A familiar nemesis for the Texas Longhorns won’t be calling plays for the Missouri Tigers in the Texas Bowl late this month, as offensive coordinator Josh Heupel was named the Central Florida Golden Knights head coach on Tuesday, replacing Scott Frost.
Heupel led the Oklahoma Sooners to a national championship in 2000 as the Associated Press Player of the year running Mike Leach’s offense. After a short NFL career, Heupel returned to Norman as a graduate assistant and rose through the ranks to become the co-offensive coordinator from 2011-2014.
A bad loss to Clemson in the Russell Athletic Bowl in 2014, however, ended Heupel’s coaching career with Oklahoma, though he quickly resurfaced with Missouri a year later.
The offensive onslaught orchestrated by Heupel and led by star quarterback Drew Lock prompted Texas head coach Tom Herman to declare on Sunday that Missouri is “playing some of the best football in the country right now.”
Here’s the take from SB Nation’s Bill Connelly on Heupel’s time at Missouri:
As Missouri offensive coordinator, his offense ranked fourth in my adjusted pace metric. And once they began finding a couple of advantages in the middle of 2017, Heupel found an incredible play-calling rhythm. Missouri averaged 51.3 points per game over the last six games of the season, all wins.
Heupel inherited a destitute offense that had ranked just 120th in Off. S&P+ in 2015, before his arrival, and had averaged eight points per game over its last seven contests. In 2016, the Tigers battled predictable inconsistency but still improved to 42nd in Off. S&P+ and 48th in scoring offense.
That success helped land Heupel his first head coaching job, but will force Missouri to find a new play caller for the bowl game, which could be good news for Texas.