In case I haven’t made it abundantly clear before, one of my biggest hang ups with Eli Drinkwitz and the staff that he has crafted is that he doesn’t have an offensive coordinator. Drink has had some super cool, mega creative offenses in his past but he’s only done the combo head coach/offensive coordinator gig for one year and that was at the Sun Belt level, not the SEC. It can definitely work out, but it’s one of the biggest misgivings I have about Coach Drinkwitz’s vision.
However, one of the hires that I’m hoping helps cover the management of the offensive side of the ball is the new quarterbacks and wide receivers coach: Bush Hamdan. Hamdan is my age and making, like, way more money than I’ll ever see in a given year and ONCE AGAIN I have seriously regretted my choice to not learn how to teach others to play a game and....you know what, let’s just take a look at his resume, shall we?
Coach Hamdan has certainly racked up the frequent flier miles! Colorado, Maryland, California, Florida, Arkansas, North Carolina...all one year stints, each following the other and bouncing across the country. The only school he’s stayed at for more than one year is Washington where he started as quality control, then took over the receivers, then after a brief foray into the NFL with Atlanta, came back to take over as Washington’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Once Chris Petersen retired after Washington’s bowl game and Jimmy Lake took over as the head man, Hamdan (and the tight ends coach) was promptly fired. That, of course, is not a great look, but UW’s offense did technically improve (in SP+, anyway) over the last year that Hamdan was in charge.
Bush Hamdan’s link to the rest of the staff
- Graduate assistant with Ryan Walters at Colorado in 2009
- Co-offensive coordinator with Eli Drinkwtiz at Arkansas State in 2013
Is he good at what he does?
The best offense he’s been a part of was the 2016 Washington offense that ranked 12th while he coached wide receivers John Ross and Dante Pettis, the former of which had an All-American season and was a first-round draft pick. As an offensive coordinator he was in charge of the 100th ranked offense at Arkansas State in ‘13 (sharing play calling duties with Coach Drink!), 34th at Washington in 2018, and then 24th with the Huskies last year. For our purposes, I’ll dive a little deeper on the FBS teams in which he was coaching receivers, quarterbacks, or coordinating offenses.
Florida Gators Offense 2012 - 44th - Wide Receivers Coach
- Passing - 58th
- Passing Success Rate - 45th
- Passing Explosiveness - 71st
The 2012 Gators moved at a snail’s pace and threw only when they needed to. Quarterback Jeff Driskel only threw for 1,646 yards with the most targeted receiver on the year being the tight end Jordan Reed who had 62 targets and 45 catches . No receiver went over 400 yards with Quinton Dunbar having the most catches of the receiving corps with 36. Will Muschamp teams are not...ahem...renowned for their offensive prowess, so despite the high recruiting rankings and underwhelming results, I’m going to give Coach Hamdan a pass on this stop.
Arkansas State Red Wolves Offense 2013 - 100th - Co-Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks
- Rushing - 80th
- Passing - 89th
- Standard Downs - 84th
- Passing Downs - 94th
- Success Rate - 78th
- Explosiveness - 98th
- Quarterback - Adam Kennedy (SR): 217-314 (69.1%)/2,351 yards/11 TDs/6 INTs/28 sacks/6.4 yards per attempt
Hamdan and Drinkwitz had one year with the Red Wolves offense and did the best they could. They utilized transfer quarterback Adam Kennedy as a running supplement to underwhelming back David Oku and mixed in receiver J.D. McKissic in the run game as well. McKissic was also excellent at taking short passes and turning them into long gains while Julian Jones was the lone effective outside receiving threat. Mid-major offenses rarely rank super high but they maximized the weapons that they did have in interesting ways and won the Sun Belt.
