Early Friday morning, Miami head coach Mario Cristobal and the athletic department announced that they were parting ways with offensive coordinator Josh Mattis after one season in the role.
The move is of no shock to those close to the program, as its been rumored all month that the Hurricanes would be shaking up the offensive staff after a drastically disappointing season in which (subtracting the Bethune-Cookman game) the Canes offense averaged less than 20 points per game. The team fought plenty of injuries, but the dramatic regression was still shocking to witness.
Gattis also operated as the wide receivers coach, and quarterbacks coach Frank Ponce left the program last week to go back to Appalachian State to become the offensive coordinator. My expectation is the new offensive coordinator will double as quarterback coach while Cristobal finds a wide receiver coach separately.
Here are a handful of names to know for the Canes opening:
1 – Marcus Arroyo (Free Agent)
Arroyo was recently fired as the head coach at UNLV, but before his stint in Las Vegas, Arroyo worked on staff under Cristobal at Oregon in a variety of roles. He was co-OC with Cristobal under Willie Taggert before taking sole ownership of the spot when Cristobal was hired when Taggert left for Florida State. During his three seasons in Eugene, Arroyo doubled as both a quarterback coach and tight end coach at times. In all three seasons, Oregon ranked in the top 25 nationally in points per game (36, 34.8, and 35.4 respectively).
Arroyo comes with the benefit of having worked closely with Cristobal and currently being free of contract, but a few questions will still remain. There is plenty of questions about the way in which current NFL star Justin Herbert was used during this time at Oregon, as the Ducks refrained from throwing the ball as much as they probably should have. Another note, Arroyo has been coaching since 2003 and has mostly been a west coast coach. Could he find success as a recruiter in South Florida?
2 – James Coley (Texas A&M Wide Receivers)
Coley is another name that has instantly gotten attention for the opening from media. A long time Florida assistant coach, Coley was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for Cristobal at Florida International back in 2007. Since then, Coley has made stops at Florida State, Miami, and Georgia as an offensive coordinator and is currently the wide receiver coach at Texas A&M. Coley is noted as an exception recruiter, something that surely fits what Cristobal is looking in a coach.
The downside of Coley is that his offenses were rarely ever as explosive as a Hurricanes squad should look like, which is why he’s both sought after for coaching staffs but not so much for offensive coordinator. He was replaced at Georgia after 2019, a move that set the Bulldogs up to win back-to-back National Championships, and in his three seasons under Al Golden as offensive coordinator, the offense went from 33rd to 62nd to 71st in scoring offense before he left. I could see Cristobal attempting to poach Coley for the same position on the Canes, but I’m not sure he’ll be favored to run the offense.
3 – Jake Peetz (Los Angeles Rams Offensive Assistant)
Peetz is one of the more intriguing names in the candidate pool for the Hurricanes. Peetz has made plenty of stops across both the college and NFL landscape since he became a coach in 2006, making notable stops at Alabama twice under Nick Saban as an analyst, as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for LSU in 2021, and currently coaching under Sean McVay in Los Angeles (his second stint working under McVay). Its been noted by David Lake of 247Sports ‘Inside the U’ that Cristobal has long been keen of McVay’s offense, with current (and former) Kentucky offensive coordinator Liam Coen considered for the job last offseason. Back in November, he was slated to take a job as quarterbacks coach under Matt Rhule at Nebraska before deciding to stay in the NFL. Would an upgrade to offensive coordinator be able to sway him across the country?
Peetz single stop at LSU wasn’t great. The Tigers averaged just 26.5 points in 2021, ranking 80th nationally, though Max Johnson had a fairly decent season at quarterback. Peetz overall inexperience as a play caller or coordinator may hold him back from being *the* guy for this opportunity, though.
4 – Scott Frost (Free Agent)
Yeah, we’re going there. Frost was fired early in the 2022 season after it was clear he wasn’t turning around the Nebraska program. That said, his experience as an assistant brings plenty to like for Miami fans. He originally coached offense under Chip Kelly at Oregon as a wide receiver coach before moving to offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, a move notable because this was during the Marcus Mariota years. Oregon finished top six in scoring and yards nationally all three seasons as offensive coordinator in Eugene. At UCF, he again coached high powered offenses and, as everybody knows, won a National Championship.
Frosts tenure at Nebraska will obviously turn people off because we live in a recency bias world, but his acumen as an offensive coach has plenty of pluses on the résumé from stops at Oregon and UCF. At Miami, he should have plenty of access to elite athletes that he’s thrived with at those stops. The biggest question is whether Frost wants to coach in 2023. Much like coaches before him, Frost could opt to sit out the season and re-enter the carousel next season when openings begin.
5 – Joe Brady (Buffalo Bills Quarterbacks)
There isn’t a name that pops up in offensive coordinator openings more than Joe Brady. The young assistant caught national attention while working under Ed Orgeron for the legendary 2019 LSU Tigers team that seemingly scored at will against every opponent. After that season, he left for the NFL to head the offense under Matt Rhule in Carolina before being fired. While this move turned some people off of Brady, its hard to put a lot of it on him as the Panthers had seemingly decided against finding a quarterback that wasn’t a castoff or XFL starter. He then caught on as the Bills quarterback coach after Ken Dorsey moved up to offensive coordinator role.
Brady was interviewed last offseason for the role, and while it’s been noted that he seems to want to stick in the NFL, money ultimately talks and he is a Miami native. Another key note is that he’s been tied heavily to the Los Angeles Chargers offensive coordinator job this offseason, and he would obviously take that before heading back to the college ranks.