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Berry Tramel: Kevin Wilson will be missed at OU

New Indiana coach has thrived in a high-pressure situation as Sooners' offensive coordinator
by Berry Tramel Modified: December 8, 2010 at 1:33 pm •  Published: December 7, 2010

The Oklahoma offensive coordinator job is a punching bag.

It's also a launching pad, which explains why Kevin Wilson was introduced Tuesday as Indiana's new football coach.

Fourteen coaches have held the title of OU offensive coordinator since 1966, when the position became in vogue. Twelve of the 14 have become major-college head coaches.

Not bad for a bunch of guys whose names often are followed by, “the bum.”

Wilson, Chuck Long, Mark Mangino, Jim Donnan, Galen Hall. Sooner history is littered with offensive coordinators who won championships but drew the ire of fans short on memory and football acumen.

Offensive coordinators are easy fall guys. Lose a game, fans lose their patience. Lose two games, fans lose their sanity. Such belief claims that football is like playing Battleship, some sort of guessing game trying to outfox the foe via play-calling.

That's silly, of course. Offensive coordination is about implementing an offense that fits your personnel and implementing a weekly game plan that takes advantage of opponent weakness. Play calling is fun to critique but way overrated.

Make no mistake. Wilson will be missed. He had a fantastic temperament, a creative football mind and the ability to adjust.

Wilson's offenses won four Big 12 titles in five seasons, with three different quarterbacks and at least that many styles of attacks.

Wilson won with a power-I offense in 2006 despite a starting quarterback moved from receiver on Aug. 1 and the loss of Adrian Peterson that October. Wilson won with Sam Bradford and an NFL offensive line, in 2007 by huddling and in 2008 by not huddling. And Wilson won this autumn with a sideways passing game.

Wilson's offenses almost always improved through the season. Whoever Bob Stoops names to replace Wilson — Josh Heupel? Jay Norvell? — probably will do just fine, but Wilson's standard will be difficult to match.

Open Mike: Why the Colts love Kevin Wilson Blog: Kevin Wilson should coach the bowl game Carlson: Kevin Wilson was honest to the end

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by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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The OU launching pad

Offensive coordinator became a staff position at OU in 1966. Since then, 12 of the 14 coaches who have held that title have gone to become major-college head coaches:

1966: Homer Rice (Cincinnati 1967-68, 9-10-1 record)

1967-72: Barry Switzer (Oklahoma 1973-88, 157-29-4)

1973-83: Galen Hall (Florida 1984-89, 40-18-1)

1984: Mack Brown (Tulane 1985-87, 11-23; North Carolina 1988-97, 69-46-1; Texas 1998-10, 133-34)

1985-89: Jim Donnan (Marshall 1990-95, 64-21; Georgia 1996-00, 40-19)

1990-92: Larry Coker (Miami 2001-06, 60-15)

1993-94: Watson Brown (Alabama-Birmingham 1995-06, 62-74)

1995: Gary Nord (Texas-El Paso 2000-03, 14-34)

1996-97: Dick Winder

1998: Joe Dickinson

1999: Mike Leach (Texas Tech 2000-09, 84-43)

2000-01: Mark Mangino (Kansas 2002-09, 50-48)

2002-05: Chuck Long (San Diego State 2006-08, 9-27)

2006-10: Kevin Wilson (Indiana 2011).


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