Oregon Ducks OL Wish List: 10 candidates to replace Adrian Klemm in Eugene

News came out on Monday morning that the Oregon Ducks were losing offensive line coach Adrian Klemm, who was heading to the NFL and accepting a job with the New England Patriots. It is undoubtedly a great move for Klemm, and the right step in his career, but it also leaves Dan Lanning and the Ducks in a tough spot when it comes to filling out that spot on the coaching staff in an expedient fashion that has the team ready to roll when spring football comes around in a month.

Fortunately for Oregon, this coaching move comes after the recruiting cycle has closed, and well before the next transfer portal window opens. Once the Ducks do make a hire, they will have 15 practices to get everyone on the same page in the offensive trenches and head into the season hoping to boast one of the top lines in the nation once again.

So who will the Ducks end up hiring to fill Klemm’s shoes? That’s the million-dollar question. While media members can throw out names and put out lists of potential candidates, we’ve seen Lanning make a number of hires in the past that could easily be considered off the radar. Nobody had UTSA’s Will Stein, or Tulane’s Chris Hampton on their radar before Lanning hired them, and there’s a good chance that the OL coach will fit the same billing.

What we do know, though, is that Lanning likes to hire coaches who have a connection to the program, whether it be via a relationship with him or another coach on the staff. In order to try and find some candidates that fit that mold, I went back through Oregon’s offensive staff history and tried to find some OL coaching candidates who might make sense for the Ducks.

Here’s my list of potential coaches that Oregon could look at to take over as the next OL coach:

Matt Luke

Current Position: N/A (Stepped away from Georgia after the Bulldogs’ national championship win in February of 2022 in order to spend more time with his family.)

Notable Career Stops

  • Head Coach | Ole Miss Rebels (2017-2019)

  • Co-OC, OL Coach | Ole Miss Rebels (2012-2016)

  • Assistant Head Coach, OL Coach | Georgia Bulldogs (2020-2021)

Connection to Oregon: Dan Lanning and the Oregon Ducks would have to talk Luke out of retirement in order to get him to Eugene to take over as the offensive line coach, but he is arguably one of the biggest potential names that I came across. Luke and Lanning won a national championship together at Georgia, and Luke also holds head coaching experience at Ole Miss as well.

TJ Woods

(Photo by Chris Thelen/Getty Images)

Current Position: OL Coach for Georgia Southern Eagles

Notable Career Stops

  • Co-OC, OL Coach | UNLV Rebels (2020-2021)

  • OL Coach | Utah State Aggies (2019)

  • OL Coach | Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (2017-2018)

  • OL Coach | Oregon State Beavers (2013-2016)

Connection to Oregon: Obviously, Woods is familiar with the state of Oregon after spending three seasons with the Oregon State Beavers last decade, helping coach four All-Pac-12 linemen and sending two guys to the NFL. However, the closer connection comes at Western Kentucky, where Woods was the OL coach alongside Oregon co-OC and WR Coach Junior Adams, who held the same position with the Hilltoppers.

Viane Talamaivoa

Current Position: OL Coach for Northern Arizona Lumberjacks

Notable Career Stops

  • Offensive Analyst | Oregon Ducks (2022)

  • Graduate Assistant | USC Trojans (2019-2021)

Connection to Oregon: Viane Talamaivoa was a notable loss for Oregon’s coaching staff this offseason, as the offensive analyst went to Northern Arizona to take over as the OL coach, which was a huge step in his career. Of course, if the Ducks were to try and maintain some continuity and hire “from within” — technically Talamaivoa is no longer part of the program, but you understand what I mean — then this move could make sense. I think that it would have been more likely to happen had the move to NAU hadn’t already taken place, though.

Stephen Hamby

Current Position: OL Coach for Texas Tech Red Raiders

Notable Career Stops

  • OL Coach | Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (2021)

  • OL Coach | Bowling Green (2016-2018)

Connection to Oregon: Another Western Kentucky connection, this time with current Oregon RB coach Carlos Locklyn, who worked alongside Hamby in 2021 when the Hilltoppers had the No. 2 scoring offense and total offense in the nation. Hamby returned to Texas Tech in 2022 as the OL coach after starting his coaching career in Lubbock as an assistant.

Alex Atkins

Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Current Position: Offensive Coordinator for Florida State Seminoles

Notable Career Stops

  • OC, OL Coach | Florida State Seminoles (2022)

  • OL Coach | Florida State Seminoles (2020-2021

  • OL Coach, Run Game Coordinator | Tulane (2016-2018)

Connection to Oregon: There are a couple of Oregon connections here, but Atkins may be among the toughest candidates to pull away from his current position. Oregon’s RB coach Carlos Locklyn worked on the staff under Mike Norvell and Atkins in 2020, as did former Oregon OC Kenny Dillingham. Atkins is also familiar with new Ducks’ safeties coach and co-DC Chris Hampton from their time together on the Tulane coaching staff. Of course, Florida State is projected to be an elite team in 2023, with a potential Heisman candidate QB in Jordan Travis leading the offense.

Matt Mattox

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Current Position: OL Coach for Purdue Boilermakers

Notable Career Stops

  • Co-OC, OL Coach | UTSA Road-Runners (2020-2022)

  • OL Coach | South Florida (2017-2018)

  • OL Coach | Texas Longhorns (2016)

Connection to Oregon: This may be one of the candidates who end up having the most buzz surrounding him. After working closely alongside current Oregon OC Will Stein both at UTSA for three seasons, and at Texas for a season, there is likely a close relationship there. Stein could end up pushing Mattox as a candidate, but the fact that Mattox took the OL job with Purdue earlier this offseason could complicate things.

AJ Blazek

Current Position: OL Coach for Vanderbilt Commodores

Notable Career Stops

  • OL Coach | North Dakota State (2019-2020)

  • OL Coach | Rutgers (2015-2018)

Connection to Oregon: AJ Blazek has the accolades of helping North Dakota State win an FCS Championship in 2019, but his connection to Oregon comes from his time at Rutgers, where he worked under current Oregon co-OC and TE coach Drew Mehringer, who was the OC and QB coach at the time.

Chris Klenakis

Beth Hall-USA TODAY Sports

Current Position: OL Coach for Liberty Flames

Notable Career Stops

  • OL Coach | Arkansas Razorbacks (2010-2012)

  • OL Coach | Louisville Cardinals (2013-2018)

Connection to Oregon: This is another Will Stein connection for the Ducks. Chris Klenakis is a veteran developer who was the OL coach for the Louisville Cardinals when Stein started his coaching career as a graduate assistant and eventually an offensive analyst in 2013 and 2014.

Herb Hand

Current Position: OL Coach for Central Florida

Notable Career Stops

  • Co-OC, OL Coach | Texas (2018-2020)

  • OL Coach | Auburn (2016-2017)

  • OL Coach | Penn State (2014-2015)

Connection to Oregon: This is another connection to co-OC and TE coach Drew Mehringer at Oregon. The two worked together during their stint with the Texas Longhorns in 2017, and Hand also is familiar with the Gus Malzahn/Kenny Dillingham offensive philosophy from his time at Auburn as well.

Jeff Norrid

Current Position: OL Coach for Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns

Notable Career Stops

  • OL Coach | Florida Atlantic (2018-2020)

  • Offensive Analyst | Auburn (2016-2017)

Connection to Oregon: Jeff Norrid was the offensive line coach for Florida Atlantic under Willie Taggart in 2020, working under co-OC Drew Mehringer. Norrid also is part of the Gus Malzahn tree, working as an analyst for Auburn before his time at FAU.

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Story originally appeared on Ducks Wire