Should Jimbo Fisher Call Plays as Head Coach??

Recently, there has been discussion over whether Jimbo Fisher, FSU's offensive coordinator, would continue calling plays once becomes head coach next season.  Yesterday, Fisher revealed that he intended to continue calling plays and coaching quarterbacks as the head coach.  He indicated that he would have an "eye in the booth" (James Coley, his current man in the booth) to assist him.  So he will call the plays.  But should he?  To answer this, two things must be considered.  First, Fisher has an excellent track record, having won the ACC offensive coordinator of the year and this past year leading the ACC's best offense in a decade.  But that was as an offensive coordinator.  Have any other head coaches had success as play-callers?  Mark Richt and Steve Spurrier did it well for many years.  Here is a list of the top 15 offenses in the country, based on Opponent-Adjusted Offensive Efficiency.  I think you'll find that this list pretty clearly shows the best 15 offenses in the country for this season.

Team Opponent-Adjusted Offensive Efficiency Comment
Georgia Tech 1 HC Paul Johnson calls plays
Stanford 2 HC Jim Harbaugh heavily involved with the offense.
Notre Dame 3 HC Charlie Weis calls plays
Houston 4 HC Kevin Sumlin runs the offense but has a playcaller.
Cincinnati 5 HC Brian Kelly calls plays
Oregon 6 HC Chip Kelly Calls plays
Alabama 7 Defensive minded HC has OC call plays
Florida State 8 Fisher calls plays
Texas 9 OC Greg Davis calls plays
North Carolina State 10 OC calls plays
Idaho 11 OC calls plays
Arkansas 12 HC Bobby Petrino designed the offense, OC calls plays.
Texas Tech 13 HC Mike Leach calls plays
Florida 14 HC Meyer designed offense and heavily involved; OC calls plays
BYU 15 Defensive HC lets OC call plays
  • Of the top 6 offenses, all 6 have offensive-minded head coaches.  4 of those 6 calls plays, while the other 2 designed the offense and remained heavily involved in the offensive attack.  That's pretty incredible.  3 of those 6 teams are going to BCS games.
  • Of the top 10, 9 have offensive head coaches.  5 of those 9 offensive head coaches call plays, and 7 of those 9 are heavily involved in the offense.
  • Of the top 15 offenses, 13 have an offensive head coach.  Of those 13, 6 call plays, while 11 of 14 are heavily involved in or designed the offense.  
  • Of the 6 head coaches who call plays, 3 have done so in their first BCS conference head coaching job.

I think it's pretty safe to conclude that allowing a head coach to call plays is just fine, provided he is a good play caller. 

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