Washington Huskies Offense 2016 - 12th - Wide Receivers Coach
- Passing - 6th
- Passing Success Rate - 7th
- Passing Explosiveness - 22nd
The Washington offense under coordinator Jonathan Smith was deliberate and balanced, choosing to run on most downs and utilizing the pass to keep defenses off balance. They had the amazing John Ross to break open defenses via his blazing speed and Dante Pettis was an incredible possession man. Both of those gentlemen are in the NFL but were middling three-star recruits so you can possibly cite some good development on Hamdan’s part of getting those guys to that level. Having an elite run game paired with an attack that, ya know, like to pass every once in a while certainly helps the passing performance as well. This was the Washington squad that made it the Playoff and easily the best team Hamdan has been a part of while being on the coaching staff.
Washington Offense 2018 - 34th - Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks
- Rushing - 34th
- Passing - 27th
- Standard Downs - 34th
- Passing Downs - 42nd
- Success Rate - 29th
- Explosiveness - 96th
- Quarterback - Jake Browning (SR): 252-388 (64.9%)/3,192 yards/16 TDs/10 INTs/23 sacks/7.35 yards per attempt
Hamdan took a sabbatical with the Atlanta Falcons and then came back to Seattle to guide Jake Browning and the transcendent seniors of Washington’s offense. In 2016 the offense of sophomores ranked 12th, in 2017 they ranked 8th, and then that same core under Hamdan fell to 34th in 2018. Browning, a four-year starting quarterback, performed just as well as he did in his earlier years, but everyone would have hoped that he would improve and be in Heisman contention. Instead his tendencies became more and more apparent as defensive coordinators figured out his reads and Hamdan did him no favors by being super predictable: running a lot on standard downs and passing a lot on passing downs. Washington was good at both running and passing but were an efficiency-based attack with almost no explosive weapons, particularly in the passing game. You don’t have to be explosive to be successful, but especially in the Pac 12 and SEC, teams need to have some sort of explosive threat to stay balanced. Aaron Fuller had the most targets of the receivers with 104 but only two other receivers had more than 10 targets and two of the three had a catch rate of barely over 50%, something that Mizzou fans can certainly commiserate with. The Huskies were held to 17 points or fewer three times (losing two of those games) and were fairly disappointing on the year. It was also Hamdan’s first crack at the OC position at the FBS level, so take that for what it’s worth.
Washington Offense 2019 - 24th - Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks
- Rushing - 49th
- Passing - 57th
- Standard Downs - 36th
- Passing Downs - 97th
- Success Rate - 22nd
- Explosiveness - 87th
- Quarterback - Jacob Eason (JR): 260-405 (64.2%)/3,132 yards/23 TDs/8 INTs/20 sacks/7.0 yards per attempt
In Hamdan’s second go-around of managing the offense, the Huskies improved in national SP+ ranking from 34th to 24th, but regressed in the core offensive categories. They improved marginally in success rate and explosiveness but were essentially the same team as the 2018 version. Despite new quarterback Jacbo Eason being taller, having a stronger arm, and being more mobile than Browning, his stat line essentially finished within a few points difference than Browning in every stat (with a much fewer interceptions). The receiving targets were spread out much more among the receivers and tight ends with everyone’s catch rate being somewhere between 60 and 75%. This was an efficiency-based attack (much like all other Chris Petersen teams) that was breaking in a lot of new faces but maintained a similar effectiveness. Of course, the wins also dropped from 10 to 8 and with more losses and four games with the offense held under 20 points, Hamdan was let go at the end of the year.
Here’s the TL;DR version:
- Worked with Eli Drinkwitz coordinating an offense before
- Has experience coordinating offenses at the P5 level
- Has developed receivers into NFL prospects
- Tends to bounce around jobs
- Hasn’t improved any offense he’s inherited
On paper, Coach Hamdan’s role is to mentor the quarterbacks and coach the receivers but I believe that his resume implies some management of the offense while Coach Drink manages the entire team. He’s had experience doing it before and has worked next to Drinkwitz in that exact role before. I’m sure Drink is going to call plays on gameday (given Hamdan’s performance at UW, I would endorse this decision), but it’ll be nice to have another set of eyes and ears to help manage the day to day activities. It’ll be interesting to see how he develops the Tigers’ receiving corps which will be super young and in need of a lot of guidance. Coach Hamdan will definitely have his hands full this year.