The transition from Tom Herman to the two-headed brain trust of Ed Warinner and Tim Beck wasn't the smoothest for Ohio State this season. While things improved significantly near the end of the year as Warinner moved from the sidelines up to the coaches' box, many fans are still anxious heading into the 2016 season. After all, the Buckeyes lose almost their entire offense this offseason, and the schedule is about to get significantly tougher with Oklahoma and a pair of stout non-power conference teams on the horizon.
At this point in the offseason, Urban Meyer would be highly unlikely to proactively make a coaching change. After all, he's never openly fired an assistant coach before. But sometimes assistants leave at just the right time, and it's possible one has opened up that would be a win-win for everybody involved.
UTSA unexpectedly needs a new head coach. And that opening could actually be a great fit for Tim Beck. No, seriously.
If you're a smaller, Group of 5 program in Texas, you're going to want somebody who can recruit well, especially in state. Beck covers Texas for Ohio State, and has spent extensive time there, ever since his tenures at Kansas (2005-2007) and Nebraska (2008-2014). Beck was the lead recruiter for several key Nebraska prospects, including Texas natives QB Tommy Armstrong and four-star defensive end Josh Williams.
Any struggles by the offense at Ohio State aside, it's not like Beck is a bad coach. After all, the guy was the passing game coordinator at Kansas during the Todd Reesing era, which even included a BCS bowl victory for the Jayhawks. Yes, Kansas.
At Nebraska, where Beck worked with the running backs before becoming a OC/QB coach, he built some devastatingly potent running attacks, riding talent like Rex Burkhead, Ameer Abdullah and Kenny Bell to offenses that averaged 33 points a game over his tenure. He was also -- perhaps most importantly -- a highly successful high school coach in Texas.
And while you can argue that Ohio State's offense underachieved this season, the Buckeyes still finished 14th in offensive S&P+ over the year, riding Ezekiel Elliott to one of the best rushing attacks in the country. Beck may have been given a ton of talent to work with, but he also had the difficult job of navigating the highest profile QB battle in the country, and a deluge of injuries at wideout, forcing him to rely on Braxton Miller (who isn't a wideout), some converted H-backs, and very young players.
Despite the massive pressure, Ohio State still went 12-1, and clobbered a good Notre Dame team in the Fiesta Bowl. Yes, Beck probably deserves some of the blame for the one blemish on Ohio State's schedule. But not everything rests on his shoulders, and what happened this year doesn't have to be an indictment on who he is as a coach. His resume goes far beyond that, after all.
But not being perfect for Ohio State doesn't mean you can't be a very capable head coach somewhere else. Just ask Everett Withers, who left Ohio State to become a great head coach at James Madison after the safeties he coached struggled. Beck hasn't forgotten how to recruit in Texas, he's been building those relationships his entire coaching life. He hasn't forgotten his way around an offense. He's coached wideouts, running backs and quarterbacks, and has a strong record of success with both pass heavy and run heavy spread systems at multiple levels.
For an AD, Beck could easily be a candidate that combines younger energy and enthusiasm with more established experience. He's certainly not old (he's 49), but can boast position coach experience at multiple levels, playcalling experience, recruiting experience, all while working with pretty good coaches, like Bo Pelini and Urban Meyer. Given how bad UTSA's offense was this season (113th in S&P+), bringing in an established name on that side of the ball would be smart. Combine that with the fact that he should be relatively affordable (Beck made $550,000 at Ohio State last year, not much more than the $450,000 UTSA was paying Larry Coker), and you have an attractive candidate.
UTSA could be a win-win situation for Beck as well. It's unlikely he'd be able to jump directly to a higher profile coaching position unless Ohio State's offense improves dramatically next season. Even then, there is no guarantee that a position will open up that fits his background and skill set. UTSA is in a major city in Texas without another program, and sits in a conference that doesn't really have a recruiting superpower. A quality talent evaluator could make the Roadrunners competitive relatively quickly, compared to what a rebuilding job might require in The American, or even a power conference head coaching job.
UTSA will undoubtedly have other talented assistant coaches with ties to Texas that will be interested in the position. But grabbing Beck really could work out well for everybody, allowing him to start fresh and become an FBS head coach, while UTSA mitigates risk and brings in an established name with a resume to build them from the ground level up.