If you had never heard of Jim McElwain before, you aren’t the only one. He’s the former Oakland Raiders assistant turned college Offensive Coordinator for Fresno State (profile-what an amazing tan).
Born in Montana, Jim McElwain went to Eastern Washington University. He’s been a career assistant, with stops at EWU, Montana State, Louisville, Michigan State (no Saban ties), Oakland, and Fresno State. He seems to improve whatever position/ side of the football he coached on, minus the Oakland Raiders.
From what I’ve gathered, there are possible good qualities, and possible bad qualities about this hire. But, as fans, we always like a fresh helping of spin whenever it comes to bad features.
- Fans and coaches at Fresno have attributed their 9 win season to McElwain’s arrival, where they went 4-8 the previous season.
- Fresno scored 427 points last season, where they had over 5400 yards total. FSU scored 276 in 2006. (LINK)
- Fresno’s QB, Tom Brandstater, improved dramatically under McElwain. He had 13 TDs, 14 Ints, and a QB rating of 106.74 in 2006. For 2007, he had 15 TDs, 5 Ints, and a QB rating of 140.48.
- He developed such players as Plaxico Burress while the Recievers coach at Mich. State.
- His offense blew out Kansas State (45-29), where Fresno had two drives of 70+ yards, one drive of 80+ yards, and one drive of 90+ yards.
- Fresno blew out the “genius” John Tenuta (40-28), where they had 2 drives over 70 yards, 0ne drive over 80 yards, and two drives over 90 yards against Georgia Tech.
- He coached for the Oakland Raiders, who probably had the worst QB tandem in the NFL that season in an injured Aaron Brooks and Andrew Walter. I don’t think they had 10 passing TDs combined.
- He was a part of a bad MSU program under John L. Smith.
- Nobody in the eastern U.S. seems to recognize his name.
- His previous OC experience came at Montana State in the 1990’s.
- Oakland is a train wreck on top of a volcano with Al Davis ruining everything. True, he had Randy Moss, but that guy is one of the laziest players in the league without Tom Brady.
- There was zero offensive talent- save the RB- for Oakland.
- Michigan State had a crazy face slapper as a head coach. McElwain did a good job with the receivers.
- He’s done pretty well for himself after Montana State.
- Because Nick Saban wants him, which means we must offer our joy in appreciation with the sacrifice of one tiger painted orange and blue (check the back of your Tide Pride ticket order sheet, it’s on there).
In the end, you can’t tell whether a guy will be a success or not until his product walks out onto the field. He seems to be a hard worker, which is a must if you want to coach under Nick Saban. Hopefully, he will accept the offer and have success at Alabama. I like his background, although it does concern me about how long he has been a Divsion I-A OC. But, Jimbo Fisher wasn’t that experienced, and he turned out to be fairly successful under Saban. Stay tuned for the latest news on the Coordinator search.