Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney is now on the search for a new offensive coordinator after the termination of Billy Napier. Now, coming upon what is likely the biggest hire of his career, another factor has come into play: Rich Rodriguez, who has just been fired as the head coach of the Michigan Wolverines.
Rodriguez was a former Clemson offensive coordinator from 1999-200, and his offenses were productive before he accepted a head coaching job at West Virginia in 2001, where he was a dominant force in the Big East.
Now, plenty of Tiger faithful, among others, believe Swinney should jump at the opportunity to hire Rodriguez back as Clemson's new offensive coordinator. However, this wouldn't be the right move for Swinney as a head coach to make, and he needs to head in a different direction with whom he should hire as the new offensive coordinator.
Why not hire Rich Rodriguez?
First is the risk of baggage he brings. The way he left West Virginia caused much controversy. Plus, once he was hired as Michigan's head coach, he never really seemed to fit in and bring his style of coaching and offense into the Big Ten Conference. He never made adjustments to his offense when it struggled, and his system never really adjusted to the different types of players in the Big Ten.
Sometimes, an offensive coordinator must change their offense at times to win, and Rodriguez never made any kinds of adjustments, which resulted in his lack of offensive success, which went so well in West Virginia.
If Clemson ever hopes to hone the offensive potential it has, especially with several top receivers coming in, it must not run the risk of bringing back Rich Rodriguez. The best offensive coordinator needs to be someone new to the program, and must be able to provide a much needed spark to an offense that has remained inconsistent for the last decade.
Rodriguez, in a way, would be similar to a Rob Spence hire. Labeled as an "offensive genius," but unable to produce much after the first year or two, and unable to make adjustments to their own offensive system. Former coordinator Rob Spence was a big bubble screen fan, and Rodriguez would soon become the same type of coordinator.
So while Rich Rodriguez may be available, Swinney will continue to shop and explore his options, and would be better off extending an offer to one of his reported top candidates in Tulsa'a Chad Morris or TCU's co-offensive coordinator, Justin Fuente.