Johnny decided to do the season in one word, but I don’t think you can describe this season in one word. CMA was at a disadvantage from the word go in my opinion due to his predecessor’s success and the way that he was hired. As with most things in life some of the criticism against CMA is fair and some of it is not. Unlike CMA, Thomas “Judas” Herman was a unanimously popular hire and came into what was really a perfect situation - NFL-level talent at multiple positions, a brand new league that was still feeling each other out in strategy, and the backend of a facilities boom that allowed him a platform to go big.
This is not an excuse for CMA to go 7-5 in year 1, which I believe is mildly disappointing despite the crowd who believe this is the worst season of all time. I expected at least 9-3 with this schedule and with the talent we have, no matter who we hired. The hurricane in combination with the QB shuffling gave us a roller coaster of a year. However, the people who believe CMA should be fired and can’t be a successful HC after only one year of evidence are ridiculous, and should be called out for their stupidity or purposeful message board flaming. One season is not enough to judge a coach by, this isn’t even up for argument. CMA did not walk into the same situation as Judas did two years earlier.
If you thought CMA’s hire was underwhelming, then you almost assuredly hated his hires for coordinators and position coaches, which means you most likely looked throughout the season for any excuse to prove your initial impressions correct. With the defense, CMD was night and day different from Orlando in strategy even though it was out of the same base 3-4 scheme. I loved CTO’s defense - it was exciting, aggressive, and effective. I understand the complaints about our current scheme under CMD - it is safe, boring, passive, but unlike what some posters have tried to falsely accuse, it is also deceptively effective. I do worry and wonder about the lack of pressure on opposing QBs and what will happen when Ed Oliver eventually moves on to the NFL. That is to be seen.
The offense was an unmitigated disaster, and even though CBJ was the play caller, it had CMA’s fingerprints all over it (I think the bowl game was verifiable evidence of that). The worst things about the offense are two fold: 1) it was predictable and 2) ineffective. I believe that CMA was a pretty good OC under Herman, but I think he needs to rethink what he wants his offensive philosophy to be as a HC. The Scott and Holman Pawdcast (if you haven’t listened to the latest episode, do it!) made a very effective argument that CMA needs to give up control of the offense and bring in an OC that will run his own style and plays. I agree with their assessment 100%. The constant QB shuffle and poor play calling cost us multiple games this season, in particular Tulsa and Tulane. A more consistent offense could have been the difference between the 7-4 season that we had and a possible 9-2 season. I think we can all agree if the team was 9-2, the discussion on this board would have been much different regardless of what happened in the bowl game.
In the end, CMA’s first year was underwhelming, but not a disaster. He made some hiring mistakes, some bad in-game decisions, and some poor personnel choices. I don’t think it puts him on the hot seat for next year despite the wailing and gnashing of teeth to the contrary.
However, with the schedule next year:
at Texas Tech
if we are sitting at 7-5 or 8-4 at the end of the season, then go ahead and start heating’ the burners up on the stove.