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Recruiting Skills, Play Calling Skills, Bow Hunting Skills

I remain baffled by what happened at Boston College over the past two weeks.  I think I understand the point, that BC and their AD demand loyalty, but have they ever read the sports section of a newspaper? 

Besides the inter-school shuffle, when you hire a talented coach to lead your college football team, inquiries from professional teams kind of come with the territory.  If they didn't come, you probably don't have a great coach.  Or he's 82.

So when MGoBlog tore down a ridiculous argument from one of CBS Sportsline's finest, a comment after the post stuck with me:

What BC did sounds like good business to older folk, but it's this kind of thinking that is dooming those peoples' businesses.

So while BC is busy turning themselves into the GM of football programs, other schools are realizing that lifetime contracts, and more specifically, lifetime commitments, are going to be a very rare thing these days.

This all brings us back to Larry Johnson Sr, whose fate we will likely find out this week.  Paterno's staff has been incredibly resistant to shuffling, so I can understand the somewhat dramatic tone people have used to talk about this potential loss.  The truth is it's probably all for the better good.

In fact, the one thing that does worry me about the eventual Next Penn State Football Coach is the possibility that they will have zero exposure to the outside.  It's important.  Looking at some of the more successful active coaches in NCAA football, one thing becomes apparent.

Team Coach Experience
USC Pete Carroll Worked at 5 different colleges and 5 pro teams, held three HC positions and worked as OC and DC in college.
Urban Meyer Worked at 7 different colleges in 7 different "leagues", worked as a HC at 3 different schools.
Ohio State Jim Tressel Worked two HC jobs in two different divisions.
Oklahoma Bob Stoops Worked for three different schools, worked or played in three BCS conferences.
Alabama Nick Saban Worked for 10 different colleges and 3 pro teams, has been a HC at four different places, both pro and college.

Interesting, right?  Tressel has worked just two places and is probably the only person you could legitimately call a "company man".   Stoops is also lightly traveled (relatively) but has seen quite a lot of different kinds of football.

The other three guys are true journey men, picking up contacts, experience and system exposure at a combined 30 different places.  It's probably no coincidence that they've become successful both in their conferences and nationally against teams they don't often play against.  (This is at least another theory as to why Tressel seems so inept against non-Big Ten teams.)

So if the Post-Paterno Age is going to start with an in-house bump up, which I'm not necessarily against, I think filling out the staff with experienced people is important.  It's happening in the real world, with companies like Google and P&G swapping employees because of the potential benefit; these workers will enter into a new network and be able to apply business processes that their new employer isn't aware of.  It all leads to progress and improvement.  There is no reason why this concept shouldn't be applied to football.

Coaches who move around learn new skills and become better at what they do, and teams that hire more experienced people will probably win more often. It's really that simple. There is definitely something to be said for loyalty, it promotes unity and might help recruiting, but it also means your program is standing still while others are adapting to the ever changing environment.

LJSR may go, but if this actually happens the real concern is not his loss but rather his replacement.  It's a rare chance to bring fresh air into the Lasch Building; I'm under the impression the smart move would be to take advantage.