I haven't done a straw poll or anything, but I feel pretty confident in saying that Oregon's Scott Frost is the popular pick to fill Oklahoma's vacancy at offensive coordinator. Tulsa World columnist John E. Hoover has gone so far as to propose that OU hire Frost as its head-coach-in-waiting. (More on that below.)
A few thoughts on Frost as a potential candidate:
*Don't assume OU can money whip Frost into coming on board.
In the current market for college coordinators, Frost doesn't make all that much ($400,000). Even so, when it comes down to it, Oregon can match whatever the Sooners offer. It's just a matter of want-to.
(Side note: If Phil Knight didn't at least put up a little bit of a fight to retain Frost, you'd have to wonder why.)
*There's more risk in moving from Oregon to Oklahoma right now than Sooner Nation would like to think.
The Sooners might have more trophies in the case, but the Ducks are working on a pretty fantastic run. If you're looking at the last six or seven years, the superior program of the two calls Eugene home. An Oregon win over Ohio State on Monday night would widen the gap considerably.
That doesn't mean OU can't make up the distance up quickly. But the Crimson and Cream are another disappointing year or two from detonating the foundation. Where would that leave Frost if it doesn't turn around?
Unfortunately, it's 2003 anymore. A call from Bob Stoops just doesn't carry the same weight with an Oregon assistant that it once did.
*Bob Stoops can't be that far from retirement. Why not use Hoover's suggestion and make Frost the HCIW?
The NCAA passed legislation in 2010 that puts the same recruiting restrictions on a HCIW as a head coach. In effect, any formal HCIW agreement between OU and Frost is a non-starter.
*Fine, make it a wink-nod deal.
If Frost would be willing to roll like that, go for it.
But a HCIW situation really only works with specific stipulations in place. The heir apparent needs assurances that the sitting coach will step down on a definitive timeline, complete with penalties for breaking the agreement. Otherwise, it's just a fancy title.
Frost would have to take it on faith that athletic director Joe Castiglione and Stoops would stay true to an agreement for Stoops to step aside at a specific time.
*And another thing about the HCIW arrangement.
Let's say Frost would take a handshake HCIW deal. What if he gets to Norman and sucks? Is Frost such a sure thing that OU should be willing to make him the Sooners' next head coach sight unseen?
*So what can the Sooners offer Frost?
If I'm the one trying to sell Frost on the move, I'd emphasize two points:
- Autonomy – Bob Stoops is a defensive coach by nature. At OU, the offense will be Frost's show. With Mark Helfrich still on the scene and Oregon's history of offensive pyrotechnics, Frost will always deal with questions regarding his contributions to the Ducks' success.
- Opportunity – Stoops is working on a pretty short timeline. Soon enough, Castiglione will be looking for his successor. The AD can't offer Frost a formal guarantee that he will get the gig, but he'd be a near shoo-in for the job if the offense excels under his watch. Unless Helfrich is planning on pulling a Chip Kelly in the next few years, Frost likely won't be in such prime position to take over a plum job if he stays in Eugene.
Frankly, Stoops couldn't do much better than hiring the Ducks offensive coordinator right now. He checks all the boxes in terms of what OU should be looking for.
I'd caution against locking in on a "Frost-or-bust" mentality, though. Bringing in Frost would be sweet, if not ideal, but it doesn't mean anything short of that will be a failure. Stoops ultimately will be picking from a deep pool of qualified offensive strategists. Frost might be the best candidate, but there are plenty of coordinators out there who should be more than good enough to get the Sooner O on track.