Report: Ex-Browns HC Hue Jackson 'Strong Candidate' for ASU OC

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistDecember 2, 2019

Cincinnati Bengals special assistant Hue Jackson works the sidelines in the first half of an NFL football game against the Oakland Raiders, Sunday, Dec. 16, 2018, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Frank Victores)
Frank Victores/Associated Press

Arizona State's coaching staff already has some NFL flavor, and there reportedly could be another former head coach from the professional ranks joining the mix. 

According to Bruce Feldman of The Athletic, former Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson "has emerged as a strong candidate" to join the Pac-12 program as an offensive coordinator. Former Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis, who worked with Jackson at the NFL level, is already a special adviser to Sun Devils football.

This comes after Devils Digest noted head coach Herm Edwards, who was also a coach in the NFL, announced he will not retain offensive coordinator Rob Likens, tight ends coach Donnie Yantis and wide receivers coach Charlie Fisher on the staff.

Arizona State was solid but unspectacular during the 2019 regular season, finishing with a 7-5 record that included high points such as wins over Oregon, Michigan State and archrival Arizona and low points such as a four-game losing streak after a 5-1 start.

The offense was inconsistent on its way to 25.2 points per game but was also operating with a freshman quarterback in Jayden Daniels against defenses that often stacked the box to deal with running back Eno Benjamin.

Jackson did not experience much success as a head coach, going 11-44-1 with the Browns and Oakland Raiders. He never reached the playoffs or finished a season with a winning record and was infamously in charge of the Browns when they went 0-16 during the 2017 campaign.

However, he was successful in an offensive coordinator role with the Bengals under Lewis in 2014 and 2015. The team made the playoffs both years and featured an offense that finished seventh in the league in scoring in 2015 with playmakers such as Andy Dalton, A.J. Green, Jeremy Hill, Marvin Jones and Tyler Eifert.

Jackson would be an unconventional choice for the Sun Devils given his lack of recent experience in the college game, but he is familiar with the Pac-12 and was an assistant coach for programs such as USC, California and Arizona State in the 1990s.

This would mark a return to the Sun Devils for a seasoned veteran who has shown the ability to succeed as an offensive coordinator in the past.