The college football world was shook on Friday night when Muj Fricke abruptly stepped down as Gus Duggerton’s offensive coordinator at the University of Toledo. Fricke had been with Duggerton since his time at Tennessee and was responsible for designing the running game that the globetrotting head coach rode to two straight national championships.
Duggerton’s future is now up in the air. Not only will he probably be at a new school next season — he’s previously stated that his return at Toledo was strictly a one-year affair — but now he’ll be without his top assistant coach. Before Fricke took control of the offense, Duggerton’s teams were plagued by interceptions that spelled their doom in the biggest games. Fricke’s rushing attack eliminated a lot of those mistakes and led to consecutive titles. Duggerton has hinted on social media that Fricke’s departure could mean a return to a pass-focused attack.
“Air Duggs” might make for a more entertaining brand of football, but will it lead to continued success? That depends on who Duggerton chooses as his next offensive coordinator. Let’s break down the top candidates.
Duggerton’s former intern worked under Fricke as the passing game coordinator at Tennessee and Toledo. He’s the top candidate to take over the open OC job since his preference for aggressively throwing the ball down the field matches Duggerton’s newfound philosophy. Under Billy Football, we can expect lots of Shark Wheel and The Interception Play. For that to work out, it will be important for Duggerton to land at a program that has great pass-catching tailbacks and wide receivers who are great at breaking up interceptions.
Rone doesn’t have much coaching experience, but he’s been with Duggerton for every game that he’s coached outside of his home. The battle rapper also has unique insights into Duggerton’s mind from hosting The Yak with him throughout quarantine. Rone might not be able to dissuade Duggerton from his bad habits like throwing into triple coverage and mismanaging the clock, but the two should be on the same page more often than not.
Not many offensive coordinators get their start as college kickers, but PFT is a football guy through and through who has a unique feel for the game. A PFT-led offense might feature more NFL elements than we’re used to seeing from Duggerton teams due to PFT’s links to the pro ranks. However, Duggerton has never invested much time in recruiting fullbacks, and that position will without a doubt be a key part of PFT’s system.
The Mississippi State alum would be an interesting choice, especially if Duggerton chooses to return to the SEC. Of everyone on Duggerton’s staff, Walker is the most knowledgeable about college football, but he’s prone to letting his emotions get the best of him. That could be a major problem when paired with a head coach who regularly admits to getting bullied by fans.
Although he was playing quarterback under Duggs just two seasons ago, Cheah is already drawing rave reviews for his tape breakdowns and quarterback development skills. He might be a little inexperienced to be an offensive coordinator at a major program, but grinding your way through the coaching ranks isn’t a requirement the way it used to be. Cheah’s analytical mind could act as a solid counterbalance to Duggerton’s impulsive personality… or it could get him fired before the conference schedule begins.