Editor's note: this is not the consensus opinion of the staff, and we will be profiling many other candidates.
Yesterday, I wrote about the fact that, no matter what, Miami has to get this hire right. And, Jerry wrote about how Rob Chudzinski should be the next coach for the Hurricanes.
But, I'm here to tell you that Jerry is right that we should go after an offensive minded coach, he's just wrong about which offensive minded coach we should hire.
Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to the man with the plan, the right man for the job. The next coach of the Miami Hurricanes should be Justin Fuente.
Getting to know Fuente
I know a lot of you might be reading this like "WHO?!?!?!?". So, allow me to give you a bit of background on Justin Fuente.
- He's currently the coach at Memphis
- The Tigers won the Conference USA championship last year in Fuente's 3rd season as coach.
- He's young for a coach at 39 years old.
- He played QB at Oklahoma and Murray State. And, who recruited him to Oklahoma? Howard Schnellenberger, that's who. (It was Schnellenberger's only season at OU. Yeah, I had to look that up, too).
- Obviously and offensive minded coach, Fuente held offensive assistant positions at Illinois State and TCU before being hired as Memphis' Head Coach.
- Fuente turned Memphis from bottom feeders (finishing 4th and 9th in Conference USA in his first 2 years) into a powerhouse, currently sitting 7-0 and atop their conference.
- The Memphis offense is EXPLOSIVE. They're currently 3rd in the nation averaging 48.6 points per game, and 6th in the nation averaging 557.3 yards per game.
First and foremost, Fuente is an outstanding offensive coach. I know that OC James Coley has done some good things, particularly with his recruiting and development of franchise QB Brad Kaaya, but Fuente's offense is fast-paced, dynamic and explosive. His team is putting up nearly 49 points and 560 yards of offense with 2- and 3-star recruits. Imagine him with Miami level talent. Wooo, buddy.
Second, Fuente's player development program is very strong. Again, look at what he's doing with Memphis, a traditional doormat prior to his arrival. Miami prides itself on developing top talents for college who progress to the NFL and dominate.
Third, Fuente runs a clean program. Yes, that's a positive. Yes, that matters. His players play with an edge. His players play fast and are playing well. But, his players don't cause problems in the community, they don't get in trouble with the law, and that is something that is definitely a positive for this program.
Lastly, he's a new face. Michigan hit it big with bringing in a "Michigan man" to run their program, but Miami has never been a program where we bring in former players or coaches to be THE HEAD COACH. Miami has always found new talents, new coaches, new faces to take the Canes to the next level of performance and achievement. Fuente is the next in a long line of "new" coaching faces who would lead Miami into a new era.
Age/experience. Fuente is one of the youngest coaches at the FBS level at 39. He's only in his 4th year as a head coach, so he doesn't have a ton of experience in this position. It's a blessing and a curse. I said he'd be a nice face to lead Miami forward, but he's also a younger coach who doesn't have a long track record of success. And, that could potentially work against him.
The Defense. I'm going to try to put this mildly, but, uh.....Memphis' defense is BAD. Maybe that's a function of the system Fuente runs on offense, but no matter the reason, there's much to be desired from that side of the ball. And, with the things we've seen from the Miami defense recently (oh, look...Clemson just scored again), that is something that would most definitely need to be addressed.
Conference USA. Look, Memphis is doing some great things now, but they aren't exactly playing great teams every week. And, before you say "they beat Ole Miss", I know. But, that could have been an outlier performance where everything fell in the right place. Fuente is doing great things, but against middling competition at best. Is he ready to step up to the ACC?
Lack of connection to South Florida. To build a winning program, you have to be able to recruit. And, to build a winning program at Miami, you have to recruit South Florida and recruit it well. Fuente is largely an outsider, having never worked in South Florida like some other candidates who I'm sure we'll evaluate. Fuente has done a great job recruiting to Memphis, no easy task to be sure, but recruiting in South Florida is a different beast. And, as an outsider, he'd have a steep learning curve to get up to speed.
Justin Fuente isn't the most well-known name that will be bandied about in one of these pieces, but he's young, he's dynamic, and he's just starting to come into his own. He would bring a much-needed infusion of energy into a program that sorely needs it, and his offense would be a thing of beauty to watch.
Fuente is not the safe pick. Fuente is not the pick who fits the mold of what Miami has been.
Fuente is the daring pick. Fuente is the pick who can lead Miami into the future.
Fuente is the right pick.
And that's why Memphis Tigers coach Justin Fuente should be the next coach of the Miami Hurricanes.
Stay tuned for more articles on potential candidates for the position in 2016, right here on SOTU. Feel free to leave plenty of comments below on who you think should be the next Hurricanes Head Coach.