If you read Peter's post early today, you knew already that Baylor would likely be in the market for a new offensive coordinator due to the prospect of current (and longtime) QB coach and offensive coordinator Phillip Montgomery taking the head coaching job at Tulsa. After a few hours of waiting during which I assume the parties haggled a deal basically already done, the Tulsa World is reporting that he will indeed depart for our neighbors to the north. Thus ends a professional relationship nearly two decades in the making between Montgomery and Briles, who will now have to replace one of his most trusted assistants.
I don't want anyone to get me wrong on this-- I could not be happier for Phil Montgomery. He's been a huge part of Baylor's success the last few years, both as a mentor to Robert Griffin III, Nick Florence, and Bryce Petty and as a play-caller, a role he assumed three years ago. We will dearly miss his contributions to the team on and off the field, I'm sure. I'd be lying, however, if I said I wasn't somewhat intrigued by the prospect of Briles making a new hire on the offensive side, something we've only seen him do once (when Dino Babers left for Eastern Illinois*) in the last few years.
*When this happened, Kendal Briles went from RBs to WRs and Jeff Lebby from a GA role to RBs, in case you were curious.
As to the former, though we can't know for sure where Briles will look to fill our new vacancy, we can probably make a few educated suppositions. First, it seems likely to the point of assumption that Randy Clements (OL and running game coordinator) or Kendal Briles (WRs, passing game coordinator, and recruiting coordinator) will be elevated to the nominal role of OC, maybe even both since co- style arrangements are all the rage these days. If it's Clements, I'd expect that he remains as the OL coach given his success there and we just hire a new QB coach, possibly from the high school or former player ranks. If it's Briles (or they decide that OC/Recruiting/WR is too much), you may see them bring in someone else to work with the WRs again (maybe a GA already on staff that caught an auspicious pass in our history against a bitter rival?). If that's the choice, you might see Briles work more directly with QBs again. No matter what, how Baylor handles this will be something to watch. As I've said several places, now might be exactly the right time to bring in some new blood from the high school ranks, both to help recruiting and keep our offense moving in the right direction.
Something else to consider that may throw a wrench into all this is who Montgomery takes with him to Tulsa. I'd be shocked if either Clements or KB goes simply because of their connections to Briles and potential roles in Montgomery's absence, but it's possible. Much more likely, I think, is that graduate assistants could find higher roles in the Montgomery regime in Tulsa, so we might have some replacing to do there. Montgomery will also need a defensive staff, as well, so we might see some movement there. I don't want to speculate too much without knowing basically anything at all, so I won't.
The bottom line for all this is that with Baylor's success, rising assistants leaving was basically inevitable. In fact, it's a borderline miracle and testament to the atmosphere Briles has created within his staff that we haven't seen more to date. Now we get to see how the Big 12 Champion Baylor Bears respond to a little potential adversity, and how our head coach fills a staff with a Montgomery-sized hole at OC.
UPDATE: Tulsa has confirmed.
UPDATE #2: Since a lot of people have asked-- no, I do not expect Montgomery to coach the bowl game. He's got a coaching staff to build and recruiting to do with about 7-8 weeks left before National Signing Day.
Good luck, Coach Montgomery! Thank you for everything!