Utah State head Coach Matt Wells has his hands full trying to find coordinators on both sides of the ball. Here is a look a few potential replacements for the departed Todd Orlando ( now DC at Houston) and Kevin McGiven (now QB Coach at Oregon State). Just a note before looking at these candidates their order is highly subjective, feel free to strongly disagree with it.
Good: Joe Lorig, Utah State LB Coach
Coach Lorig is entering just his second season with Utah State his experience makes him a great internal candidate. Lorig has 18 years coaching experience including eight as a defensive coordinator. As Lorig is already a member of the staff taking on the defensive coordinator role would hopefully be a smooth transition for this defense.
Better: Frank Maile, Vanderbilt DL Coach
Maile has spent 10 years at Utah State. Four as a player, Three as part of the strength staff, and the latest three as the defensive line coach. Maile was part of the defensive staff that began the string of strong defenses at USU. In his last season, the Aggies were ranked No. 1 in the Mountain West in eight defensive categories including total defense, rushing defense, and passing efficiency defense. Maile is a young coach with a strong track record and strong ties to USU.
Best: Kevin Clune, Hawaii DC
Clune, like Maile, has strong ties to Utah State. Prior to leaving for Hawaii Clune had spent the previous five seasons as the linebackers coach. During His last season, Clune helped coach an Aggie defense that allowed just 17.1 points per game to rank first in the MW and seventh in the nation. USU also ranked first in the MW and eighth in the nation in rushing defense (106.7 ypg), first in the MW and 12th in the nation in total defense (330.9 ypg), first in the MW and 15th in the nation in passing efficiency defense (113.2). Additionally Clune coached all-conference linebackers Bobby Wagner, Jake Doughty, Zach Vigil, and Kyler Fackrell (still at USU). Clune, who has only been at Hawaii for a year, seems like a perfect fit. Hopefully the Aggies can pull him away.
Bonus: Ed Orgeron, Previously of Ole Miss and USC
I know this might be way out there, but USU should at least put in a phone call. It's not unfeasible. He wants to coachand he has said he'd even be fine being a position coach. Interest in Coach Orgeron has seemed tepid across the country, with LSU thinking about contacting him about their need for a Defensive Line coach. He has coached great defenses and is a strong recruiter with deep ties to the south east. It's a stretch but not impossible, just highly improbable.
*OC candidates are less clear and more numerous than DC*
Honorable Mention: the following coaches have been connected or mentioned with the opening in some way: Brad Cornelsen, Quarterbacks Coach Memphis; Luke Wells, Co-OC Utah State; Bill Legg, Marshall OC; Tyson Helton, OC Western Kentucky; and Sterlin Gilbert, New hire as Co-OC at Tulsa
Good: Don Bailey, Idaho State Offensive Coordinator/ Quarterbacks Coach
Coach Bailey has turned Idaho State's offense around since arriving in 2011. Bailey has helped the Bengals set numerous offensive records, especially in the passing game. He has taken ISU's ppg from 15.6 in 2010 to 40.3 in 2014. Stats have seen vast improvement across the board since his arrival. Bailey has nearly 15 years coaching experience, all at the FCS level, and seems prime to make the jump to the next level.
Good: Zak Hill, Eastern Washington Quarterbacks Coach / Passing Game Coordinator
Zak Hill has had tremendous success at EWU. In 2014 the Eagles offense averaged an astounding 513.4 ypg and 44.1 ppg. Hill has helped lead EWU to conference championships and playoff appearances four of the last five years. A jump from FCS to FBS might be enough to bring Hill to Logan, despite having no ties to USU.
Great: Matt Lubick, Oregon WR Coach/ Passing Game Coordinator
Matt Lubick is a long shot for USU but one worth pursuing. Coach Lubick has done great work with receivers and offenses everywhere he has been most recently at Oregon and Duke. In 2012 Lubick was named the FootballScoop Wide Recievers Coach of the Year. This might be termed a risky move because of the lack of offensive coordinator experience, but Lubick has worked under some great offensive minds. While he has no ties to USU a chance to step out from behind Mark Helfrich and Scott Frost and into a coordinator position might be tempting.
Great: Josh Heupel, Former Oklahoma Co-Offensive Coordinator
Probably another long shot but Heupel does have ties to the state. He played at Weber State and Snow College, as well as had a scholarship offer from Utah State before heading to Oklahoma where he became a Heisman Trophy runner up. Heupel has been Quarterbacks coach since 2005 and co-OC since 2010. While Oklahoma did have some struggles this year they did finish 21st in points scored nationally at 36.4 ppg. I think this would be a really solid get if USU could make it happen.
Great: Charlie Stubbs, Former Nicholls State HC
Stubbs was a horrible head coach. Stubbs also has 30 years of coaching experience, the vast majority spent as offensive coordinator. Stubbs also worked extensively with quarterbacks and wide receivers. He does have ties to Coach Wells as both worked at Tulsa from 2002-06. Additionally Stubbs is a BYU alumni. The connections and experience of Stubbs would be an amazing addition to the Utah State.
Lastly, both University of Utah coordinators have been mentioned with the turmoil that is happening at the U but until things develop more I'm presuming they stay where they are. Again feel free to leave your opinion in the comments.
Since writting the article and posting it there has been a development on the search for an Offensive Coordinator:
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Could Josh Heupel be the next OC at USU? Have it confirmed he is here, Heupel was let go by Oklahoma, but has lot of connections to Utah</p>— Lya Wodraska (@LyaWodraska) <a href="https://twitter.com/LyaWodraska/status/552866570922246144">January 7, 2015</a></blockquote>
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As stated above Huepel was a great QB and has been a pretty good coach and coordinator. It's a really solid hire for Utah State if it happens.