Eliah Drinkwitz has Appalachian State on a continued run of success in his first year. Obviously, App State has a history of success, but Drinkwitz at least has them continuing in the right direction. Is this a “sexy” enough hire for Arkansas? Does that matter at all?
Adam: The right hire may not be sexy. Drinkwitz is obviously a good coach. Hunter Yurachek knows that he has to get this one right.
Saul: I don’t think this is a “sexy” hire by any means, but I think it could be a good one. App State made the jump to D1 football with no real trouble, and Drinkwitz has them continuing on the right path.
Tucker: It’s not sexy. It’s not gonna win a press conference. And yet, at the end of the day, does that matter? I’m not sure I care anymore. I just want someone who can win some dang football games. App State is historically a good program, but we’ve seen that historically programs can be quickly derailed under bad management. Drinkwitz has kept it rolling, and that’s worth something.
What would you like about this hire?
Adam: Drinkwitz has a fantastic coaching pedigree, having worked in both the Malzahn and Boise State systems. He’s very well-thought-of in the coaching profession. I think he’s aware of what he needs to do to win at Arkansas, having spent a lot of time in the state, from his high school time to his two years at Arkansas State.
Saul: I think Drinkwitz has a nice football pedigree and I like the offense he runs. That run-first spread with misdirection built in can really work here and I think he could implement that well at Arkansas. Taking from his time under Malzahn and at Boise State, he’s got a nice offensive mind. If you look at his NC State OC numbers, they put up some genuinely good stats. I also like his strong ties to Arkansas.
Tucker: I just really like the offense. I miss fun Arkansas offenses, and Drinkwitz has the resume to suggest that he could bring that with him. I would also just enjoy the narrative of a local guy making it. We really haven’t had that since Malzahn, so another guy making the breakthrough could finally end the calls for Gus.
What would give you reservations about this hire?
Adam: After the Morris debacle, it’s pretty risky to hire a coach who doesn’t have much head coaching experience. The very last thing Arkansas needs is to hire a coach who is obviously in over his head.
Saul: He’s only been a head coach for one year at App State. I don’t know how well he can recruit outside of Arkansas. Also, he looks like a guy who would do my taxes.
Tucker: Experience is obviously a big fear. While he’s got a great resume as a coordinator, he’s only been a had coach for one year, and that one year is at a place that might be good enough to do well without him. That’s really, really scary, because we’re not in a place to be taking big risks without being able to back them up. I think this would be more uncertain than Chad Morris.
Would you personally be happy with this hire?
Adam: He’s not my first option, but I’d be happy with Drinkwitz. I can’t say that for all of the candidates we’ve looked at. I’d be interested to hear more interviews from him, but from what I’ve seen so far, he seems intelligent, measured, and not prone to silly coach-speak.
Saul: I’m torn, because while I ultimately think it could be a good hire, it’s a very risky one. One year at an already good Sun Belt school isn’t the best marker of success. He’s a good candidate, but there are certainly better ones. I understand where we are as a school and how the job looks, so beggars can’t be choosers. I think I wouldn’t be mad, but I wouldn’t be thrilled. He’d have a lot to prove.
Tucker: Like with Norvell, only more so, I can get behind almost all coaches here, but I’d be scared. This is a kind of swing for the fences that would be wonderful to see work out, but could very easily result in a strikeout. I love seeing an Arkansas guy succeed, but I’d like for him to succeed for a little bit before becoming our successful Arkansas guy.