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Smelley to Transfer; G. A. Mangus Hired as Offensive Coordinator

Two big stories coming out of Columbia here and here, with Chris Smelley electing to transfer and pursue baseball at another school and Spurrier hiring G. A. Mangus to take over David Reaves's old job as QB coach. First of all, I like the Mangus hire. Reaves did not do a good job developing Smelley and Stephen Garcia, so his choice to join Lane Kiffin's staff at Tennessee may have been a blessing in disguise. While some people may have wanted former Carolina QB and current East Carolina QB coach Phil Petty to return to Columbia to fill Reaves's shoes, Mangus is the better candidate because, as a former Gators QB, he knows Spurrier's offensive system and will be able to step right in and begin working with our guys. Moreover, Mangus has some great credentials. As a head coach, he transformed former Division III cellar-dweller Delaware Valley into a national title contender. At his immediate past job at Middle Tennessee State as OC and QB coach, he developed Blue Raiders QB Joe Craddock. Let's take a look at Craddock's stats line from this past year.

Passing Rushing Sacks
G Rating Comp Att Pct Yds Y/G Y/A TD INT Rush Yds Y/G Avg TD Sack YdsL
2008 - Joe Craddock 12 135.5 237 367 64.6 2677 223.1 11.3 15 7 83 118 9.8 1.4 0 - -

A 135.5 QB rating and a 15-7 TD-INT ratio sounds good to me. This appears to be a solid hire.

Now for the Smelley situation, which came as a real surprise to me. As many of you probably know, Smelley was a standout baseball player in high school. I can only imagine that Smelley made this decision because he thinks he has a better chance of succeeding in baseball than in football. As far as I know, though, Smelley had no reason to believe that he wouldn't have a very good shot at winning the starting job in the spring. Indeed, he was probably the front-runner considering the way that Garcia played down the stretch. Why quit now, when you've got a great shot at winning the starting job going into your junior season?

Of course, Smelley may be such a good baseball player that he really does have a better chance of succeeding on the diamond than on the gridiron. If that's the case, then I don't see much of a problem with his choice. The fact that he's leaving to pursue baseball lends credence to this reaction; if Smelley were leaving to play football somewhere else, you'd know something is wrong, but he's leaving to play baseball, which suggests that he really does need to leave if that's what he wants to do. However, the situation still makes me wonder a lot about the state of this program. In the last two months, we've had a players-only meeting, Spurrier promising to tone down his criticism, and a number of transfers. Most of the transfers seemed innocent enough, but this one, coming from a former starting QB that had a good chance of seeing continued playing time next year, really grabs the attention.

So, everyone, how do you feel about all this? Is Mangus a good hire? Is Smelley leaving because he legitimately wants to pursue baseball or because he's unhappy with the state of the football program?