Japanese Michigan’s Aaron Willing personifies the make-up of a regular Soccer Bowl Subdivision offensive coordinator.

Willing, 47, has run the offense in Ypsilanti for 3 seasons. He had prior to now served as offensive coordinator at two prior stops, from 2008 to 2010 for the Department II Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks and from 2011 and 2012 for the Minnesota State Mavericks.

Willing is likely one of the 129 offensive coordinators operating lately for 118 FBS groups; 12 groups both don’t have an offensive coordinator place or have a emptiness. There are coordinators who’ve simply begun to power a condo automobile with out hefty surcharges and others drawing Social Safety. Some have been promoted with no need referred to as a unmarried play, whilst others held the reins for almost 1 / 4 century.

The common offensive coordinator is 44.Eight years of age, has labored as offensive coordinator for his present employer for two.Four seasons and was once a offensive coordinator for five.Three seasons previous to being employed at their present place, in step with an research via One Foot Down.

If the Notre Dame Combating Irish are in search of a regular rent to switch Chip Lengthy as offensive coordinator, Brian Kelly might faucet any person who suits the “reasonable” mildew.

As an alternative, Kelly will reportedly advertise quarterbacks trainer Tommy Rees to the location for no less than one sport. The 27-year-old will take care of the play-calling accountability all the way through the Dec. 28 Tenting Global Bowl as a conceivable audition for the task.

Lance Taylor, the Irish’s 38-year-old working backs trainer, might also interview for the open spot, in step with Irish Illustrated’s Tim Prister.

Neither Taylor nor Rees have even been an offensive coordinator for any school at any degree.


Notre Dame was once 47th within the FBS in overall offense this 12 months — 49th in passing, 46th in dashing and 13th in scoring. The Irish have been 27th within the Offensive Fremeau Potency Index and 19th in SP+, Invoice Connelly’s “tempo- and opponent-adjusted measure of school soccer potency.”

Whilst Irish fan response is blended at the prospect of Rees taking on and making improvements to efficiency, the adverse comments is usually considered one of 3 issues:

  1. Rees is just too younger.
  2. He lacks the considered necessary revel in.
  3. Hiring an in-house candidate is much less preferable than doing a extra intensive seek with applicants out of doors the Notre Dame bubble.


In making the case for Rees, The Rakes File’s Chris Wilson argued Thursday: “You’ll’t swing a stick on the NFL or school training ranks with out working into some younger gun offensive thoughts doing just right paintings. Joe Brady is 30 and simply gained the Broyles. Kellen Moore is 31 and the Cowboys offensive coordinator. Former Notre Dame QB trainer Matt LaFleur is 40 and head trainer of the 10-Three Packers. Age is however a bunch, Rees has been across the sport his complete existence and this is able to completely determine.”

Whilst there are 33 offensive coordinators who’re Taylor’s age or more youthful, there is only one in FBS more youthful than Rees.

Charlie Weis Jr. was once 24 when Lane Kiffin employed him to run the FAU Owls’ offense. He’s now 26, having finished his 2nd common season and serving to the 10-Three Owls earn a Boca Raton Bowl bid.

The Owls have been coached, till lately, via Lane Kiffin, who earned a name as a professional playcaller and landed his first offensive coordinator gig at age 30. They’re now coached via Willie Taggart, who was once 24 when Jack Harbaugh made him the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers’ co-offensive coordinator in 2001.

This 12 months, the Kiffin and Weis-led Owls have been 33rd in overall offense, 30th in passing offense, 63rd in dashing offense and 16th in scoring offense. They have been 41st within the OFEI, up 19 spots from final 12 months, and 46th in SP+.

Rees isn’t too younger via Kiffin’s requirements, however what to Rakes’ level that “you’ll’t swing a stick” with out discovering a a hit formative years?

There was once one Best 10 SP+ offense run via any person underneath 40: the Penn State Nittany Lions’ Ricky Rahne, who’s 39.

When you take a look at the Best 20 SP+ offenses, there have been six coordinators underneath 40 — with the Washington Huskies’ Bush Hamdan the youngest at 33.


