On Tuesday, the Missouri Tigers lost offensive coordinator Josh Heupel, who was hired to replace head coach Scott Frost at Central Florida.
Heupel commandeered a high-flying offense during his two years in Columbia. In his first year at the position, he took a sluggish offense, which the S&P ranked 123rd in 2015, and turned it into a top-50 offense by 2017, eventually leading the unit to a top-10 finish.
With the new vacancy on the offensive side of the ball, we’ll look at several names that head coach Barry Odom might consider to take over the reigns.
Potential In-House Promotions
Joe Jon Finley, tight ends coach
Missouri Tigers Football
Finley played for Heupel at Oklahoma and was hand-picked by Heupel to be the tight ends coach. If he doesn’t get promoted here, then there is a solid chance he’ll follow Heupel to Orlando.
This would be a continuity promotion, as Finley knows the inner-workings of the offense. He was also critical to the impressive breakout year of redshirt freshman tight end, Albert Okwuegbunam.
Andy Hill, receivers coach
Hill is a Mizzou alum, and has been on the staff since the Larry Smith era. Hill is a well-respected member of the staff and was named interim head coach after Gary Pinkel retired. Hill coached-up former receivers Jeremy Maclin, Danario Alexander and Michael Egnew.
Mike Leach Coaching Tree
During his days as Oklahoma’s quarterback, Heupel played under coaching legend Mike Leach. Leach’s footprint on the coaching landscape of college football has been mighty impressive, and here we will look at a few names that could potentially be a good fit at Mizzou.
Sonny Dykes, offensive analyst, TCU
The former Cal Bears head coach is my personal favorite for the position. He led high-octane offenses at Cal and mentored 2015’s No. 1 NFL Draft pick, Jared Goff.
Dykes improved the program from one win in his first year, to eight wins in his third year. While he was ultimately fired in 2016, his dismissal was mainly because he failed to field a defense with a pulse, which wouldn’t be his concern in Missouri.
Graham Harrell, offensive coordinator, North Texas
Harrell was the prolific quarterback from Mike Leach’s glory days at Texas Tech. He’s worked under Mike Gundy at Oklahoma State and was reunited with Leach to be an offensive analyst. He was eventually named outside receivers coach in Pullman. Harrell took a downtrodden offense and turned it into a top-25 offense in two years.
Kendall Briles, offensive coordinator, FAU
This might be a controversial hire by sheer relation to Art Briles, but there is no denying what Briles has done at both Baylor and FAU.
FAU head coach Lane Kiffin gave Briles full control of the offense, and he’s done nothing but produce. He built a top-10 offense while helping Kiffin win the Conference USA title.
Rhett Lashlee, offensive coordinator, UConn
Lashlee served as offensive coordinator for Auburn for the past three years, before leaving the gig to coach under Randy Edsall at…Connecticut! As confusing as that move seemed, there’s no denying what Lashlee did at Auburn and even in his first year at UConn.
Lashlee engineered the offense that won the SEC Title in 2013 (I know, Tre Mason still haunts me in my sleep, too). Upon his arrival in East Hartford, he took a sputtering Huskies offense that ranked 127th in offense and improved it to a top-80 offense.
Right now, Sonny Dykes would be my odds-on favorite for the job. But it is strongly possible that Odom might utilize Gary Pinkel’s “promote from within” model and hire either Finley or Hill to promote continuity within the program. The hire is vital for Missouri, because the right person may entice quarterback Drew Lock to stay for his senior year.