Innovative minds will look to bring exciting offenses to the Pac-12 this Fall
Photo: Jake Crandall, Montgomery Advertiser via Imagn Content Services, LLC
Article by Kent Doepel
1. Lincoln Riley (USC)
The expectation is that Lincoln Riley will continue to call plays at USC and if so, Trojan fans are in for a treat. Riley was known for his electric offenses at Oklahoma and those offenses led to five straight top 10 finishes in the AP Poll. During Riley's time in Norman, his offenses finished 3rd, 1st, 6th, 6th and 8th nationally in points per game.
2. Chip Kelly (UCLA)
Chip Kelly developed his reputation as an offensive genius during his time at Oregon where his offenses revolutionized college football. While Kelly hasn't reached the same levels of success he saw with the Ducks, that has been largely due to the defense. Over the past two seasons, UCLA has finished 20th and 13th nationally in scoring offense.
3. Andy Ludwig (Utah)
Andy Ludwig returned to Utah as offensive coordinator in 2019 and that return has coincided with a remarkable run the past few years. This past season was Ludwig's best work as the Utes reached the Rose Bowl with a high scoring offense that finished 14th nationally and managed to drop 45 points on the Buckeyes on New Year's Day.
4. Kenny Dillingham (Oregon)
Kenny Dillingham is one of the rising stars in the coaching profession. Just 31 years old, Dillingham is a Phoenix native who has already been OC at Memphis, Auburn and Florida State. The prodigy was given a contract worth $1M per year in 2022 to entice him to leave the Seminoles for Eugene, where he will team up with Dan Lanning to attempt to bring a National Title to Oregon.
5. Eric Morris (WSU)
While Morris doesn't have a big name, he has produced some of the best offenses in college football recently. Morris is an Air Raid disciple who played at Texas Tech under Mike Leach and then coached receivers at WSU in 2012 before going to Texas Tech to become their offensive coordinator. From 2015 to 2017, the offense at Texas Tech finished 2nd, 5th and 23rd nationally.
6. Jedd Fisch (Arizona)
Prior to Arizona, Fisch has been a journeyman coach for most of his career. He has spent time in both the NFL and CFB as an assistant, including stints as a P5 OC at Minnesota, Miami and UCLA. His most productive offense came in 2017 with the Bruins when he scored 32.5 points per game with Josh Rosen at QB. The Arizona offense was dreadful last season, ranking 124th nationally, but a talent infusion should help boost those numbers in 2022.
7. Brian Lindgren (OSU)
Despite being just 41 years old, Lindgren has a long history as a college offensive coordinator. The Walla Walla native coordinated Colorado's offense from 2013-2017 before being hired by Jonathan Smith to run the Beavers' offense in 2018. The reason we have Lindgren at 7th is his offenses have hardly been prolific outside of this past season and Jonathan Smith deserves a lot of credit for the offensive success as well. Oregon State ranked 44th in points per game in 2021, 60th in 2020, 48th in 2019, and 91st in 2018.
8. Ryan Grubb (UW)
Washington will have prolific offenses with Kalen DeBoer at head coach but at the moment we will give most of that credit to DeBoer's scheme rather than Grubb. With that said, Grubb's offenses have finished 36th nationally in 2020 and 26th in 2021. Grubb is one of the highest paid coordinators in the conference at over $1M per year and if he can turnaround the UW offense, expect him to land a head coaching job soon.
9. Bill Musgrave (Cal)
Older Pac-12 fans will remember Bill Musgrave as quarterback of the Ducks in the late 1980's and after a productive college career, Musgrave went on to be drafted in the NFL where he played from 1991-1998. Following his playing career, Musgrave was an NFL offensive coordinator for Denver, Oakland, Minnesota, Jacksonville and Carolina. Justin Wilcox tasked Musgrave with improving the woeful Golden Bear offense but thus far Cal has ranked 111th in points per game in 2020 and 96th in 2021.
10. Mike Sanford (Colorado)
Mike Sanford was once seen as an up and coming coach when he was hired by Notre Dame to be their offensive coordinator after a successful stint at Boise State in 2014. Since that time, Sanford has failed as a head coach at Western Kentucky and then was fired as Minnesota offensive coordinator in 2021 by PJ Fleck. His offenses with the Gophers ranked 71st in points per game in 2020 and 83rd in 2021.
11. Glenn Thomas (ASU)
Arizona State has had a tumultuous off-season that resulted in the resignation of offensive coordinator Zak Hill and the transfer of Jayden Daniels. The Sun Devils went up to Las Vegas to find their next OC but the move could be risky. Thomas has coached with Matt Rhule at Temple and Baylor which gives some credibility to the hire but his offenses at UNLV hardly inspire confidence. UNLV finished 120th nationally in points per game in 2020 and 112th in 2021. There's some potential here but we will start Thomas at 11th until there's some proven production.
12. Tavita Pritchard (Stanford)
Tavita Pritchard is one of the youngest offensive coordinators in the Pac-12 at 34 years old and has been leading the Stanford offense since 2018. Stanford was once known for a physical offense that punished opponents on the ground but when Pritchard took over, the Cardinal shifted to a pass heavy offense. During Pritchard's tenure, the Cardinal have ranked 73rd, 109th, 56th and 113th in points per game nationally. David Shaw may eventually be forced to push Pritchard out and bring in a more modern system.