Alabama may not know who is throwing the football in 2015, but whomever wins the Crimson Tide starting quarterback job could have a steady target in Oregon State transfer wide receiver Richard Mullaney.
Mullaney reportedly visited Alabama on Monday per 247Sports.com, and it seems like a seamless fit even if the Tide lack a quarterback at present.
Richard Mullaney spent four years at Oregon State under Mike Riley. In that same time, the Beavers had just one quarterback: Sean Mannion. Both Riley and Mannion are gone, to Nebraska and the NFL respectively, and Gary Andersen’s since taken over in Corvallis.
Andersen is a spread coach, employing a style that’s a considerable departure from the pro-style philosophies that were Mike Riley’s hallmarks. Transitioning to his style is going to be a long process for Andersen, and to that end, the Beavers will likely play a true freshman quarterback in 2015, Seth Collins.
With just one season of eligibility remaining, and needing to stand out after missing much of a 2014 that was supposed to be his coming-out party, Richard Mullaney is smart to transfer into a program with offensive principles to which he is more accustomed.
I’ve expressed my doubts about Lane Kiffin’s overall body-of-work as an offensive playcaller, but two indisputable facts about the Alabama coordinator that work in Richard Mullaney’s favor, should he head to Tuscaloosa: 1. Kiffin is a pro-style coach.
Nick Saban tabbed the ousted USC head coach to run the Tide’s offense because Kiffin is well-versed in the blocking schemes, playbook verbiage and strategies of a traditional offense.
Kiffin and Riley are both branches from the USC coaching tree. While each worked as an assistant there in a different era — Riley in the mid-1990s under John Robinson, Kiffin during the 2000s for Pete Carroll — the approaches were largely unchanged in that time.
2. Like Kiffin, Riley’s offenses have often showcased a standout receiver who is the cornerstone of the entire passing attack. Richard Mullaney was in line to succeed Brandin Cooks, who succeeded Markus Wheaton, who succeeded James Rodgers at Oregon State.
However, the elbow injury he sustained midway through last season prevented Mullaney’s emergence.
At 6-foot-3 and a little over 200 pounds, Mullaney drew comparisons to another Mike Riley-coached Beaver great, Mike Hass, as Mullaney explained to The Oregonian last season:
“Just right when I got here, people started comparing me to him and I was just like, “Oh, who is this guy?” I just watched him and I was like, “Wow, we’re pretty similar.”
Hass caught for more than 1,000 yards in each of his three seasons at Oregon State, including 1,532 in 2005. If the comparisons prove prescient, Richard Mullaney could be the next guy Kiffin leans on for major production, a la Robert Woods, Marqise Lee or Amari Cooper.
And with Cooper out of the Alabama lineup, the Tide need someone to fill that role. The Heisman Trophy finalist went for 1,727 yards and 16 touchdowns last season, and is far-and-away the leader of a corps that lost its top three targets from the 2014 lineup.
We’re speaking in hypotheticals here — Mullaney just announced his transfer on Friday and is anything but a commit to Alabama at this time — but his addition would be a huge boon to Alabama’s passing offense in 2015. Now, if only the Crimson Tide get their quarterback…