Bill Musgrave, offensive coordinator
Notes: Born William Scott Musgrave, November 11, 1967 in Grand Junction, Colorado. A standout athlete at Grand Junction High School, he was named the Colorado High School Athlete of the Year in 1985.
College: Musgrave started four years for the University of Oregon, and was captain for three. He led the Ducks to back-to-back bowl appearances for the first time in school history. In 1990, as a Senior, he was named team MVP, first-team all-conference, GTE Academic All-American of the Year, and earned a Scholar-Athlete Award by the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the school's Hall of Fame in 2000. Musgrave is the team's career leader for passing yardage (8,343). He succeeded Chris Miller (first-round pick by Atlanta Falcons in 1987).
Pro: Considered very smart and heady coming out of college, Musgrave showed a high football IQ even as a collegian. As a pro prospect, he was an overachiever with average size (6-2 ¼, 200), footspeed (4.85-4.94) and arm strength. He was an effective leader and tremendous competitor with all the intangibles. A fourth-round draft choice (No. 106 overall) by the Dallas Cowboys in the 1991 NFL Draft, he entered the NFL as a player the same year as Brett Favre (a second-round pick by the Falcons). He went to training camp under Jimmy Johnson (head coach) and Norv Turner (offensive coordinator) playing behind Troy Aikman and Steve Beuerlein. Released in training camp, he was picked up by the San Francisco 49ers where he played under head coach George Seifert and offensive coordinator Mike Shanahan from 1991-94. He received a Super Bowl ring as a member of the 49ers, who beat San Diego 49-26 in Super Bowl XXIX. Musgrave went with Shanahan to Denver, where his offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach was Gary Kubiak and he was a backup behind John Elway. His playing career concluded when he was released by the Broncos during the 1997 preseason.
Coaching Career: Musgrave immediately moved into a coaching career, joining the Oakland Raiders as an offensive assistant on the staff of Joe Bugel in 1997. He was hired by Ray Rhodes as an offensive assistant with the Philadelphia Eagles in 1998, where he worked with Sean Payton (quarterbacks coach) and current Vikings assistant Tom Kanavy was the assistant strength and conditioning coach. Toward the end of the year, Musgrave was calling pays instead of offensive coordinator Dana Bible. In 1999, he was hired by George Seifert where he worked closely with offensive coordinator Gil Haskell. Upon Haskell's departure to Seattle, Musgrave was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2000. However, the offense struggled, he endured criticism in the media and was reportedly criticized in front of the team by Seifert, leading to his resignation from the position after four games. He then accepted the position of offensive coordinator under Al Groh at the University of Virginia, where he mentored Matt Schaub as he set school records in 2001-02. He then returned to the NFL as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach under Jack Del Rio with the Jacksonville Jaguars, working with Mark Brunell and Byron Leftwich in 2003-04. Let go by Del Rio, he coached quarterbacks for the Washington Redskins under Joe Gibbs in 2005, again working with Brunell, Patrick Ramsey and Jason Campbell as a rookie. He was hired by Jim Mora, Jr. to coach quarterbacks for the Atlanta Falcons in 2006, working with Michael Vick. He was retained by Bobby Petrino in 2007, serving under offensive coordinator Hue Jackson (current Raiders head coach), enduring a tumultuous 4-12 season that culminated with Petrino's late-season resignation. Retained by Mike Smith in 2008, he began working under offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey and rookie quarterback Matt Ryan as the Falcons rebounded with an 11-5 record. Following the 2009 season, the Houston Texans (Gary Kubiak) wanted to hire Musgrave as their offensive coordinator to again work with Schaub, but the Falcons added the title of assistant head coach to keep him in 2010. Following Atlanta's 13-3 season and another Pro Bowl big by Ryan, Musgrave interviewed with the Cleveland Browns for their offensive coordinator job under Pat Shurmur before being hired by Leslie Frazier to be his offensive coordinator with the Vikings in 2011.
Musgrave played in and has coached the West Coast offense, and will likely retain aspects of that with the Vikings. However, his background under Joe Gibbs and working with Mike Mularkey with the Falcons indicates more diversity. Both Frazier and Musgrave insist they will simplify the terminology and build the offense around the players the Vikings have, some of whom are not best suited for the WCO system. Frazier emphasized the ability of Musgrave to "see globally" was important moving forward to utilize "a multitude of weapons we have on offense."
Musgrave is expected to have full control of the offense. He suggested some of the West Coast roots will remain, but that he will inherit ideas gleaned from others like Joe Gibbs, with formations and protection schemes similar to the Pittsburgh Steelers like they ran under Mularkey with the Falcons. He also intends to streamline the verbiage of the playbook. He wants the formations easy to learn so players can play fast.
His track record in developing Ryan and working with Schaub at Virginia were also significant factors in his pedigree to Frazier, who has identified developing a long-term quarterback of the future as the team's top priority in the upcoming season. They would love nothing better than to draft the next Matt Ryan or Joe Flacco when they pick No. 12 overall in the 2011 NFL Draft. Or, a bridge-type veteran quarterback while they develop Joe Webb, who possesses all the physical tools and seems to have captured support of teammates in the lockerroom.
Summary: As one NFL scout said before Musgrave was formally hired by the Vikings, "whomever they have at quarterback next season, [Bill] Musgrave will have them ready." He and Frazier certainly begin on the same page in that they intend to build their scheme around their personnel, not the other way around. Hopefully, that results in better buy-in from the players and turns a unit that largely underachieved in 2010 into one that can return to form. However, finding the quarterback remains the key to success for all involved and everyone appears to realize that under the new regime.
Scout's Notebook Archive:
QB Rhett Bomar
RB Lorenzo Booker
CB Frank Walker
WR Greg Camarillo
OL Patrick Brown
CB Chris Cook
RB Toby Gerhart
DE Everson Griffen
OG Chris DeGeare
QB Joe Webb
FB Ryan D'Imperio
Kevin Brown has been providing personnel analysis and commentary about the Vikings for more than 22 years with Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards.