Before I get started I want everyone to know that I believe what I’m about to share is all solvable. They are problems of Jimbo’s own creation, facilitated by his management style and they are fixable. But they require Jimbo to recognize that he is the issue and therefore he is the solution. That latter part is tricky.
At one point in the game yesterday we had a fourth and short and we had to burn two timeouts trying to get the team set to try and convert. The first time we had a player out of position and the second time the clock ran down on us. Then eventually I think Jimbo realized that it was 4th and 2 and not 4th and 1 and just decided to kick it.
In a nutshell that’s Jimbo’s offense right now. Too much going on, too much of a boondoggle and only one person who knows what’s supposed to be happening on every snap and therefore that one person is responsible for communicating it all and making it happen.
Jimbo’s program is hugely Jimbo-centric. Which is fine and understandable given the nature of CFB head coaches and his contract. But that leaves very little margin of error for him, and the errors he makes are magnified 10-fold. Jimbo needs help and I don't know if he knows how to ask for it or if he recognizes that he needs it.
When Jimbo got here the vibe (deserved or undeserved) as that he was a title-winning coach because of three things 1) QB development 2) Offensive Scheme and 3) recruiting. I’d like to talk briefly about how he’s failed at all three this year due to poor management. A key running theme here is an inability to replace talent (and not just players).
Jimbo had three years to recruit and groom Kellen Mond’s replacement. Kellen wasn't perfect but he was good enough. Jimbo pushed his chips to the center (I’m not a gambler so please forgive me for an imperfect metaphor) on Haynes. Haynes is not panning out. You can point to the OL whatever but in three years Haynes is throwing for 57% with 9 TDs and 10 INTs. Conner is right there and Jimbo had no plan to play him beyond when Haynes got hurt.
We can point to the players that we didn't land in favor of Haynes—Jalen Milroe, Malik Hornsby, etc...but even those represent mismanagement of that position. Why are we hell-bent on recruiting dual-threat guys when we need pure pocket passers?
We are mismanaging that room and Jimbo needs to hand that over. Let someone else make those decisions.
I’m not going to get into the scheme. It needs to be changed. We know that.
But no scheme can compete with this terrible OL play.
8 false starts aren't a talent issue.
Josh Henson left for USC and we replaced him with Steve Addazio, a guy who at one time had very good offensive lines but that time was 10+ years ago.
I think it’s fair to say that Addazio was a bad hire. Part of Jimbo’s responsibility in managing the offense is managing the offensive hires. They are all his. Addazio’s hire is another example of Jimbo’s challenges in managing a program. This isn't about the micro. This is about the macro.
In December of 2021 were riding high about to put together an elite class behind the work of two staffers, Marshall Malchow and Danielle Braswell, both of whom were named as being some of the best college football personnel folks in the country as per The Athletic.
Two months later Malchow (and took a good number of our staff) to go to Oregon and Braswell left to go to Kentucky.
It took us two additional months to hire Kevin Mashack, who had been at Indiana University for a year and at Tennessee State before.
Don't get me wrong. It’s difficult to sell a crap product. But us not having a single offensive skill player committed right now didn't happen as a result of this season. It started this summer. And a large part of the reason why was that our previous two player personnel guys were from LSU and Georgia respectively, and we replaced them with a guy from Indiana.
Having the 18th-ranked recruiting class with 12 commits isn't great when the team is struggling. And if that’s how we’re going to operate we need to be looking hard at the portal to fill in gaps, and Jimbo hasn't demonstrated the ability nor the willingness to do so.
Again mismanagement of resources in who he hires and what he allows them to do. The portal is right there and we’re going to need it moving forward but we’ve got no plan on how to tap into it.
Three key areas of Jimbo’s expertise are struggling right now and on paper the fix is easy. Hire better people to handle them. Jimbo needs to make good hires and step back and do what he does best—which is close on players and fundraise. He needs to stop thinking that he’s good enough to be able to hire just anyone to follow him for those spots and hire people who are capable of working independently at a high level—exactly what he does with the defense.
On paper that’s easy. Hell, hire an OC let them bring their OL person, and then hire an experienced player personnel guy from a big-time power 5 school. The dynamics of managing a Power 5 program are different than they were in 2013. Jimbo has to adjust accordingly.
But in reality, it requires a change in Jimbo's head coaching DNA. It’s not just what he decides its how he goes about making decisions. I don't know if he has that in him.
When you’re a consistent 8-4 type program sometimes you have to hit rock bottom to see changes get made.
I think we’re there right now.