Since the announcement broke that Dave Aranda would return as Baylor’s head coach in 2024 following significant “staff changes” on and off the field, what those changes might actually be has run the gamut from both coordinators being fired to something significantly less drastic. The latest report from Mike Craven at Dave Campbell’s Texas Football (DCTF) says offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes is definitely out, as the Bears want someone with “head coaching experience and an explosive offensive style,” while defensive coordinator Matt Powledge will remain on staff but in a diminished role, with Dave Aranda himself taking over defensive play-calling.
Starting with the offensive coordinator spot, that quote alone is pretty generic, all things considered, and could mean a pretty wide range of people. Craven’s piece throws out a few names—Matt Wells (former Tech coach), Dino Babers (former Syracuse coach fired a few days ago), Jake Spavital (former Texas State coach and current OC at Cal), and Sean Lewis (former Kent State coach and recently demoted OC at Colorado)—but there are a ton of other names that could also fit the description, like Dana Holgorsen, who lost his job at Houston earlier this very same day. It could even be our very own Shawn Bell, who has head coaching experience, albeit at Cedar Ridge High School. Until we know more, the only certainty is that it won’t be Jeff Grimes, who lasted 3 years as Baylor’s offensive coordinator. For my part, I would be very intrigued by Lewis, if we could swing him. I’m sure programs will be lined up to try.
On the defensive side, Aranda taking over play-calling duties but keeping Powledge probably makes the most sense in context but is hardly reassuring. As I noted earlier today, Baylor’s defense this season ranked 105th in defensive SP+, its worst rating in more than 20 years. There are, to be fair, bright young players to point at as a reason to believe improvement is possible, but unless there are additional changes on that side of the ball, I don’t see a lot of reason for optimism. It’s still very early in an hours-old restructuring process, though, so we’ll just have to see.
More on this as it develops. Right now we’re just talking about the highest non-Aranda roles in a revamped staff, but another thing to watch will be changes down the chain, particularly in recruiting-oriented roles.