Cheney is a class act and I wish him well. Always low-key and content to be out of the spot-light. On the surface, there appears to be a clash of cultures between Cheney's and Bielema's offensive philosophies, but who knows, this may be a match made in heaven. It will be interesting to see how the Razorback offense looks next year and which philosophy the team leans towards more.
Dismissed Tennessee offensive coordinator Jim Chaney has landed in the Southeastern Conference just as we suspected. But he’s not headed to his home state of Missouri as we initially tossed out as a possibility. Instead, Bret Bielema named Chaney his offensive coordinator at Arkansas last night.
In a statement, Bielema said:
“He knows the SEC, having coached at Tennessee, and is familiar with what it takes to be successful in this conference. He is an upbeat and positive person who has proven at every stop he is an elite coach in our profession…
Jim Chaney’s approach will blend well with my ideas as we work to put together a plan for the team we have and over time develop our specific philosophy.”
Chaney first arrived in Knoxville as the offensive coordinator for Lane Kiffin. When Kiffin dumped the Volunteers for Southern Cal, Chaney remained as Derek Dooley’s O-coordinator and was handed the play-calling duties (something Kiffin had kept for himself).
While Chaney has plenty of experience having coached Drew Brees and Kyle Orton at Purdue before heading to the NFL and then Tennessee, his appointment still makes for a strange marriage. Chaney has run a pass-first offense the last three years in Knoxville. Bielema’s Wisconsin team has finished ranked in the top three of the Big Ten in rushing in each of the past six seasons. This past year the Badgers ranked dead last in the league in passing yards per game. Over that same six-season span, Bielema’s team finished in the top half of its conference in passing just once.
So will Arkansas’ offense be pass-happy or run-heavy under Bielema and Chaney? Only time will tell.
On Tuesday, the Hogs announced that Wisconsin’s Chris Ash would take over as defensive coordinator in Fayetteville.
Missouri’s search for a new offensive coordinator, meanwhile, continues.