As reported by Bulldog Blitz and several Texas pay sites, Les Koenning is headed to Texas to take their wide receivers coach position. He leaves Mississippi State after 5 years as Offensive Coordinator and Quarterbacks coach. MSU has confirmed the hire.
Koenning is a Texas native and played WR at Texas so this hire makes sense. One would initially say it’s a demotion, but considering the fact that UT is probably going to pay him more as a position coach than the $286,000 he’s making as our O.C., I’m not sure I see it that way. Plus Koenning is in the later stages of his career at age 54 (almost 55), so he’s likely ready to coast into retirement near his home, and at his alma mater. Any thought that Koenning was told to look for another job should be dismissed – MSU broke nine offensive records in 2013 and broke nearly every offensive record during his tenure.
Obviously the offense runs through Dan Mullen, so losing Koenning isn’t the end of the world. Many State fans are probably happy about the news. The biggest question mark to me is who will take his place? With the type of salaries MSU usually offers and the knowledge that Mullen runs the show on offense it’s likely to be an up-and-comer you’ve never heard of.
The fall out of Koenning’s departure is the lack of continuity among the staff. Players will have to get used to a new coach, but perhaps more importantly Mullen will have to train a new coach while in preparation for what is expected to be a big season. This could be no big deal at all – it just depends on who comes in and how they assimilate. I’m not a big fan of losing Koenning because I think he was doing a good job as a QB coach, but there was plenty of room for improvement so this could end up being a positive.
With Koenning’s departure, I think this is a good opportunity to hire a special teams coach. Mullen is listed as the ST coach, and whether he does all the work, or it’s GA’s, or it’s a combined effort among all the coaches it doesn’t matter. We can’t diminish Koenning’s role in the offense and preparation, and Mullen will likely have to have a larger role there. With that, and the fact that our ST are mediocre at best, I’d like to see a special teams coordinator hired while we’re out looking for coaches. If we just hired a QB coach / ST coordinator that’s cool too….although I doubt that would happen.
We will keep you up to date on any developments in MSU’s search for a new O.C. and/or QB coach.