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The Jason Candle to Miami as OC rumors are heating up

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There’s a rumor floating on Football Scoop that Jason Candle could be Miami’s next OC.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 11 Toledo at Notre Dame Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Jason Candle has been rumored to be the next offensive coordinator at the University of Miami. The 42 year old Candle grew up in Ohio, and won two Division III National Championships as a member of the Mount Union Purple Raiders.

After two season of playing at Mount Union, Candle served as a wide receiver coach from 2003-2006, and the OC from 2007-2008. Before the 2009 season, Candle moved on to Toledo and became the Rockets tight ends coach under Tim Salem.

Candle has been a fast-riser through the coaching ranks like many other Mount Union former players. From 2010-2011, Candle coached the WR’s. From 2012-2015, he was the offensive coordinator and was promoted to head coach before the Boca Raton Bowl to end the 2015 season.

In six seasons as the full-time head coach of the Rockets Candle’s squads have made and lost four bowl games. The Rockets best season under Candle came in 2017, when Toledo finished 11-3, including 7-1 in the MAC. His overall coaching record is 45-27 (30-16 in the MAC).

So the $1M question- why would Candle leave a Group of 5 head coaching job for an OC position? Toledo has gotten stale as of late and with the changing culture of the college football landscape, it makes sense for him to come down and learn under Mario Cristobal before chasing after a Power 5 head coaching position.

I’m sure Candle saw the rub The U gave to Rhett Lashlee, and seeing Tyler Van Dyke knows that he could be in Coral Gables for two seasons and moving on to something much bigger and better than Toledo.


The Doppler

Under Candle, the Toledo offenses have been ranked above the G5 level (65th or better) in all but one season per Bill Connelly’s SP+. In Points Per Game, Toledo ranked in the top-25 in all but four seasons of the past 10. The Rockets offense hasn’t been as efficient with Coach Candle as head coach instead of just OC, but they’re scoring more points.


Personnel

Toledo uses 11 personnel (one running back, one tight end) as their base offense. The tight end isn’t a huge part of the passing game, having accounted for only three touchdowns and 16 receptions between Drew Rosi and Jamal Turner in 2021.

The Rockets love three to five wide receiver sets and continue to run the football with both a feature back and the quarterback. Even with a ‘spread mentality’ RB Bryant Koback ran for 1,407 yards and 15 TD’s on 6.8 yards per carry. QB DeQuan Finn added another 502 yards and nine scores on the ground.

Finn averaged 8.3 yards per pass attempt with 18 TD’s and only two interceptions in ‘21. Over the past three seasons, Toledo has had a receiver with 19+ yards per catch average in each season, plus two 1,00 yard rushing seasons (the Rockets only played six games in ‘20).

The Rockets have adapted their offense to fit their skillset, but have always seemed to have a big time deep threat in the rotation.


Recruiting

While being from Ohio, Jason Candle has done a tremendous job of recruiting Florida and South Florida specifically. Of his top five signees on 247 Sports, four are from Florida including four-star WR James Green in 2010.

In order to continue to keep the Florida pipeline fresh, Candle hired former Tampa Plant head coach Robert Weiner, and former Miami Hurricanes wide receiver and assistant coach Kevin Beard. Candle had also hired former Miami assistant Craig Kuligowski as his co-defensive coordinator.

Candle’s Rockets have done a good job in recruiting Ohio and Michigan, as they should, but also Florida, North Carolina and Virginia.


The offense vs. NIU ‘21

At times, Jason Candle the head coach made some questionable decisions. The situational Football IQ of his teams would leave a lot to be desired. Whether it was clock management, timeouts, or even which plays to call from where when you’re on a certain down and distance. Candle definitely was a ‘ride or die’ type on the explosive plays.

Above- You can see a 4th and 2, and Candle let’s it rip with a slant-wheel combo. Is it open? Hell yeah. Is that a high percentage effort both in pass pro and in completion percentage? No. And at the -45 instead of the +45, that’s a much riskier call.

Above- 2nd and 11, a nice easy curl right at the 1st down marker. They add in a nice influx of yards after catch and turn this into an explosive. When you take deep shots enough the intermediate game can open up. Rhett Lashlee, Phil Longo and Candle are cut from that cloth.

Above- Speaking of that Lashlee cloth, Candle uses a direct snap with G-H counter pulling for a big TD run before the half.

Above- I love a good screen. With Miami’s RB’s like Jaylan Knighton, a screen should be a money play. Tyler Van Dyke loves throwing from different arm slots which really helps on screens.

Above- Candle likes to pull linemen in order to get more blockers at the point of attack than defenders. This is an outside zone path with the WR coming inside to crack the LB.

Above- It’s 4th and 6, your side of the field at the +34. Toledo chooses a one-read tunnel screen off of bullet motion. It seems bizarre that your two best plays on 4th and 2 and 6 are a slant-wheel and a tunnel screen.

Above- Motion. Play-action. A pulling lineman on a pass play. Slant-wheel again. A lot of things that I like in an offensive play, especially on 2nd and 5, are here. I feel like this is in the Lashlee mold, too.

Above- Aaaaah, a rub concept in the red zone on 1st down. I absolutely love it.


The wrap

Whether Candle is really the call at OC, or it’s someone else like the rumored Kendal Briles or Ken Dorsey, I think the program is headed in the right direction. Candle is a proven recruiter in Florida, a guy that’s been a head coach, and his offenses score point.

Briles has no head coaching record, but his offenses have been successful, he’s creative, and he’s a fast-riser, too. Dorsey has the least play calling experience of the three, but he’s developed an NFL MVP in Cam Newton at Carolina, and now a playoff winning QB in Josh Allen up in Buffalo.