This is a weekly post where we will discuss a “what if?” in Baylor Athletics history. These what ifs could include good or bad scenarios, such as changing the outcome of a game, or stopping someone from declaring for the draft early, or reversing an injury among many other possibilities. Some weeks, the hypothetical will be grounded in reality. Other weeks, it will be a little more cartoonish.
With football season upon us, Bears fans are looking forward to the beginning of the Matt Rhule era. I, like many others, am absolutely ecstatic about Rhule’s hire and think he is the perfect fit for the program. But what if Rhule had gone to Oregon over Baylor? What if Baylor had exhausted its top 25 list, maybe its top 50 list, heck maybe even its top 100 list? What if they decided to call upon one of the best coaches in Baylor Athletics history to fill the void? No, I’m not talking about Grant Teaff. I’m talking about Baylor Basketball coach Scott Drew.
Yes, a basketball coach being hired as a football coach is a pretty ludicrous idea. But, if there is one basketball coach in the country that I think could transition to being a football coach, it’d have to be Scott Drew.
Here’s my reasoning:
1. Scott Drew has already shown he knows how to produce NFL level football talent in Dallas Cowboys’ Rico Gathers. Rico Gathers has been lighting it up in the preseason and looks to be on his way to the beginnings of a very successful NFL career.
2. Scott Drew has shown this ability to develop football talent once again in Ishmail Wainright, currently listed as Baylor Football’s #2 tight end.
3. Even beyond football talent, Scott Drew has demonstrated time and time again that he can turn lanky, undersized big men into bulky monsters in the paint (Jonathan Motley, Corey Jefferson, etc.)
4. Scott Drew handled a scandal situation extremely well before when he took over the Baylor Basketball program following Dave Bliss’ scandal.
5. Scott Drew never played collegiate basketball but was able to learn the game very well, what’s to say he couldn’t do the same for football?
6. Any gaps in his football knowledge and expertise could readily be filled in by his coordinator hires.
Which brings me to my next question: What type of offensive and defensive schemes would Drew run as a football coach and what potential coordinator hires would fit his setup?
If his basketball style is any indication, Drew’s defense would be extremely zone heavy. Scott Drew’s 1-3-1 zone defense is definitely his calling card in the college basketball circuit. One realistic candidate for defensive coordinator could be Michigan’s secondary coach, Mike Zordich. Zordich helped implement a new zone defensive scheme with the Michigan Wolverines this last season to great effect. He also played for 11 years in the NFL, giving him great football experience to pair with Drew’s likely inexperience.
Offensively, Drew likes his teams to be deliberate and get good looks on the inside or wide open deep shots. Translating this to football would mean a team that slows down the pace of the game with a lot of inside run plays mixed with deep, play action passes once the opposing secondary has been lulled to sleep. For this style of play, Iowa’s quarterbacks coach Ken O’Keefe would be a great fit as offensive coordinator. He served as Iowa’s offensive coordinator from 1999-2011 before moving on to the Dolphins’ coaching staff. He then returned as Iowa’s quarterbacks coach. O’Keefe knows how to slow it down, pound the rock inside with big men, then setup a play action pass for big chunks of yardage.
Needless to say, if these are the styles Scott Drew would bring to a football coaching position, Baylor would look a lot different than in years past. It’s impossible to tell how this type of scheme would manage in the Big 12 which is almost entirely about quick offense. Kansas State is the closest to this style and they’ve had a lot of success with their scheme, operating with talent levels lower than a lot of their conferences foes.
Finally, this “what if” leaves one question unanswered. Who would fill Scott Drew’s shoes on the basketball team? I hear Bryce Drew is doing great things at Vanderbilt. #DrewDynasty
Have another “what if” you want explored in the coming weeks? Disagree with any of my analysis? Let me know in the comments!