It’s interesting how sometimes things that don’t seem like they should go together really work well in tandem. This is especially interesting when discussing college football coaches. Often times a head coach will have an offensive and defensive philosophy they operate under, and they then hire assistants who fit that mold.
So, it was a bit of a shock when new University of Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema hired Jim Chaney as his new offensive coordinator. Bielema is known for his physical, punishing running game, however, Chaney’s resume reads a little different.
Most recently Chaney ran the offense at the University of Tennessee and during his tenure the Volunteers were a very balanced offense with a potent passing game and pro style run game. I understand some of this was dictated by the players on the roster, which shows Chaney can be flexible. If you go back a little further, Chaney was an assistant in the NFL with the St. Louis Rams. The Rams ran a much more run oriented system, and you saw that influence when he showed up at Tennessee.
If you go back a little further in Chaney’s career he was the offensive coordinator at the University of Purdue and orchestrated its high powered spread passing game. So, as you can see Chaney has done an excellent job tailoring his offense to the personnel he has.
What does that mean for the Razorbacks? I still expect with the talent this team has at running back Chaney will work in plenty of run sets. But the Razorbacks have a real talent at quarterback in Brandon Allen. He’s got a real live arm, and is an excellent runner as well. Chaney could use a player like Allen to create a spread offense that creates lanes for running backs and elements of the zone read in the pass and run game.
The future of the Razorbacks offense appears to be in very good hands with Chaney and Arkansas fans should be looking very forward to what he’s going to show them this Spring.