The California Golden Bears have made their hire to replace offensive coordinator Tony Franklin. Former Texas A&M offensive coordinator Jake Spavital is likely to be the new guy in Berkeley, both Football Scoop and Sports Illustrated have reported.
Sonny Dykes is going young, but this is hardly a risky hire. Spavital is a proven Air Raid playcaller. At 30 years old, Spavital already has a host of collegiate experience under his belt, and has worked with a host of Air Raid quarterbacks to make them NFL-ready. He was at West Virginia serving as the quarterbacks coach for Geno Smith, was a graduate assistant at Oklahoma State during the time of Brandon Weeden. And he's probably most famous for working with Johnny Manziel the year after he won the Heisman.
And Spavital will be an upgrade over Franklin in one immediate spot: Recruiting. Spavital is a really good recruiter, having landed two of the top signal-callers in a row in Kyler Murray and Kyle Allen, and also snagged five-star wide receiver Christian Kirk.
Texas A&M and Spavital did not part under the most amicable of terms. A&M had an elite offense by advanced metrics in 2013 (4th in S&P+, 1st in FEI) and 2014 (18th in S&P+, 15th in FEI), but the offense did not quite click last season (55th in S&P+, 85th in FEI), leading to Aggies coach Kevin Sumlin parting ways with Spavital. It's unclear whether Sumlin or Spavital is to blame--neither Murray nor Allen had bad things to say about their former OC, and it sounds like it's possible that Spavital was scapegoated here. Both Murray (Oklahoma) and Allen (Houston) transferred soon after Spavital's departure.
Welcome to Cal Jake!