Hi there, Coug fans!
Your Washington State Cougars have been busy in the ten (10) days since football was last played, with rumors of a new potential edge coach, and now a potential new offensive coordinator? Pinch us!
Let’s take a look at the QB coach / offensive coordinator Jake Dickert might have in mind for the job.
It was tweeted by Bruce Feldman (linked below) just after 4pm today, 12/27.
SOURCES: WAZZU is targeting WKU OC/QBs coach Ben Arbuckle to become its new OC. The 27-year-old had a terrific debut season at WKU and his offense put up almost 700 yards vs a Top 20 defense at South Alabama in their bowl win last week. WKU is No. 6 in the nation in offense.— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) December 28, 2022
Ben Arbuckle comes from Texas originally, having played quarterback at West Texas A&M University. There, he racked up 1,241 yards and 15 touchdowns his junior season. You can find his more comprehensive college stats here, though I will warn you- it’s from 2016/17, and that may alarm some people.
He then joined Houston Baptist University as an offensive quality control assistant. If you’re like me, you’re wondering what on earth that position is. Essentially, it’s preparing a team for a game, in terms of opponent game film, stats, and any other prevalent information. I also call it “what you do before your friend goes on a first date”.
Arbuckle then pivoted after two years to take an offensive coordinator / QB coaching position at Seminole High School in Texas, where he stayed for one year before being offered another quality control coach, this time at Western Kentucky. He would then climb the ladder there, after previous mentor Zach Kittley (whom he had worked with at Houston Baptist) left the program for Texas Tech.
Now- stay with me for this next string of coincidences.
In a sort of full circle moment, Arbuckle worked under Kittley, who was under the wing of Kliff Kingsbury, the first true star in Mike Leach’s constellation of quarterbacks.
The offensive system Arbuckle and head coach Tyson Helton ran this past season would not exactly be described as an “Air Raid”, due to their ability to run the ball on occasion, and their usage of tight ends. But, it had some Air Raid-esque numbers that might ring familiar for a tried and true Leach fan. For example, WKU ran 2,031 yards on the ground, but had more than double that in passing, with 4,929 in the air.
When you look at the number of touchdowns specifically, they had 43 passing versus 15 rushing. Hitting home for anyone else?
In terms of further similar offense systems, WSU gave up 33 sacks for a combined 238 yards, and Arbuckle’s offense had 32 sacks for a combined 214 yards. This isn’t a fan favorite stat, but it piqued my interest, so I figured I’d share.
Onto more fun information- WKU’s 3rd down conversion rate was 41.5%, a whopping 5.5% higher than ours, and we all know that a handful more plays gone our way would have made all the difference this season.
In terms of teams entering the red zone, WKU made their way down 60 times versus a WSU 48, granted- the Cougs performed better under pressure, with 92% touchdown rate compared to WKU’s 80%. In my entirely unprofessional opinion, this is obviously going to guarantee both more trips down to the red zone, and more touchdowns, which means more winning. This is science.
In G5 offenses, WKU was number 1 through week 15. They also ended the season in the top 10 yards per game leaders, with some very unfortunate company.
The final College Football offensive yards per game leaders. Who stood out the most? #cfb #CollegeFootball #ncaa #ncaaf pic.twitter.com/HmjzgjKFdy— JWP Sports (@JWPSports) December 1, 2022
In fact, the Western Kentucky quarterback Austin Reed landed the number two spot on college football passing yard leaders (as of November 24th) with 3,837 total yards. He fell just short of someone who I will not name, because he attends and plays for the bad place, and they’ve taken enough of my energy this year.
Reed put his name in the transfer portal recently, but then retracted it.
Overall, this could be a really exciting hire! While Ben Arbuckle might not have as lengthy of a resume as the next guy, he offers a potential to grow and build the program in a dynamic yet comforting way. Everyone get ready to give him a warm welcome! Go Cougs!