2016 Purdue Football Coaching Search: Doug Meacham
Candidate Tier #3
Category: Intriguing Possibilities
Who Is He?
For those of you non-football nerds with “social lives” who “hang out with friends” on fall Saturdays, Doug Meacham a 51 year old assistant coach in his third season as offensive coordinator at TCU.
In 2014, his first year at TCU, Meacham and HC Gary Patterson invigorated a stagnating offense, with junior quarterback Trevone Boykin leading the Horned Frogs to a 14-1 record (and finishing 4th in the Heisman race). Meacham was a finalist for the Broyles Award that year (he lost to some dude named Tom Herman), and vaulted to national prominence as a leading college football offensive mind.
Prior to his time at TCU, Meacham was OC at Houston, receivers coach at Oklahoma State for eight seasons under Mike Gundy, and an OC at the FCS level for 14 seasons.
Why would he be successful at Purdue?
He’s on anyone’s shortlist as the best OC in the country. Andy Staples did a fantastic breakdown of the changes on offense he made at TCU, and how he reshaped Patterson’s entire football philosophy.
Gary Patterson revamped his program using the air-raid. Proof that truly anything is possible.
As Staples summarizes, TCU went from 88th to 2nd in scoring offense, averaging 6.7 yards per play. Boykin started both pre- and post-Meacham, and vaulted into a completely different stratosphere.
2013: 1198 yards on 105/176 passing (59.7%), 7 TDs and 7 INTs. TCU went 4-8.
2014: 3901 yards on 301/492 passing (61.2%), 33 TDs and 10 INTs TCU went 12-1.
2015: 3574 yards on 256/395 passing (64.8%), 31 TDs and 10 INTs. TCU went 11-2.
TCU under Meacham went no-huddle, found that Josh Doctson was a pretty good receiver, and ensured that progressions developed to allow for instant decisions from Boykin. TCU reduced the number of tight ends that saw the field, maximized receivers, and *poof*, magic happened.
Meacham had a transformative effect on TCU’s offense, and quite possibly reinvigorated Gary Patterson’s tenure in Fort Worth.
Why could he flop at Purdue?
It’s always an extreme risk to hand the keys of a program over to a 50 year old with no head coaching experience (or minimal head coaching experience, as we just found out). Crafting an incredible offense tailored to the strengths of a talented quarterback is one thing; leading a complete reset of a dilapidated Big Ten program is quite another.
Recruiting is another concern. He’s got no ties to the Midwest, and has never coordinated a wide-ranging recruiting search at the FBS level. All of these are requirements at Purdue, and without experience might disqualify him as a candidate (regardless of his offensive vision).
Would he come to Purdue?
There aren’t many schools that would give him complete control of a program, particularly at the Power 5 level (and in the absurdly easy Big Ten West). But I’m pretty convinced that he’s on a path as a hot OC, and might make the leap to a school of Texas or Florida’s stature (if those programs decide to make changes this offseason). He might know he’s best in a high-profile OC role, and wouldn’t be interested in a head coaching role after this point. Either that, or move into a HC role at a smaller Texas school and see where things lead from there.
On Purdue’s end, I don’t see the athletic department spending too long on Meacham. He’s a brilliant offensive mind, and would bring a really fun offense to West Lafayette, but Purdue needs a program builder.