At $2.6 million, Florida Offensive Coordinator Charlie Weis is one of the highest paid assistant coaches in the game of major college football. Indeed, he makes more money than many head coaches in FBS. For example, Texas Tech’s Tommy Tuberville agreed to a contract extension and a raise last February, bringing his total compensation to $2.0 million amidst grousing by that school’s academic leadership.
People connected with big boy football don’t mind shelling out the dough for coaches’ salaries, as long as the product on the field is winning football. Weis’ product isn’t winning and colour me as one of those who don’t think it ever will. Not in college football.
During his tenure at Notre Dame, Irish Quarterbacks Brady Quinn and Jimmy Clausen both played very well, parlaying their abilities and statistics into first and second round NFL draft picks (respectively). But football teams built around the quarterback play on Sundays, not on Saturdays.
When he was hired by Notre Dame in 2004, Weis was famously quoted as saying that his teams would have “a decided schematic advantage,” and believed that his NFL-style offensive strategy was superior to the schemes being run by most major college football programs. What Weis failed to recognise is that Steve Spurrier had already played the Ace Quarterback card at Florida more than 10 years before, and college football defenses had already found ways of neutralising the advantage.
Today, successful college football teams feature game managers at Quarterback. Stud Quarterbacks are good to have in any program. You want your starting signal caller to make plays when he needs to. But woe be to the college program that thinks the NFL model of the Franchise Quarterback will be a long term winning model.
With 120 FBS programs, the ability of any one program to recruit and develop an all-star Quarterback comes once in a decade, if that often. In the NFL, a Quarterback typically plays for many years. In college ball, you are lucky to have all-star talent for three years. Then you have to go out and recruit another. And another. And another. Forever and ever, Amen?
It doesn’t happen that way.
When Florida Quarterback John Brantley went down with a high ankle sprain against Alabama, the Gator offence went down with him. In the last three games, Florida has scored 10, 11 and 6 points. The Quarterbacks have combined for five interceptions and one touchdown. The offence is averaging 210 yards per game. Granted, two of the last three games were played against the most ferocious defenses in the SEC, but last night against Auburn, Florida managed only 194 yards against one of the most porous defenses in the country. Auburn can claim to have “dominated” the Gators on defence last night, but the numbers and the production show that Florida’s offence just isn’t very good.
At a salary of $2.6 million, Florida fans deserve to get a quality offensive product on the field, and they clearly aren’t getting their money’s worth. The fact that a former Florida Quarterback, Heisman Trophy winner and National Championship coach could have told Weis what was in store has to hurt a little, too.
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