In a somewhat odd, and relatively lateral move, Doug Meacham has left TCU to become the offensive coordinator at Kansas. It’s led to a lot of speculation about why he left and what the offensive staff is going to look like. Let’s answer some of the basics, then get into the rest of this stuff.
First - there seems to be some confusion about the hierarchy these past two seasons between Meacham and Cumbie. Meacham was the play-caller and wide receivers coach. He was the OC down on the field. Cumbie was the co-OC and quarterbacks coach, and he sat up in the booth. From there, he was able to call down defensive formations and suggestions to Meacham. Ultimately, though, Meacham was at the top of the food chain.
Second - Patterson made it clear in his statement that he wanted Meacham to stick around. He said, “We did not want to lose Doug Meacham, but he had to do what’s best for his family,” as a part of a written statement released after the move had been announced. We can do quite a bit with a statement this. We can, first and foremost, take Patterson at his word, and note that it was Patterson’s philosophical shift that lead to the hiring of Meacham in the first place.
Or, we could say that “Patterson has to say that because PC,” and whisper about how they weren’t getting along, or about how Patterson wanted to see the Frogs run the ball more, or any other speculation.
Lastly, we could take that statement and do both of the above. We know that sometimes co-workers (or in this instance a boss/subordinate) don’t get along, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they want to see one or the other leave for a new gig.
I’m currently in the third category, myself. Why? Because we know that Patterson wants to run the ball more. He said so himself after a 31-6 loss to Oklahoma State this season.
“We got our butts kicked, and I’m not just talking about the players,” Patterson said after the game. “It’s our job as coaches to find the answers. Shoot, maybe we’ll be changing offenses again. Got to be able to run the football.”
But wanting to run the ball more and wanting Meacham to stay aren’t mutually exclusive positions to hold. A person can hold both simultaneously, as I do this very moment.
In reality, though, that’s neither here nor there, because Meacham is now at Kansas, which means there will be some shuffling of the offensive staff. Here’s what we can expect to happen.
Sonny Cumbie will assume play-calling duties, on top of his quaterback coaching and recruiting responsibilities. It’s also likely that Curtis Luper will see and expanded role, and there have been suggestions made that he could even receive a “co-OC” title bump.
Luper is one of TCU’s best recruiters, and is currently the running backs coach. It’s important to hold on to a recruiter like him, obviously, and giving him a bigger voice in the room is one way to do that. It also makes sense for Patterson to give the running backs coach a bigger voice in the room, if he truly does want to run the ball more.
That being said, don’t expect a massive deviation from the play-calling with Cumbie at the helm, although there may be a slight increase in the ground game.
Of course, with Meacham gone it means TCU needs to bring in a new wide receivers coach. Cumbie will have a big influence in that decision, and we should hear soon who it will be.
We’ll have more on the coaching shuffle in the coming days, as information comes to light.