As everyone knows we are without an offensive coordinator with the departure of Steve Hagen to North Carolina (who seems to horde all of our coordinators for some reason). However the question I want to pose to all Bulldog fans is will it really matter if we hire someone outstanding as our offensive coordinator? Let's take a look back at the past three offensive coordinators under Pat Hill. The first memorable coordinator was Andy Ludwig who is pictured to the left with Mike Bellotti. Ludwig had the opportunity to coach David Carr and was given relatively free reign to run the offense. This would also be the last time Fresno State had any type of an open offense that featured both the passing and running games as a viable offensive option. Ludwig served as coordinator from 1998-2001. Ludwig would move on to Oregon where he would run the Ducks offense into the ground.
Fresno State countered losing Ludwig by hiring the New Orleans Saints QB coach Frank Cignetti. Cignetti took over an offense without David Carr but still had Bernard Berrian. Unfortunately this also seems to be the time where Pat Hill began to take over the offense. It would be here where the run first mentality was born. Fresno State would win at least eight games in each season that Cignetti ran the offense. However the offense entered into it's so called "Vanilla" phase where it currently sits today. Mike Price of UTEP after defeating the Bulldogs 24-21 in 2004 called the offense as predictable as any offense he had seen up to that point in his career. As Bulldog fans we all know that Price was not that far off base to make a statement such as this. With the amount of talent the Bulldogs put on the field year after year a three game losing streak should never occur and it continually happened during the tenure of Cignetti. Cignetti's term as offensive coordinator would lead to the run-run-pass offense that Fresno State currently operates under today.
Although Cignetti's offense was termed vanilla it still prospered for the most part at Fresno State. In 2004 Fresno State scored over fifty points in four straight games tying an NCAA scoring record. At the same time the Bulldogs finished 9-3 and ranked in the top 25. In 2005 the Bulldogs started 8-1 and took the Trojans down to the wire in a 50-42 loss. Unfortunately win number eight would be the Bulldogs last win with Cignetti as their offensive coordinator. He would depart for North Carolina in the offseason beginning the tenure of Steve Hagen. Hagen only lasted one season with the Bulldogs as he led an anemic offense to a disappointing 4-8 record. Hagen's offense lacked creativity and would feature a run first, run second, and run third mindset. Teams would stack nine men in the box yet the Bulldogs would continue to run. Hagen also departed Fresno State to take over the offensive coordinator duties at North Carolina. So where does this leave the Bulldogs with respect to the new coordinator duties?
In this blogger's opinion it does not matter who Hill hires as our coordinator, our offense will look the exact same as it has the past four seasons. Hill has repeatedly tried to dumb down the offense so the players can understand it better. While I can say I am not the biggest fan of trick plays, there is no way Boise or Hawaii's offense has ever been dumbed down. In order for Fresno State to compete in the WAC in the future Hill will have to hire a coordinator and give him the offensive duties with near free reign as he did with Ludwig. Whether that happens or not will remain to be seen as this coordinator search has taken far longer than anyone could have imagined. You have to figure Hill will go for an NFL guy as he always seems to value the NFL tough man attitude. Unfortunately college football is about gimmick offenses and finding your niche as an offense together. Hawaii is successful because they have the players to execute their offense. Boise State is successful for the very same reasons. Even Nevada has an offense with their own flavor to it. Fresno State must find an identity on offense because the pro style does not work in college football. Regardless I have a feeling our next offensive coordinator is already at Fresno State and has been for the past ten years. I just hope he opens up the offense some because if he doesn't the 2007 team has no Dwayne Wright to fall back on.