posted on December 13, 2012 15:28
Missouri's presumed top outside candidate for its open offensive coordinator position is heading to Arkansas.
Now, Jim Chaney's decision to become Brett Bielema's offensive point-man in Fayetteville shows a coaching search is most often a lose-lose situation.
Chaney seemed to be the fan favorite to replace David Yost, and the former Tennessee OC confirmed that there had been informal talks with Missouri. It appeared to be a move that would re-energize a fan base that lost momentum after a 5-7 season.
An experienced, outside hire would bring new, fresh ideas to Missouri's faltering attack. All that was left was getting Chaney to sign on the dotted line.
It may never be known how far the talks went. All that's known is that the Razorbacks went one step further with Chaney and now he's calling the hogs on the Hill.
So where does that leave Missouri?
There aren't many names out there that would energize the fans like Chaney, who would bring a proven offense and NFL experience to Columbia. More and more, it seems that an internal promotion is the most likely option -- promote Andy Hill or Josh Henson (or both), hire an outside candidate to become the new quarterback coach, and call it a day.
(Intrepid readers may remember that this is the move I supported from Day 1 of the coaching search.)
Yet there are politics presumably at play here. The initial desire to hire outside the program may have been a big push from higher ups in the athletic department, as it doesn't fit Pinkel's modus operandi of promoting from the family. Chaney seemed to be a win-win situation -- someone Pinkel was obviously interested in, and someone that would gain the support of the big boosters and average Joe Fan. At the same time, it would have been a hire that would have removed some of the heat from Pinkel's back, giving him more time (if desired) to better aclimate Missouri to the SEC.
At the same time, that's likely a big reason why Chaney decided Arkansas was the safer option. If Missouri's offense failed again next year, Chaney would be the scapegoat. He would be working for a coach on the hottest seat in the SEC next year. At Arkansas, he's there with a new hire who has three to four years at least to get things turned around.
Now, he's gone. Is there a win-win candidate anymore?
Maybe. There are certainly names we haven't heard of yet, and as Howard Richards, Missouri's radio color analyst, pointed out on Twitter, the end of the NFL season could provide more candidates for the offensive coordinator position. Yet recruiting season never stops, and with signing day fast approaching, can Pinkel afford to take his time anymore? That's an even more loaded question with the news that Southern Miss has offered its offensive coordinator position to Josh Henson. Presumably, if Henson doesn't get the promotion, he'll leave Columbia and join buddy Todd Monken there. At the same time, if Henson does get the job, what does that mean for Andy Hill, Missouri's best recruiter? Would he head elsewhere?
There are plenty of questions surrounding Missouri's impending hire now that Chaney is off the board. What seems to be a foregone conclusion is that, should Missouri not promote from within, it will have to fill more spots on the staff.