Let's Pump The Brakes on John Shoop

Last week, Darrell Hazell made news when he rounded out his coaching staff by hiring John Shoop as his offensive coordinator. Adam Rittenberg, of ESPN.com's Big Ten blog, wrote an unusually personal take on the hire wherein he made it sound like he was still scarred from Shoop's time as the Bears OC.

As a Chicago Bears fan, my fingers are trembling as I type this ...

According to reports, Purdue has hired John Shoop as its new offensive coordinator.

FootballScoop.com first reported
Shoop's hiring, and the Big Ten Network also is reporting it. Purdue hasn't officially confirmed the addition of Shoop to Darrell Hazell's staff.

OK, John Shoop.
That John Shoop? Yes, that John Shoop. (Chill goes down spine). Breathe, Adam, breathe ...

I'm going to give Shoop a chance to show he won't do to Purdue's offense what he did to the Bears' offense from 1999-2003. Every new Big Ten assistant deserves somewhat of a clean slate from the Big Ten blog.

Sorry, just had a flashback of a bubble screen for minus-3 yards. Focus, Adam.

Look, I get being traumatized by coaches. I'm a Giants fan and we had Ray Handley as a head coach. And all of us would have that sort of skittish reaction if Gary Nord every angrily burst back onto campus in his back brace. But as for John Shoop, I'd just like us to pump the brakes a bit.

Some of you commented via Twitter that this was an awful hire and that you have similar feelings as Mr. Rittenberg, essentially blaming John Shoop for the mess that the Chicago Bears were before Lovie Smith came in and brought them back to prominence. Or whatever that was.

But let's remember a few things. First John Shoop was named Offensive Coordinator of the Bears in 2000, for the final few games of the season. He was 31 years old at the time. Thirty-one!

His first real season as the OC was 2001. Dick Jauron was the coach (which should also make you Bears fans shudder) and Shoop was the ripe old age of 32. During that 2001 season, the Bears went 13-3 and won their division. Shoop had been a QB coach prior to that stint and with those 2001 Bears, his QB corps was Shane Matthews, Jim Miller and the legendary Danny Wuerffel. Those were his guys and that team -- with Jauron as HC -- went 13-3. So if you want to cherry pick seasons and act as though Shoop was the root of their problems when they were bad, you also need to give the guy some credit when they won and beat out the Packers for the division.

After bouncing to the Bucs and Raiders, Shoop wound up at North Carolina from 2007-2011 as OC. After a 4-8 year to begin his time there, Shoop's UNC teams went 8-5 each year from 2008-2010 and 7-6 in 2011. The thing that might concern you in there was that that was during the time when Butch Davis may have been bending some rules and the Tar Heels had to vacate two of those seasons' worth of wins. As you know if you read us, we really want nothing even resembling a dirty coach to come near the programs at Purdue. I don't think Shoop was really implicated but there is always the guilt by association factor. Which leads me to why you shouldn't worry too much about that...for now...

Let's give Coach Hazell the benefit of the doubt here. I think many of us gave Danny Hope the benefit of the doubt, probably longer than he deserved it. Coach Hazell has made multiple hires, decisions, statements, etc., that almost all of you have really liked. Given all of that, isn't it safe to assume he's done his due diligence on Coach Shoop? I think -- for now -- it's fair to continue to be optimistic.

To those who claim the offense will be boring under Hazell and Shoop, I am not necessarily convinced you're correct. However, I also remember OSU fans being irritated with the vest for never really opening it up....as they boringly marched their way to 10-11 win seasons and Big Ten title after Big Ten title and BCS bowl after BCS bowl. Yawn. How borrrring.

Another way to look at this is that Shoop not only has college experience running a pro-style offense, he also has NFL experience as an offensive coordinator. Compare that to Gary Nord, Tim Tibesar, Danny Hope, etc. There was no real success at any significant level within Danny Hope's coaching staffs. That's noteworthy. 

No, I don't know if Hazell and Shoop will lead our boys to the promised land. In fact, I can tell you that it's going to have a lot more to do with the players buying into the system, accountability, focus, commitment and so forth. If Coach Shoop doesn't work out, I also have confidence that Darrell Hazell is capable of making the difficult decisions that Danny Hope never could.

Ever Grateful, Ever True

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