Who is Brad Salem?

For the second time, Vanderbilt head coach Derek Mason is facing one of the most critical decisions of his Commodore tenure, the choice of who will be his offensive coordinator. He had better get this one right because there might not be a chance for a third choice. Brad Salem of Michigan State is currently being heavily discussed as a candidate.

Brad Salem is currently the quarterback's coach at Michigan State. Sure it would be nice if Vandy could land a seasoned, experienced FBS offensive coordinator. However, it looks like Salem might have the tools to help Vanderbilt's struggling offense.

Vanderbilt certainly needs help with its quarterbacks. Last season was a disaster in the management of Vandy QBs. All you have to do is look at the Kentucky game to see the mismanagement of the Commodore signal callers first hand. That was a game Vanderbilt could have won but did not because of the fiasco of running the QB position. Salem brings positive experience in handling QBs. The Spartans finished the 2014 regular season ranked 18th nationally in team passing efficiency. By contrast, Vanderbilt ranked a paltry 120th out of 125 teams in the same category.

However, Salem's offensive experience is not limited just quarterbacks. He also coached running backs at MSU. According to MSU's website, Salem mentored one of the most productive running backs in Spartan history, Le'Veon Bell, from 2010-12. He might be able to help Ralph Webb break the 1,000 yard barrier in 2015.

Salem does have experience running an offense. He ran the offense at this alma mater, Ausgustana College in South Dakota in 2004. That year the team averaged over 30 points a game in the first four games but struggled to a 3-8 record The offense finished the season averaging just under 19 points a game for the season. Salem's offense passed about 48 percent of the time. Injuries or head coach influence might have contributed to those final sub par numbers.

Despite a less than stellar one season as an offensive coordinator, Augustana's athletic director thought enough of Salem to promote him to head coach. As the head man at Ausgustana, Salem took over a team that had back-to-back 3-8 records and finished with an 6-5 record in his first season. After four and five win season, Salem's Vikings went on to finish 8-4 in his last two seasons.

Salem was the passing game coordinator at South Dakota from 1999-2001 with mediocre results. In 2001, Salem's last season with the Coyotes, USD quarterbacks completed just 48 percent of their passes. South Dakota averaged 185 yards a game through the air.

One thing that jumps out at you about Salem's career is that he was the recruiting coordinator at several different schools and he currently serves in that capacity with the Spartan program. This indicates that he must be a very good people person.

According to the current Scout.com team recruiting rankings Michigan State ranks No. 15. Of its 15 commits State has six 4-star rated verbals and the rest are of the 3-star category. Whenever you bring in a recruiting coordinator from another school you usually boost your own program's recruiting horizons. Vanderbilt's recruiting ranking has certainly dropped over the past year and maybe Salem can help it rebound before the February signing day.

Salem looks like he could be the guy to help the program turn things back around or he might be another flop like the last guy; there's really no way of knowing. One thing is for sure though, it's imperative that Mason find the right guy or he might be job hunting in 12 months. Good luck to Mason in making the choice.

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