I announced earlier this week that I had finally succumbed and was on the "Fire Bryan Stinespring" bandwagon. I still am. Stiney has no business calling our plays and directing our offense.
Stinespring is a fantastic recruiter and by all accounts a great man. But his ability to lead the offense is lacking. Yes, it's the right offense. It's the one that helps our defense win. I get it. But the man in charge of that offense is no longer getting the job done.
Yeah, this team is young and is making a lot of youthful mistakes. Yes, the offensive line is a work in progress ... again. But at some point there has to be accountability for the guy who comes up with and implements the game plan and calls the actual plays.
Bryan Stinespring is no longer the guy that should be doing that and he should be fired from calling the plays. But there's a little more to it than that.
Things that won't work
In a perfect world, I'd like to see Stiney simply get demoted. However, that probably isn't the way it's going to happen. There would bound to be problems between he and the new offensive coordinator and it would just be awkward to have the guy around after he had been stripped of play-calling duties. It's one thing for the head coach to take over calling the plays. It's another for a new OC to be brought in when the old guy is still around.
In order to adequately replace Stiney, you would also have to replace his ability to recruit. You also have to bring in someone whose offensive philosophy fits that of the head coach and the program. You can't just simply pick the first hot offensive coordinator with a big offense and stick him in at Virginia Tech. You can't just go and get a guy from Houston or Nevada and bring him to Blacksburg and expect things to instantly work.
No, you have to get a guy who wouldn't completely overhaul Virginia Tech's offense and bring in some new philosophy. Ask Auburn and Tennessee how that's working out. But if you can get someone with a history of being in a run-first offense, who understands how to coach kids to make them better, knows how to game plan and knows how to adjust at halftime when things don't go their way, then you'll have a successful OC replacement for Stinespring.
Actual possible replacements
There are a couple of names I like. The first was mentioned earlier this week on the TSL Boards: Josh Heupel. Heupel is a coaches son who has been under one of the better offensive coordinators I've seen in a while, Kevin Wilson. And despite what OU's offense is this season, the Sooners were a run-first program when Wilson first started calling plays.
Also, Wilson came from Northwestern, where he helped Damien Anderson run wild.
The other name I like is also here in the Sooner State: Trooper Taylor. Taylor coached under David Cutcliffe at Tennessee, where the Vols were a run-first team. Cut was one of the primary reasons Fulmer has had as many good years as he's had at Tennessee and they made a mistake in not making Taylor the OC.
Eventually, Trooper Taylor is going to get the keys to his own offense and that team is going to seriously fly.
Back to Reality
Of course, odds are nothing will be done after this season, Stinespring will be able to keep his job citing the youth of this year's team and we'll suck again in '09. Meanwhile, UVa will fire Mike Groh, hire Taylor and win the ACC. So at least we have that to look forward to. That will be fun.