Last month we wrote about the UC football coaching rumors and potential turnover. We have now confirmed there will be a number of offensive changes heading into the offseason:
1. Offensive coordinator Eddie Gran took his talents to Lexington to give his spread attack a whirl in the SEC at Kentucky.
2. Gran brought with him quarterbacks coach Darin Hinshaw to the Wildcats.
3. In response, UC hired Miami Dolphins interim offensive coordinator Zac Taylor as the new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. As was the case with Gran, and as is becoming the national trend, Taylor was given full autonomy to hire his position coaches.
4. Taylor hired offensive line coach J.B. Grimes from Auburn. This resulted in the dismissal of longtime UC offensive line coach Darren Hiller.
5. Taylor hired former Miami Dolphins offensive line coach Jim Turner to coach UC’s running backs, a role Gran fulfilled previously.
UC will soon release a detailed press release regarding the new hires. However, in the meantime we would like to provide you the details we have compiled from our own digging:
• Zach Taylor started his career as a graduate assistant at Texas A&M for three years after playing quarterback at Nebraska. He spent the remainder of his career at the NFL level with the Miami Dolphins. He is only 32 years old! Taylor’s lack of college coaching and recruiting experience is a huge concern, but the future is bright and he is a young gun. My only fear is that UC cannot afford a “trial by error” or any “growing pains” on offense.
• Jim Turner has been all over the place – from coaching high school to coaching in Europe. UC has always had a steady, productive running back, but by no means are the Bearcats a running back factory. It will be interesting to see what Turner brings to the table.
• Jim Turner and Zac Taylor worked together on both the Miami Dolphins and Texas A&M Aggies coaching staffs. Taylor is former Aggies coach Mike Sherman’s son-in-law, and Turner is Sherman’s cousin.
• Mike Sherman and Tommy Tuberville are longtime BFFs (that’s Best Friends Forever for all you old folks and naysayers). Sherman is the link to Taylor and Turner.
• J.B. Grimes is a 30-year veteran coach. At Auburn he was responsible for a very successful offensive line, ranking in the top four in the SEC in sacks allowed. Grimes’ son, Nick, is also a graduate assistant at UC. He gets to coach with his son, how cool is that? Tubs is a legend at Auburn and Auburn is the likely link between Tubs and Grimes, besides his son of course.
Word on the street is Eddie Gran talked a lot of smack at his Kentucky press conference about how the Bearcats offense was “not very good” before he arrived in Clifton. Now we could give you the stats, but just think about how ridiculous these sentiments are – remember UC’s explosive offenses under Brian Kelly and Butch Jones? Give me a break!
Now I’m by no means a college football genius, but I was hoping for changes on the defensive side of things, not offense. UC finished the year ranked 78th in total defense and a painful 91st in scoring defense. Besides the obvious turnover problems, UC’s woes largely stemmed from a complete failure on defense, not offense. It remains to be seen if Tubs will shake things up on this side of the staff.
On a parting note, Tubs is now 0-3 in bowl games at UC, losing to North Carolina Virginia Tech, and San Diego State in blowout fashion, by a combined 78 points. Heading into 2016 from a disappointing 7-6 season, you have to think this coming season is make-or-break time for Coach Tuberville. Throughout the year it has been rumored Tubs is renegotiating his contract to set aside more money for his staff. Hopefully, the offensive changes and a few pay raises will produce much better results next season!
By Andy Smith