With the 2022 season mercifully coming to an end, it’s time for the announcement we’ve all been waiting for since Geoff Collins was fired in late September.
It’s about time J Batt made it official and announced Jamey Chadwell as Georgia Tech’s next head football coach.
It’s Occam’s Razor – the easiest decision and the right one. Hell, there’s a reason he was picked first in the FTRS (Hypothetical) Head Coach Mock Draft a few months ago. Here’s why:
Chadwell has been the Southeast’s head coach almost exclusively for the past 13 years. He has a 22-14 record in three years at D-II North Greenville, a 35-14 record in four years at FCS Charleston Southern and (so far) a 39-20 record in his last four years as a full-time head coach the Carolina coast. (I’m not counting his 3-9 season as interim head coach of Coastal Carolina in 2017, which was the Chanticleers’ first full season in FBS and which he stood in while Joe Moglia was on sick leave all season. If You still want to count against Chadwell this season after all the context, more power to you.)
Chadwell has won everywhere he’s been in a while, even considering the tough first year his programs endured. The level of consistent success he has built over the last three years in a very competitive Sun Belt is Not something that should be ignored – the Chanticleers are 31-4 (20-3), poised to play their second Sun Belt Championship and on course for their second ranked spot of the span. Chadwell also won several National Coach of the Year awards following the Chanticleers’ 2020 season.
While it’s fair to think that a win at the G5 level doesn’t necessarily mean a win in the ACC, consistent wins at different levels of football seems like something that carries over to the Power-5 – just look at it Lance Leipold (who won 6 – yes, SIX – Division III National Championships at Wisconsin-Whitewater) was able to find success in six years at Buffalo and in just two years at a previously hapless Kansas program.
If you knew the name Jamey Chadwell before reading this column, you’ve probably heard that he’s running an options-based offensive in Coastal Carolina. If you knew this, and were also vehemently opposed to hiring Chadwell, you probably envisioned a misdemeanor that looks very similar to Paul Johnson’s flexbone option misdemeanor we saw at Georgia Tech from 2008-2018.
It’s true to say that Chadwell’s offense is options-based, but tell me – does this formation look like a game we’ve ever seen Paul Johnson’s offense play?
Of course not — we essentially never saw Paul Johnson’s offense come out in a shotgun formation, nor did it ever seem to involve a move from either wide receiver.
How about this one?
…and I think this one has some similarities between the positioning of the H-Back and the Orbit movement?
All three of these formations set up triple option games. Yes, Chadwell runs an offensive that uses many of the same guiding principles that Paul Johnson’s offensive used. No, they are not the same offense. The Chanticleers have attempted at least 24 passes in 8 of 10 games so far this year — Paul Johnson’s offenses last attempted 24+ passes against Virginia in October 2015.
Chadwell’s offenses ended up in the SP+ top-10 in 2020 (9th) and 2021 (6th). At the time of writing, they’re 40th on offense SP+ in 2022 – not quite as dazzling, but that’s because QB Grayson McCall is missing time in his third year as he struggles with injuries for part of the year. (It’s also still a big upgrade for Georgia Tech’s 105th offense and would be the second best offense in the ACC Coastal Division this year.)
Simply put, Chadwell’s offenses are productive, exciting to watch and unique. Having a schematic advantage on offense is a clear path to victory on the field in today’s college football world, especially for teams that don’t consistently have a talent advantage over their opponents
Scouting and Evaluation
Coastal Carolina’s recruiting rankings under Chadwell don’t blow anyone away, but their scouting and evaluation processes are well respected in the industry. Bud Elliott of 247Sports (one of the media’s recruiting experts) recently noted on the Cover 3 podcast that there are several teams in the Southeast who keep a close eye on the scholarship offers Coastal Carolina makes, indicating that they are consistently at the top stand the spear when it comes to finding talented players.
Assuming this is true, this is directly related to suppressed recruitment rankings, as players found by Coastal are unlikely to be well scouted by major recruitment services (meaning that individual player rankings are not high) and that higher profile programs in the Dive are received in and recognition for signing players that Coastal has identified.
That narrative has played out on the field as well – players who sign Coastal also seem to consistently perform above their recruit rankings. Look no further than McCall, who was a two-star post-high school recruit with only one other FBS offer (from the Army). After being named a redshirt as a true freshman, he has since been a two-time Sun Belt Player of the Year, compiled a 74-7 touchdowns-to-interceptions ratio, and is receiving attention as a potential NFL draft pick.
It’s clear that Georgia Tech has some institutional constructs that limit the program’s cap on recruiting players from high school and off the transfer portal. Countering these constructs adequately to sustainably build a roster at Georgia Tech that is on par with (or better than) other opponents in the ACC begins with a keen eye for scouting and grading and continues with proven player development. Chadwell’s track record says he will bring both of those skills to the table as a head coach.
Don’t think about it
It’s been a fun ride and a real pleasure watching Brent Key live his dream as Georgia Tech’s head coach over the past few months, and the team has undoubtedly played hard for him. But you can’t hire a coach just because his opponent’s All American wide receiver inexplicably dropped a probable game-winning touchdown at the end of a game.
At this point, it’s time to start thinking about building this program successfully over the next few years, and putting the program’s future in the hands of someone whose head coaching career began two months ago is short-sighted, risky, and dangerous.
Georgia Tech’s next head coach must be someone with a proven track record who will restore a sense of unique offensive identity and whose skills most closely match the program’s requirements to be successful. Chadwell checks every box, and the best way forward is obvious:
Georgia Tech needs Jamey Chadwell as their next head coach.
Does Georgia Tech Need Brent Key As Next Head Coach Instead?
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