Utah State Coaching Search Candidate List
Who will replace Gary Andersen?
Aggies need a new coach
Over the weekend, Utah State and Gary Andersen parted ways, and now is the time to take a look at who athletics director John Hartwell is looking at to replace the round two of Andersen as the head coach.
Last time around it was the boosters who really wanted Andersen and there also was the requirement of wanting the next coach to have head coaching experience. This time that may not be the case.
Utah State makes it official with statement from AD John Hartwell. pic.twitter.com/4dYiYT8qMV
— Mountain West Wire (@MWCwire) November 7, 2020
The first candidate should be the current interim coach which is Frank Maile who also was the interim coach when Matt Wells left Logan for Lubbock to be the head coach of Texas Tech.
Maile is the assistant head coach and co-defensive coordinator and for him to be the interim coach for a second go-around so that clearly makes him in the running. However, does Utah State want to keep someone around from this staff that has clearly not played all that great? To counter that, Maile was with Wells which saw great success for the Aggies.
Pick a BYU coach
With BYU in the top 10 and steamrolling all, so the Cougar assistants will be in high demand. The four who could get an upgrade are offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes, defensive coordinator Ilaisa Tuiaki, passing game coordinator/quarterbacks coach Aaron Roderick, and special teams head coach and assistant head coach Ed Lamb.
Grimes came to Provo from LSU as the offensive line coach and then took over as the offensive coordinator and led BYU to its best offensive in a very, very long time. Currently, BYU’s offense is top 10 in scoring, top 10 in yards per game, and third in yards per play. Some of that is against the competition but no one can deny the Cougars offense is amazing.
Roderick has spent most of his career in the state of Utah and spend a decade with the Utah Utes before going to BYU. He has a big hand to play in the offense but he would be low on a list to take the jump to a head coaching job.
Tuiaki actually coached in Utah State from 2009-11 with Andersen and was with him at Oregon State, plus three seasons at Utah. He is a guy who knows a bit about Logan and the Aggie program. His defense this year has produced some great talent and has had a pair of former Cougars get drafted in the NFL in Fred Warner and Sione Takitaki.
Lamb has head coaching experience as he was the head man at Southern Utah for seven years, won a pair of conference titles, led his team to the FCS playoffs and has produced all five of the Thunderbirds NFL Draft picks while he was the head coach.
Jay Hill, Weber State head coach
Hill has been mentioned for a variety of head coaching jobs as he has led Weber State to deep FCS playoff runs and his offenses have put up a whole lot of points.
He has a 47-30 record in six seasons at Weber State, including three straight years of 10-plus wins,
Morgan Scalley, Utah defensive coordinator
Scalley was in line to be the next Utah head coach but he was suspended this past year due to racial slurs he used within the program. The raise Scalley was to get and the handshake deal to be Utah’s head coach is gone. Now, Scalley might find it beneficial to leave Utah and go start his head coach elsewhere.
He also is in a unique situation in which the Ute defense is really good but the question will be asked if it is his defense or Kyle Whittingham’s defense that Scalley is running.
Bruce Feldman of The Athletic had a few names as well that were not local and they are some doozy ones and if the Aggies can snag any of these names then Utah State should grab them.
These are more national names and the one that really should get Utah State fans excited is landing USC offensive coordinator Graham Harrell.
He would seem like a very attractive option. Harrell knows the Air Raid system as well as just about any possible candidate. The former Texas Tech great has been a terrific addition to the Trojans and did an excellent job at North Texas, and it’s noteworthy that the Mean Green program tailed off after he left for the Pac-12.
Harrell’s deep Texas roots also would be a big plus in recruiting given that Utah State needs to have a pipeline to the Lone Star State as well as California. Harrell is on the watch lists of a number of athletic directors, so he knows he can be choosey, especially at the age of 35.
One reason that Harrell would not go is that he is penciled in to take over for Clay Helton and land the USC job. Helton’s status is always tenuous at best, so Harell could wait and take the USC job or go get head coaching experience and return.
Another offensive-minded coach that is brought up is Miami OC Rhett Lashlee but he has no ties to the area and that could make for a risky move to bring him in.
One familiar name that very well could be at the top of the list is Texas Tech offensive coordinator David Yost. Remember, Yoast was the OC under Wells at Utah State so bringing him back to Logan makes a whole lot of sense and be someone who Aggies fans likely would embrace.
With the season being so early and just weird, do not expect a hire to be announced for at least a month during December once seasons are over.