UCLA OC Hot Board
The search for UCLA's new offensive coordinator is very fresh, and we've heard it will be a pretty aggressive search that might not be over quickly. These are some of the names we've heard mentioned.
Major Applewhite I 38 I Offensive Coordinator & QB Coach, Houston
Many feel Applewhite, the former Texas quarterback, is a big part of the brains behind Houston's very successful offense under Tom Herman. So you'd naturally think he would move on to Texas, his alma mater, with Herman, but one snag: Applewhite, when he was the Texas offensive coordinator, had an affair with a student trainer, and he currently is named in a law suit against the school. So the word is that Texas won't re-hire him. Applewhite is a candidate for the now-open Houston job and the natural hire. Interestingly, though, the Houston defensive coordinator Todd Orlando was named interim head coach for Houston's bowl game after Herman's departure, and Orlando is also a candidate for the head coaching job, with both he and Applewhite reportedly interviewing for it. If Orlando wins the bowl game it could go a long way toward him getting the job, and with Applewhite unable to return to Texas, he could looking for other horizons. Houston, too, is now a fairly prominent program and could attract bigger names with head coaching experience, like Cal's Sonny Dykes. Applewhite has always been considered a bit of a college offense boy genius and operates a spread-to-run scheme at Houston.
Sonny Cumbie I 35 I Co-Offensive Coordnator & QB Coach, TCU
Considered one of the best young offensive minds in the college game, Cumbie is the architect of TCU's highly successful offensive scheme that has really catapulted the Horned Frogs to national prominence in the last several years. He played for Mike Leach at Texas Tech, and is a clear Air Raid disciple, but has instituted some strong running concepts into it. He's considered a good developer as a coach, and makes players better than they are. He's not cheap, currently making $1.4 million at TCU, and he turned down $1.5 million from Texas because of meddling by the Texas administration into the football program. He's a Texas guy through and through, and is thought to be a candidate for the Texas OC job, and his name is mentioned sometimes for head coaching openings.
Greg Knapp I 53 I Denver Broncos QB Coach
Knapp and Mora
Knapp is a longtime NFL coach with a great deal of respect in NFL circles. He's been an offensive coordinator at various stops around the NFL, including with the Oakland Raiders and Seattle Seahawks, and at the Atlanta Falcons when Jim Mora was head coach. He and Mora are close, and Knapp was actually Mora's first choice for offensive coordinator when Mora got the UCLA job, but he was unavailable. He has a reputation of being a master of just about any kind of offensive scheme, and is known as an offensive line blocking scheme guru. The word is that Mora has been in contact with Knapp recently.
Sterlin Gilbert I 38 I Texas Offensive Coordinator
With Tom Herman taking over the Texas head coaching job as of Nov. 26th, the thought is that Gilbert could be looking for a job. There is some sentiment, though, that Herman could retain Gilbert. Gilbert is considered one of the best young offensive coordinators in college football and, despite Texas's poor season that got Charlie Strong fired, Gilbert's offense was prolific, gaining over 500 yards per game, ranked in the top 20 nationally, and doing it all with a true freshman quarterback. An Art Briles disciple, Gilbert runs a different offensive system than Herman, so that could mean Gilbert could be out of work soon in Austin.
Mike Sanford Jr. I 34 I Notre Dame OC
Considered one of the up-and-coming coaches in college football, Sanford went from the Stanford running backs coach at the age of 28 to the Notre Dame OC within four years. The former Boise State quarterback, he was part of the very prolific offensive staffs at Boise State and Stanford, and has been successful at Notre Dame in his two years. He graduated from Los Alamitos High School, has great recruiting ties to SoCal, and was Stanford's recruiting coordinator. The recent buzz is that Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly could be looking to get out of South Bend, and Sanford could need a job, and wouldn't mind coming back to the west coast. Also, one thing to keep in mind: A young coordinator like Sanford could consider the UCLA coordinator job a move with a future, thinking that he could be Mora's successor.
Phil Longo I 48 I Sam Houston State Offensive Coordinator
The architect of the most productive offense in D-1 football, Longo's offense is breaking FCS records. The scheme is a version of the Air Raid, and Longo is close with and regularly visits Washington State head coach Mike Leach. Longo, though, has incorporated a potent running attack into the pass-heavy scheme, and it's been greatly effective. Longo is clearly looking for a bigger stage, and Los Angeles could be a good fit.
Steve Sarkisian I 42 I Alabama Offensive Analyst, Former USC Head Coach
Sarkisian doesn't need much description for UCLA fans. The former USC head coach was fired mid-season last year, and has since been working as an offensive analyst under his fellow ex-USC head coach Lane Kiffin, currently the offensive coordinator at Alabama. One reason Sark was released from USC was a pretty public alcoholic abuse problem, and that obviously could keep him from being the ideal candidate for the UCLA OC job. He does, though, have some considerable qualifications, is known as a very good offensive mind, and is friends with Mora. And you'd have to think he might enjoy taking some revenge against USC. Of course, hiring Sark would greatly depend on whether he could prove to UCLA that his alcohol issues weren't issues any longer. If that's true, we could easily see Mora campaigning hard for Sark with the UCLA administration.
Update 11/29: We're hearing it's an extreme longshot UCLA would allow Mora to hire Steve Sarkisian as the offensive coordinator, given Sarkisian's history.
Cam Cameron I 55 I Most Recently LSU QBs Coach and Offensive Coordinator
Cameron has a pretty impressive resume. He's the former head coach at Indiana, and has been an OC for NFL teams like the San Diego Chargers Baltimore Ravens. Most recently he spent three years as LSU's OC under Les Miles, until interim coach Ed Orgeron fired Cameron this season. Cameron actually comes from the Don Coryell coaching tree, so his offense emphasizes the pass, but he earned a reputation at LSU for also having a very run-oriented attack. We've been told that Mora knows Cameron, that sometime in their coaching histories Mora and Cameron have crossed paths.