Despite the fact that he’s never spent time as a coordinator, let alone a head coach, odds-makers have tabbed Al Washington as the favorite to fill the Boston College head coaching vacancy.
Washington is currently the linebackers coach of the #1 ranked Ohio State Buckeyes, where his father played college ball (it is also the former employer of AD Martin Jarmond). BC fans are very familiar with both Washington, who played defensive tackle for the Eagles from 2002-2005, and OSU coach Ryan Day, who seems to rejoin the BC staff every three years or so (unfortunately those dalliances may be over). Day was a general assistant when Washington was playing for the Eagles, and when Day came back as offensive coordinator in 2013-2014, Washington served as running backs coach.
Why he’d be interested:
Why would Washington stray from his hometown, the blossoming Day tree, and the best team in the country? Because it’s a promotion, duh. Washington has bounced around quite a bit over the past four years:
2016: Defensive Line Coach - BC
2017: Defensive Line Coach - Cincinnati
2018: Linebackers Coach - Michigan
2019: Linebackers Coach - Ohio State
This would be an opportunity to skip the coordinator phase of his career, and settle into the big office with the big salary. Washington knows BC well, so the cultural transition would be simple, allowing him to focus on the professional development aspect.
Why it could work:
Washington brings a mix of familiarity with the program and a fresh start. At 35, he would be one of the youngest head coaches in the FBS, but he’s already spent valuable time under the tutelage of Day, Don Brown, Jim Harbaugh, Luke Fickell, ***whispering quickly now*** Steve Addazio, Frank Spaziani, Tom O’Brien, etc. If Washington is the guy, he would be wise to fill out his staff with experienced coaches/recruiters. Retaining Mike Bajakian would be a good start. Current defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan isn’t short on experience, but his career defensive coordinator output look like this:
2009 New York Giants 30 of 32 in points allowed
2012 Tampa Bay Bucs 23 of 32 in points allowed
2013 Tampa Bay Bucs 21 of 32 in points allowed
2019 Boston College 96 of 130 in points allowed
Granted this was a very inexperienced defense and it’s tough to translate the pro experience to college, but perhaps bringing in a DC with some head coaching experience who could double as a consigliere would be beneficial. Some folks have floated a Don Brown/Al Washington combo, but I’d be surprised if Jarmond managed to lure both of them back to the Heights right now.
Why it could flop:
Experience. There’s just not much of a track record to look at. Can he recruit? Manage the clock? Galvanize the existing guys? Connect with students and alumni? Hire a team of assistants that will set him up for success?
I don’t think anyone can really know, and that’s what makes Al Washington a risky hire. But what I wouldn’t give for a little lightning in a bottle.