Thursday, December 01, 2005

Ron Prince ... who is he?

I live in the Kansas City area, as most of you know, and the big news story of the past two days is that Ron Prince is going to become the next head coach at Kansas State, replacing the legendary Bill Snyder. Since this impacts not only my geographic area, but also a key rival in the ACC (Prince is UVa's Offensive Coordinator) this is a story we've been paying close attention too.

For some more information on Prince, we went to the best UVa blogger on the 'net ... Ian over at Sexy Results! Since this is a breaking situation, huge thanks to Ian for his quick and detailed response.


In Ron Prince, the Kansas State Wildcats are getting a hell of an Offensive Line coach. He's made it through seemingly every level of college football, from JUCO to the Ivy League to the ACC. At UVA, he developed such prime talents as Heath Miller, Elton Brown and D'Brickashaw Ferguson. And as a 36-year old African-American, he'll probably be a prime candidate up for a small-time D-I coaching gig within the next decade. Wait a minute, K-State wants him to be the head coach NOW? Hoo boy.

A lot of things may have contributed to the low level of confidence that the average knowledgeable UVA fan has in Prince. Perhaps Al Groh put too many restraints on him. Maybe we were spoiled by the two years of Bill Musgrave's riverboat gambler/West Coast offense centered around the deadly accurate Matt Schaub. Or maybe we didn't have one of the ACC's most dynamic QB's, a trio of promising TE's, a possible #1 pick on the OL, an emerging WR corps, a bulldozing fullback, not to mention one of the school's all-time leading TD machines and a former 5-star recruit with 4.2 speed at RB. Wait, scratch that last possibility.

You saw that 7-5 game against UNC...or maybe you didn't. It's for the best. But anyways, not all of UVA's offensive performances were that atrocious, but it spoke to larger themes that have arisen under the Ron Prince regime; stultifyingly conservative playcalling, a failure to adjust, and most disturbingly, the tendency to tuck tail when a top-notch defense comes at us (see last year's FSU game, this year's VT game).

Whether that's Prince's scheme or just our talent, I don't know. Yes, he did oversee a UVA win against FSU when that actually meant something, but that was mostly Marques Hagans performing magic tricks on broken plays. The performance against GT this year was effective, but no play went for more than 20 yards, and the offense disappeared for two quarters. All in all, we'll remember Prince for running an offense with no real philosophy.

I really do wish Prince the best because having our assistants become candidates for jobs like this speaks well of the program. There's a rumor that Al Golden might be considered a front-runner in the Temple job, but that's another story. But really, KSU is probably the marquee job opening in the offseason, and it looks like the guy who administered what was, at best, the 5th most-feared offense in the ACC has the inside track. Jim Leavitt, on the other hand, created a legit BCS contender from scratch, literally. Not "Kansas State before Snyder" scratch, but "not having a football program at all" scratch. That's quite a Plan B.

I do imagine that Prince will have some success at KSU. He's spent time in Kansas, and the fact that he played JUCO and knows that scene will certainly help if KSU sticks to their M.O. And let's face it, he'll have all of the media's help, since no one wants to be the guy calling for the head of one of D-I's five African-American coaches, let alone a young, (seemingly) promising 36-year old.

But in the end, K-State, us at UVA thank you. Finding a new OC will be a task for sure, but I doubt anyone at UVA will say "Nothing Compares 2 U" in regards to THIS Prince.


Blogger Astronaut Mike Dexter said...

Well, I gotta say having a career O-line guy as head coach is certainly working out like gangbusters for Ole Miss. Seriously, Ian, you haven't seen cringeworthy offense until you've seen the Rebels march up and down the field (and by "up and down the field" I of course mean "three or four yards before inevitably punting").

My advice for 'Hoos, as a de facto lifelong UVA fan, is to grab Slick Rick Neuheisel as your next OC before he gets too chummy with the NFL.

2:02 PM  
Blogger Nathan said...

Heck no, I'm holding out hope we can rope him in down here in Atlanta. You think he couldn't get some points out of Ball, CJ and Choice?

Blah, Blah, NCAA violations, blah, blah

We're on probation already, the guy won't be the head coach and he can flat coach offensive football (and chum it up with HS coaches). Of course, it makes sense, so we'll never do it.

2:08 PM  
Blogger Ian said...

In regards to Ole Miss, the best part about this is the possibility of The Orgeron no longer being the least qualified coach in the BCS conferences.

You pretty much read my mind about hiring Neuheisel, but there's NO WAY that UVA grabs him. Even if he did get busted for a tourney pool, UVA's big on the Honor Code and whatnot. You remember Bryson Spinner? Probably not- he started some in the 2001 season, but transferred to Richmond because it was rumored that he might've been one of those 200 people that cheated on a joke Physics class exam, and he got out before being brought before the Honor Council. You thought turning down the Champs Sports Bowl because of Finals was bad; imagine booting your starting QB for that.

3:45 PM  

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