Oregon State coach Mike Riley hired John Garrett away from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to run his offense a month ago because he felt Garrett was a good fit for very specific parameters he envisioned for his next coordinator. Riley had an accomplished senior quarterback in Sean Mannion and a longstanding pro-style system and he wanted someone to ensure continuity, not an overhaul to player and scheme.
While most coordinators want to call plays and implement their personal systems and terminology, Garrett is not in Corvallis for that. In fact, you could say he has more to learn this spring than his six returning starters.
"Basically, I said it's your job to learn what we do and make it better," Riley said in an interview on Oregon State's official website.
Riley has called plays for the past two years after taking the duties away from Danny Langsdorf, who was hired in January as the New York Giants quarterbacks coach. While there's been no official statement from Riley about who will call plays in 2014, the good money is on Riley retaining those duties.
Riley praised Garrett, whose title includes QBs and tight ends coach, as a teacher -- a "well-versed technician" -- and he emphasized that he'll have latitude to tweak the scheme and make suggestions. In fact, he expects it. He said Garrett will have "total freedom to be honest."
Garrett last coached in college at Virginia from 2004-06. Riley said a mutual friend got him and Garrett together, and it doesn't appear that any other candidate got a very long look at the job.
Garrett's chief task this spring will be finding Mannion some help. For one, the Beavers need to replace the production of receiver Brandin Cooks in the passing game. But perhaps more important is healing a running game that has been struggling for going on five years.
The good news for Mannion is he's getting a new tutor with plenty of NFL knowledge while not having to learn a new system as a senior.
It will be interesting to see exactly where the "tweaks" come on offense under Garrett, and whether they help the Beavers crawl back into at least the middle of the Pac-12 in rushing.