Monday, January 14, 2019

Good and meh of Mike Bajakian

Steve Addazio finally hired his new Offensive Coordinator and it is long-time NFL and college coach Mike Bajakian. While not a household name, Bajakian checks a lot of Addazio's known boxes and also brings plenty of play-calling experience at the college level.

The Good News
There is plenty to like about the hire. Bajakian's been an OC and play caller at Central Michigan, Cincinnati and Tennessee. He's a New Jersey native who has and will continue to recruit the Garden State. He's also has recent NFL experience that Addazio wanted as he tries to modernize and make the Offense more Ram-like.

What Addazio would never say, but what I find good (but not great) is that Bajakian is remarkable consistent in his production as a play caller. His offenses have never been elite, but they've been above average and definitely more efficient that what Addazio particularly produces. Take a look at his year-by-year Offensive S&P ranking:

Tennessee 2014 -- 51st
Tennessee 2013 -- 49th
Cincinnati 2012 -- 52nd
Cincinnati 2011 -- 66th
Cincinnati 2010 -- 47th
Central Michigan 2009 -- 60th
Central Michigan 2008 -- 46th
Central Michigan 2007 -- 31st

Three different locations, conferences and rosters and he consistently put teams in the top half of College Football offenses.  

As another frame of reference, here is how those same programs did before and after Bajakian

Tennessee before Bajakian: 10th, Tennessee after Bajakian left: 45th
Cincinnati before Bajakian: 1st, Cincinnati after Bajakian left: 82nd
Central Michigan before Bajakian: 44th, Central Michigan after before Bajakian: 93rd

In general, things improved when he got there and dropped when he left.

 As another frame of reference, this has been Addazio's Offensive S&P while at BC

Loeffler 2018 -- 95th
Loeffler 2017 -- 101st
Loeffler 2016 -- 124th
Fitch 2015 -- 125th
Day 2014 -- 50th
Day 2013 -- 30th

The Meh
Bajakian is not a household name, an older time Addazio bud, or an up and comer. In fact there are no overt ties to Addazio's network. That is somewhat refreshing but also a bit scary. Will he get along with his new boss?

I also don't love that he hasn't recruited in a while. I know he has recruited before, but every year away can be like dog years. High school coaches change, technologies change, kids communicate in new ways. Bajakian seems like a bright guy, so I hope he adjusts back to recruiting quickly.

A quick social media search and touching base with my one Vol fan friend confirmed that he was well liked at Tennessee but never viewed as critical or program changing.

Final Thought
Bajakian's consistency could be very valuable to BC. If we get the Offense in the top half of college football, it will probably lead to more than seven wins. I just hope he is given free reigns and not micromanaged by his boss.

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