Early life and revel in are an identical, however no longer the similar, lawsuits. A fan who gadgets to Rees as “too green” is talking to his resume, no longer essentially his poise.

There are 27 present FBS offensive coordinators who by no means held that name ahead of being promoted to the location, of which 13 paintings for a Energy Five college.

“You may suppose at this level we school soccer lovers would learn how to have some humility of their proclamations about who will or won’t paintings as an assistant trainer, however now we have no longer but reached that time,” wrote Wilson Thursday. “The final time Notre Dame promoted a place trainer with out a play calling revel in to be coordinator it labored out lovely smartly.”

The author then cited Dabo Swinney’s a hit promotion of Tony Elliott and Jeff Scott, neither of whom had play-calling revel in, to the position of co-offensive coordinators for the Clemson Tigers.

Wilson is correct. Elliott, a former working backs trainer, and Scott, a former large receivers trainer, had been a smashing good fortune after being promoted at 35 and 33 years of age, respectively.

Right here’s the other facet:

  • Tavita Pritchard was once 30 when he was once promoted at Stanford, his alma mater, from quarterbacks trainer to offensive coordinator. The Cardinal have been 26th in offensive SP+ in his first 12 months, however plummeted to 74th this 12 months.
  • Chad Scott was once 37 when West Virginia Trainer Neal Brown tabbed him for his first coordinator place. The Mountaineers have been 96th in offensive SP+ this 12 months amid a 5-7 season.
  • The offensive coordinator tag was once added to UCLA’s Justin Frye when the offensive line trainer was once 35 years outdated. In 2019, his first season as coordinator, the Bruins completed 4-Eight and 66th in offensive SP+.
  • Brian Brohm was once 32 and JaMarcus Shephard was once 34 after they got their first coordinator positions at Purdue. Brohm began in 2017, whilst Shephard was once increased in 2018. The Boilermakers have been 63rd in offensive SP+ in 2017, 17th in 2018 and 46th this 12 months.
  • Garin Justice was once employed via UNLV to be their offensive coordinator in 2019 in spite of no prior revel in in that position. The 36-year-old’s offense was once 111th in SP+ this 12 months — and the Rebels have a brand new trainer after going 4-Eight this 12 months.


For higher or worse, Tommy Rees is a Brian Kelly man.

After the Irish collapsed in 2016, a number of post-mortems blamed Kelly’s penchant for hiring his “guys” — coaches he’s had established relationships with — over the ones with out a connection to his tree.

Lengthy and Mike Elko assumed the coordinator positions from two Kelly guys, Mike Denbrock and Brian VanGorder. The ones have been considered as a hit hires, as Kelly’s resolution to advertise Clark Lea — who got here with Elko — to defensive coordinator when his predecessor bolted for Texas A&M. Paul Longo, a lifelong Kelly pal, was once changed via Matt Balis, who had no ties to his new boss, within the weight room.

Kelly went in the wrong way together with his offensive line trainer, changing Harry Hiestand — an intruder, because it have been — with Jeff Quinn, an established Kelly affiliate, following the 2017 season.

If Lengthy, Elko, Lea and Balis have been successes and Quinn has no longer been, the present knowledge is going, gained’t Rees tank as a result of he’s a Kelly man?

It makes for an ideal informal narrative, nevertheless it additionally suffers from a better drawback: Small pattern dimension.

As Wilson writes, “Rees would possibly paintings or he would possibly no longer paintings. A extra established title may are available in and fail. (What’s Matt Canada as much as at the moment?) The sport strikes briefly.”

We gained’t know until Rees is employed, which isn’t a walk in the park at this level. If he’s employed, you have been hostile to him and he fails, I’d believe you’ll revisit any such 3 arguments and remind everybody that you’re like cursed Cassandra. If he’s employed, you have been hostile to him and he succeeds, then, as Wilson says, you’ll without a doubt “benefit from the experience as Rees drives the offense to unheard of heights.”

My due to Brendan McAlinden for serving to me assemble the information and figures used on this publish. You’ll practice Brendan at @verypiratey on Twitter or right here.

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