Monday, January 06, 2020

Reaction to Hafley's coordinators

After a few weeks of speculation, Jeff Hafley hired his first coordinators at BC. They are Offensive Coordinator Frank Cignetti Jr and Defensive Coordinator Tem Lukuba. Both have a history with Hafley and both come with some questions. Because there is less known about Lukuba and because he is on Hafley's side of the ball, I will deal with him first.

Tem Lukuba
What to Like: He's relatively young for a coordinator. He has multiple years experience with Hafley. He's recruited our region before. He has P5 experience and NFL experience.
Concerns: He has never been a coordinator before. He has bounced around a bit.
Bottom Line: This is a guy Hafley knows and has worked with before. The fact that Schiano brought him from Rutgers to the NFL is a pretty good endorsement. I am really not concerned about him as a coordinator as I feel like Hafley will be heavily involved in that side of the ball. If Hafley likes this guy and trusts him as a recruiter and talent evaluator, than I am on board too.

Frank Cignetti Jr
What to like: He is an experienced college coordinator with many stops and plenty of history (see below). He has worked with Hafley at two different stops. I assume there is a good level of trust. I also hope that he can be someone Hafley can use as a sounding board. There is a lot to take in as a first time coach. Cignetti has been around the block a few times and the hope is he can help Hafley.
Concerns: Cignetti has been away from the college game for a while now, so he hasn't been recruiting lately. I don't know what he has or will change, but Pitt and Rutgers (his last two college stops) ran somewhat traditional pro-style offenses. I know BC can recruit to that, but I was hoping we might embrace some innovation with the new staff. Selfishly I was hoping for someone either from the Mike/Kyle Shanahan school or the Chip Kelly/Ryan Day school.
Bottom Line: Cignetti had been floated very early on as a potential coordinator. There were some other names also floated who seemingly had more upside or excitement. This is a critical position for Hafley and he needs to get it right. Going with someone he knows is fine. Also, in looking at Cignetti's track record, it is better than I realized. He is not a miracle worker, but has done some impressive things when calling plays.

Frank Cignetti Jr's impact as an OC
(For this exercise I used NCAA stats for his time at Fresno State. So that was just raw, total offense. For the other stops I used Football Outsiders analytics of Offensive S&P+)

Fresno State
Total Offense Rank
Pre-Cignetti in 2001 -- 4th
Cignetti 2002 -- 62th
Cignetti 2003 -- 80th
Cignetti 2004 -- 5th
Cignetti 2005 -- 6th
Post-Cignetti in 2006 -- 64th

North Carolina
Off S&P+ Rank
Pre-Cignetti in 2005 -- 91
Cignetti 2006 -- 80
Post-Cignetti in 2007 -- 93

Off S&P+ Rank
Pre-Cignetti in 2007 --18
Cignetti 2008 -- 30
Post-Cignetti in 2009 -- 47

Off S&P+ Rank
Pre-Cignetti in 2008 -- 63
Cignetti 2009 -- 14
Cignetti 2010 -- 55
Post-Cignetti in 2011 -- 74

Off S&P+ Rank
Pre-Cignetti in 2010 -- 107
Cignetti 2011 -- 98
Post-Cignetti in 2012 -- 109

While not without some ups and downs, Cignetti generally improves on the offense when he arrives and it declines when he leaves. He has produced multiple top 25 Offenses at different stops. He is not someone who dominates at every step, but he is certainly proven capable of handling a P5 offense.

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