be a receivers coach and OC, which doesn't work well for a myriad of reasons (see argument #1 and last year's offense) and would force a radical change (see argument #3) without him working with the position most effected by such change (see argument #1 again). If Coach Margerum can help Coach Cubit with parts of the WCO, fantastic. Otherwise, I agree that he was a fine choice to coach receivers and am delighted to have him on staff.

Given these conditions, Cubit is the logical choice. Stanford will likely implement evolutionary, not revolutionary change. Coach Cubit is experienced and has been at least moderately effective as a major-college offensive coordinator in the past. He also knows the in's and out's of working with his head coach and understands Stanford's current offensive personnel better than any outsider. I don't know whether or not our offense will improve next year. Given our current options, however, I don't know how they could have made a different call. For everyone's sake, I hope it works out.

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