Asti: Promoting Chad Scott to OC Actually Makes Sense for West Virginia Football
Promoting Chad Scott to offensive coordinator actually makes sense. It really does. I say that well aware that the reaction to the news, like everything when it comes to WVU athletics, is split.
Scott, who has been with the West Virginia football program for four years, including time spent as co-offensive coordinator and serving as the run game coordinator during the 2022 season, will now take over an offense that’s been disappointing for at least a couple years and will be under pressure, along with the entire team, to show things are climbing in the right direction in 2023. As expected, some are taking promoting Scott as a sign the program can’t convince a big name to join the team. They are arguing the fact head coach Neal Brown undergoing an evaluation year to determine if he should remain as the man in charge is so publicly known caused coaches to leave and now makes it difficult to find new ones interested in coming aboard a staff that might be gone soon.
It’s actually possible for those points to be likely true and valid, but doesn’t have to mean giving the job to Scott is a bad thing. The reaction from those who really matter in the current players has been overwhelmingly positive too. Players were seen cheering and applauding after learning the news straight from Brown in a recorded video the official WVU football Twitter account used to break the news. Past and present players, including recruits who have yet to actually play for Scott but have signed on as a new Mountaineer, took to social media to express their approval of the move and their happiness for Scott.
But regardless of how the fans, or even players, may feel, there are two main reasons why adding offensive coordinator to Scott’s workload is the right decision at this point.
Running Game Success Under Scott
While the WVU offense struggled too often throughout the 2022 season, the one constant aspect of success was the exact segment of the team that Scott was leading – the running game. JT Daniels was good…until he wasn’t. He then lost his starting quarterback spot and has since transferred. The receivers dropped too many critical passes. Former offensive coordinator Graham Harrell, who came to WVU with a label of being an “Air Raid” guy wasn’t able to really air the ball out and had to rely on Scott’s running game.
None of that connects to Scott or can be blamed on him. There’s even an argument the high production of the running backs, and that means every running back to touch the ball in a game, should be appreciated that much more since it was the only consistent part of the offense, or team for that matter, West Virginia brought to the table all year. It’s also the only part of the offense the team knows it can fully rely on moving forward. That’s independent of whoever is handling most of the carriers, the play of the offensive line or wins the quarterback competition.
In 2022, the running game averaged 171.5 yards per game in 2022 under Scott. That was thanks to depth from running backs Tony Mathis, Justin Johnson, CJ Donaldson and Jaylen Anderson. They all combined for 1,793 yards and 18 touchdowns. Scott even had to teach Donaldson to transition to a position he hadn’t tried prior to the season.
Neal Brown, WVU Staff Knew They Had to Figure Out a Way to Utilize CJ Donaldson
Scott’s performance in his roles prior to now being named the OC can be evaluated easily with a simple Google search and look at the numbers. With that said, the next reason why he makes sense for such a high profile position within the football team goes to something that is difficult to equate and tough for everyone to be able to properly analyze – recruiting.
What casual fans may not know is Scott has had his hand in helping with recruiting for years, most notably the latest 2023 class. Scott was heavenly influential in aiding the program in landing top recruit Rodney Gallagher, four-star running back DJ Oliver and highly coveted running back Jahiem White just to name a few. These players have talked about how the WVU coaching staff was among the reasons they wanted to come to Morgantown, in particular Scott, someone they often mentioned by name when being interviewed by the media. The strength of the 2023 class can be created to Scott.
Scott isn’t some big name and he is a promotion from within. Those are two things that can turn off fans about any coaching hire, especially when there’s a belief the program needs new life. But all in all, Scott has many of the traits any team would want in a coach and has a personality that the players who matter have already bought into. For those reasons above everything else, Scott is the right fit for the West Virginia offense.