UGA fans might want to stick around to watch Stanford, whose offense is coordinated by a former FSU player named Mike Bloomgren.— Dawg Sports (@dawgsports) December 31, 2014
@cpgraham5 If Richt goes with a PAC 12 guy, could do much worse than Mike Bloomgren from Stanford.— Dawg Sports (@dawgsports) December 28, 2014
There have been a lot of names thrown around so far for the vacant offensive coordinator position, but by and large they have been guys with a particular combination of attributes. A penchant for pro-style attacks. A prior connection to Coach Richt. Solid recruiting skills. An ability to coach either offensive line or quarterbacks. A coaching "pedigree", the kind that let's you nod seriously and say "he's a (Saban/Meyer/Kelly) guy."And a certain "wow" factor, the ability to make fans (and recruits) excited when his name is announced.
One guy who checks all of these boxes, and has therefore been considered a possibility almost from the word go is Stanford offensive coordinator Mike Bloomgren. Let's look a little closer at why Bloomgren has emerged as one of the leading candidates for the job.
Bloomgren attended Florida State and served as an undergraduate assistant to Bobby Bowden in the late 90's while Mark Richt was still in Tallahassee (I'm not sure he actually suited up for the Seminoles, so that top tweet is a little off. Mea Culpa.). Their tenures didn't overlap by that much, but enough that there's no doubt Richt knows him as more than just a name on a list of AFCA conference attendees.
More recently, Bloomgren served first as offensive line coach (check that box) and run game coordinator at Stanford. He was elevated to offensive coordinator and associate head coach by David Shaw in 2013 to replace Pep Hamilton, who left to take the OC position with the Indianapolis Colts.
Bloomgren arrived in Palo Alto from the New York Jets, where he moved from offensive quality control assistant to assistant offensive coordinator over the course of a four year tenure. This gives him another thing that Richt has shown an affinity for in past hires: NFL experience. Interestingly, Bloomgren worked in New York under another guy whose name has been tied to the Bulldogs' opening: current St. Louis Rams OC Brian Schottenheimer.
Bloomgren's recruiting territory for the Cardinal includes northern Florida (he's a native of Tallahassee) and south Georgia, allowing him to move into Mike Bobo's former territory. Bloomgren by the way was among the top ranked assistant coaches (third highest from a non-SEC school) in 247Sports' 2014 rankings of college recruiters, 8 spots ahead of Mike Bobo. He has a reputation as a great recruiter to back that ranking up, and has pulled highly-ranked recruits to Stanford from all over the country.
In terms of influences, Bloomgren was named offensive coordinator at Stanford by David Shaw, who promoted him from the position of run game coordinator which he held under Jim Harbaugh (edit: Shaw was the one who brought in Bloomgren, making him a branch off the Harbaugh coaching tree, not a direct Harbaugh assistant. H/T, DocSkranj). As you may have noticed, Harbaugh's name is about the biggest one out there right now in the college football landscape. That doesn't hurt with that "wow" factor and "pedigree" elements we discussed above.
Finally, let's talk style. If you'd like to know a little about what Bloomgren's thoughts are on offensive game planning, take a look at this interview from just prior to his ascension to the OC spot at Stanford. Or this article from a presentation he gave on Stanford's power running game. Bloomgren was also one of the architects of the spread of the "Wildcat" formation in the NFL while he was with the Jets (Bloomgren also authored an interesting paper titled "Fundamental Principles of the Wildcat Offense", by the way). But with Bloomgren you know you're getting the three tight end, H-back heavy offense he's helped orchestrate at Stanford. With Georgia's current offensive personnel that sort of thing makes complete sense.
The one question mark with Bloomgren is an important one: the production of his Stanford offenses. In 2013 they were 9th in the Pac-12 in total offense and 7th in scoring offense. 2014, with injuries and attrition up front, was significantly worse. Bloomgren would be the ultimate just dessert for Bulldog fans who have shrieked that the raw number of points on the scoreboard doesn't tell the whole story. There's every reason to believe that the Red and Black would score fewer points under Bloomgren than they did under Mike Bobo. But if the Bulldog defense is allowed to stay fresh because the offense is chewing up clock and controlling field position, people might not complain. Well, they will, but at least they'll be complaining about something different.
Would Bloomgren move to Georgia? Who knows? One of the issues we have is that Stanford, as a private school, doesn't release salary data. The guy could make $4,000,000 a year for all we know. But it sounds like David Shaw does maintain a good bit of involvement in the offense, and Mark Richt might be able to offer a little more autonomy. What I do know is that if you're looking for a guy who has all the things that Mark Richt is likely looking for, Bloomgren's your guy. Until latter . . .