Given that we are now a week into the search (well...official public search. Kalani has been working on this since the Arkansas game ended), names are bubbling to the top and "leaks" are starting to go around.
But here's the thing: whatever we THINK we know - we don't.
Even if you had a full list of the entire defensive staff, you could say it was going to be a slam dunk and then it flops.
Clemson promoted a WR coach who became one of the top 2 coaches in CFB after struggling for 5-6 years (then started killing it in recruiting, because stars matter).
Tom Herman and Scott Frost were supposed to be slam dunks at Texas and Nebraska "coming home".
Jimbo Fisher was a great offensive mind at FSU...then he wasn't.
Dave Aranda just fired his defensive staff after one down year and they were amazing last year.
There is so much that goes into building a successful program (and not just that, but maintaning it):
- Recruiting - every school has a different story and you need to be able to sell that unique vision. That doesn't always translate
- Prestige of previous programs - Who does more recruiting, the USC coaching staff or the USC brand setting and extremely high floor?
- Competition - How much was raw coaching talent/scheming wizardry vs being an regular sized fish in a very small pond?
- Gameplanning - it's done collaboratively. Playcalling isn't an exact science and push come to shove Jimmy and Joes >>>>>> X's and O's. All coordinators got their shot eventually, how do you predict "readiness"? But it's not like they've never input into strategy again.
- Ability to network and have good position coaches who are willing to recruit the hell out of your school (and also need to be able to sell the vision)
- As you move up and hopefully recruit better players, can you also work with the bigger egos that may be associated with not dealing with the scrappy underdog?
Building a great staff is like catching lightning in a bottle and keeping it rolling is even harder. You have to replace talent with better talent in order to improve. Recruiting in and of itself is an inexact science because you don't know how exactly a guy will pan out and what their body will do, or injuries, or if they make a boneheaded off the field decision. There are so. many. variables.
How do you know somebody is a great position coach? As a fan, we aren't in the room seeing how they teach. We don't know what they were asked to do on any given play. If you don't follow recruiting as closely my counterpart Brother J. Rakoto Hansen does, you don't know how good of a recruiter they are.
After an extended period of success with a position group, how do we know how much is actual hands on coaching vs recruiting? And much development is the coach working their magic vs a talented guy just being flat out better than the opponent? Was the drop off in the run game this year because we lost an NFL back in Allgeier who is an all-time Cougar great? Or because of the coaching of Harvey Unga and Derrell Funk?
I will caveat this by saying that QB Whispers are a thing - the amount of mentals and the processing of decisions that goes into good QB play and being able to simplify it enough as an OC/QB coach are really hard to do (which is why most OCs are former QB coaches). But even then, how much of that is the players raw arm strength and accuracy and baseline ability to think fast enough?
Again we don't know.
So say BYU has their guy already and it's working through the final background check. If it is any of:
Derrick Odum, Shaun Nua, Jason Kaufusi, Ikaika Malloe, Vic So'oto, Jay Hill, Chad Kauha'aha'a, etc.
they're all qualified. They all have experience. They all have either been a DC at a smaller program or have been a position coach outside the BYU bubble long enough to prove their worth and take a shot on.
We don't know who the best option will be because we can't predict the future. But if we manage to get multiple of them like we did in 2018 rebuilding the offensive staff where multiple OC candidates came on board, then I will feel pretty damn confident in whatever the actual change is.