I have said numerous times, I think Pat Hill needs to overhaul his staff and make some changes to his philosophy. That is easier said then done. Hill is as loyal as he is stubborn. Larry Coker is cleaning house at Miami. Coker is trying to save his ass, after the 'Canes got whipped by LSU, 40-3. Funny after a national title, national runner-up season, a 10 win season and two straight 9-3 seasons, Coker feels he has to clean house to save his job. Yet, Hill does not have a worry in the world about losing his job, therefore, is in no hurry to change his philosophy. Miami is on a different level than Fresno State, but Hill would like his program to be on that same level. Shouldn't Hill feel the same pressure and have to answer to critics just like coaches of much bigger programs. I do not think Hill has to go to the same extreme as Coker, in what people in Miami are calling "Bloody Monday". But Hill should reevaluate his staff, and see if they fit into his grand scheme. Dan Brown and John Baxter have been with Hill since day one, but loyalty is for pets.
Did Frank Cignetti show any loyalty to Hill by jumping ship and taking the offensive coordinator position at North Carolina? How about Andy Ludwig back in 2001? Fresno State should be lucky to have had John Baxter for as long as they have. He is truly one of the better special teams coach, and his Academic Gameplan has done wonders for graduation rates. Dan Brown on the other hand is nothing more than an average defensive coordinator. I always hear ESPN television analysts spout off about how good of a defensive coach he is, and how well he masks his blitz packages. I don't buy it. If he is so good, why hasn't he been offered a job at a bigger school?
Every year since 1997 Hill has lost at least one assistant, except for last year. This year Cignetti leaves, but maybe this should be the year Hill cleans a little house. It won't happen. I should stop dreaming, and hope next year some school wants to hire Dan Brown away. I have seen Fresno State fail to make defensive adjustments to many times under Brown, its sickening. Maybe it's not Brown's fault, how much control does Hill really allow his coordinators to have?
I don't blame Cignetti or any other assistant for leaving the Bulldog program. It's all about the money. Like I said, loyalty is for pets. I had my doubts about Cignetti, but overall it is hard to tell how good of an offensive coordinator he was. Paul Pinegar and Jeff Grady are not the best indicators of how well the scheme worked. Ludwig had the luxury of having Billy Volek and David Carr. Then he was hired by Oregon but subsequently drove the Duck offense into the ground in just three years and was let go. We will see in the next couple of years if Cignetti is the real deal. You had to be very smart quarterback run Cignetti's offense, and Pinegar was head smart but not field smart.
If I had to pick a replacement for Cignetti, I would vote for Dave Telford. The former Portland State offensive coordinator left the Vikings last year to spend more time with his family. Hill's team need some air Sweeney offensive scheme. Telford still holds the Fresno State single game passing record, and was the wide receivers coach under Jim Sweeney in the mid 90's. Hill will probably hire another NFL assistant. Former Bulldog tailback Kelley Skipper was the OC at UCLA prior to the hiring of head coach Karl Dorrell. Why doesn't Hill hire more former Fresno State players on his staff? A lot of the hot coaching commodities are former Sweeney players.