After three seasons at Oregon, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Marcus Arroyo has agreed to become the new head coach at UNLV.
Arroyo’s salary at Oregon was $825,000, the third highest Pac-12 Conference assistant salary. Arroyo's contract does have a buyout that would require the coach to pay 20% of his guaranteed salary remaining but that is waived because Arroyo took a head coaching position at the FBS level, which UNLV is a part of.
Why UNLV? Why now?
Arroyo’s head coaching aspirations are realized at UNLV in the Mountain West Conference. The 39-year-old has ties to the Mountain West, playing quarterback at San Jose State (1998-2002), coaching quarterbacks at San Jose State (2006-2008) and coaching quarterbacks/offensive coordinator at Wyoming (2009-10).
He’s raking over a Rebels program with some shiny new facilities and recruiting tools (something Arroyo is used to at Oregon). UNLV’s priority was to hire a head coach before early signing period for the 2020 class occurs from December 18-20. The Rebels have 10 players committed for what 247Sports ranks as the Mountain West’s No. 3 class.
The Rebels recently opened a $34.8 million, 73,000-square-foot Fertitta Football Complex, a likely recruiting highlight for his new staff.
Arroyo takes over a program with three winning seasons in 27 years. Tony Sanchez went 20-40 over five seasons before being officially fired Nov. 25.
Oregon fans developed a strong dislike towards Arroyo this season.
“Why did the Ducks throw downfield more against Auburn?”
“Where is the play-calling creativity?”
“Why are Arroyo’s play calls so predictable? One-dimensional?
“How come there aren’t many explosive plays?”
Some fans go as far to say that Arroyo didn’t develop senior quarterback Justin Herbert to his full potential.
In reality, Oregon’s offense has improved over Arroyo’s tenure and much of the “lackluster-ness” is due to UO coach Mario Cristobal’s strength and power offense designed to dominate the trenches and pound the ground.
Coming off possibly his best play calling performance in Oregon’s 37-15 win over Utah, Arroyo’s offense averaged 35.2 points per game this season. That ranked second in the Pac-12 Conference behind Washington State’s air raid. Arroyo coached Herbert to 3,333 yards passing with 32 touchdowns and only five interceptions. Running back CJ Verdell reached 1,000 yards rushing for his second-straight season. 2019 marked the second consecutive year and fourth time in program history that Oregon has had a 3,000-yard passer and 1,000-yard rusher in the same season. The Ducks also lead the nation with number of players with a touchdown (19) and number of players with a receiving touchdown (12).
The proof is in the pudding... Oregon is 11-2, won the Pac-12 title and has a chance to win its first Rose Bowl since 2014.
What impact does this have?
With Justin Herbert NFL bound in April, Oregon’s offense will be likely run by quarterback Tyler Shough in 2020. Herbert’s heir, Shough, was recruited by Arroyo.
As evident with Herbert, who sustained three different head coaches throughout his Oregon career, coaching turnover can stunt growth and slow progress.
It’s expected that Cristobal will stick to his offensive philosophy but coaching turnover will undoubtably have an affect on Shough, who has spent two seasons with Arroyo. A big question mark is how much of an affect? Will Shough have to learn a new offense over the summer with a matchup against Ohio State looming in non-conference play?
[READ: Dana Shough's fight and win over breast cancer the "largest championship game" she's ever been in]
As with any coaching change, the 2020 recruiting class may be effected as recruiting sharks will emerge in attempt to steer prospects to other Pac-12 coaches. Oregon’s class currently ranks No. 1 in the Pac-12 and No. 11 in the nation. With Cristobal’s recruiting prowess, I wouldn’t expect UO to take too big of a hit.
Other notable current Ducks who were recruited by Arroyo: wide receivers Mycah Pittman, Josh Delgado and JR Waters.
Who could be replacement?
Oregon has a few candidates in house that could be promoted within, like running backs coach Jim Mastro. However, if I were a betting woman, I’d say the Ducks will open up a nation wide search.