At this point in time, you've already read Dan's take on why G.A. Magnus could be a realistic option for Penn State's offensive coordinator opening, and Bill's treatise on the offensive genius of one Bob Stitt. In a different direction, today we'll profile an up and coming coordinator of a non-power 5 FBS program, albeit a coach with Big Ten ties: Bowling Green's Co-Offensive Coordinator and Quarterbacks coach, Sean Lewis.
Lewis has spent two years at Bowling Green, and this was his first year in his current role; last season, he coached wide receivers for the Falcons. In the first year under his co-coordinator role, BG has put up some pretty damn impressive numbers: they're currently #4 in total offense in the nation, with an average of 561 yards per game, and are #3 in passing (376.1 ypg), #50 in rushing (184.9 ypg), #10 in passing efficiency (164.8) and #5 in scoring offense, putting up an average of 43.4 points per game.
They're also averaging 51% of their third down conversions, good for the fifth best third down conversion rate in the nation--and the Falcons offense has had the most first downs of any offense in the nation, which means they're not just getting chunk yardage--they're methodically plodding down the field, getting chunk yardage rather than big plays to put the ball in the end zone.
The Falcons are getting it done on offense because their defense isn't great, but the offense has been the name of the game for them this year--and it's carried them to a MAC championship and a 10-3 record, including wins over Purdue and Maryland, the latter of which was a complete blowout of the home team (to the tune of 48-27) in College Park.
And before Lewis took over as co-coordinator alongside Mike Lynch, the Falcons were okay but not this great under Dino Babers, who was just announced as Syracuse's new head coach this weekend, averaging around 100 yards per game less in 2014 than in 2015 with a similar rushing attack but ten fewer points per game and 100 yards less in the air.
Bowling Green's offense under Lewis and Lynch is, by most accounts, very similar to Baylor's offense--they've modeled it almost exactly after Art and Kendall Briles' attack. And though they've gotten it done through the air, the intent is to be balanced in the playcalling by running as much as passing, if not more. They've also adapted their offense to the opposing defenses they will face in the MAC, modifying the Baylor-style attack to more fit the talent level they have and they will face (and thus be able to exploit) week in and week out.
Lewis knows a good running attack, even if his history has been with the passing game. He played Tight End at Wisconsin under Barry Alvarez, where he went 2-1 against Penn State and was a two-time Academic All-Big Ten player. After graduation, he spent two years at his high school alma matter in Illinois, then one year at Nebraska Omaha (coaching the position he played) and a year as a GA with the Akron program. He's been with Babers ever since, coaching the wide receivers at Eastern Illinois, then following him to Bowling Green.
A versatile coach, in addition to the coordinator position, Lewis could run the tight end, wide receiver, or quarterback groups, having spent time coaching all three of those positions, freeing James Franklin up to shift around priorities on his staff--or keeping things how they were, and simply plugging in an exact replacement for the departing John Donovan.
Lewis obviously doesn't have the experience as many other names on Franklin's, or BSD's, short list, but he does have the drive, the excitement and the Big Ten pedigree--as well as an explosive offensive mindset. He would be a slightly risky hire, but would fit in well with a staff of mostly younger, up and coming coaches, and would be traditional in the sense that a higher level program is the next step up after coaching up a successful offense at a mid-tier FBS school.
With Babers now out, Lewis is ripe for the taking--if he doesn't follow his current coach up to the Carrier Dome.