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How USF football coach Alex Golesh affects Hendon Hooker’s NFL draft stock

Apparently the Tennessee offense was too good under Josh Heupel and Alex Golesh?
 
NFL draft prospect Hendon Hooker starred at Tennessee under new USF football coach Alex Golesh.
NFL draft prospect Hendon Hooker starred at Tennessee under new USF football coach Alex Golesh. [ WADE PAYNE | AP ]
Published April 27, 2023

If Hendon Hooker isn’t picked in the NFL draft’s first round tonight, blame new USF football coach Alex Golesh. The offense he coordinated at Tennessee was simply too good.

Read between the lines of some draft analysts long enough, and it doesn’t take much of a reach to get to that ridiculous-sounding conclusion.

“(Hooker) comes out of a quarterback-friendly offense…” ESPN analyst Mel Kiper said recently. “By that I mean, get the ball out quick in the shotgun. Great receivers to throw to. Great offensive line.”

Add in a couple quality backs, and you can see why the Volunteers broke through last year under former UCF coach Josh Heupel. That, apparently, is a knock on Hooker because he didn’t have to move around much in the pocket or show scouts that he can go through his progressions.

New USF football coach Alex Golesh coordinated Tennessee's explosive offense with Hendon Hooker.
New USF football coach Alex Golesh coordinated Tennessee's explosive offense with Hendon Hooker. [ WADE PAYNE | AP (2022) ]

Kiper also pointed out that Hooker’s backup, Joe Milton “lit up” Clemson in the Orange Bowl, despite the Volunteers being down their top two receivers.

“The system allowed him to have great success…” Kiper said.

The system was installed by Heupel and Golesh, who recruited good players and put them in schemes that gave them a good chance to succeed. And now it sounds like a negative for their former star quarterback.

It is not, however, a negative for the program Golesh took over. If the Bulls’ biggest problem two years from now is that Byrum Brown’s draft stock is lower than it should be because USF’s offense was too effective, then Golesh will be in line for a massive new contract.

For now, keep these ideas in mind as the talking heads discuss Hooker (a potential Bucs option at No. 19) tonight.

As Hooker told reporters at the scouting combine: “It’s not my fault that my first read is getting open.”

That’s the fault of UCF’s old coach and USF’s new one.

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