Brian Howell BuffZone.com
Brian Howell BuffZone.com

It's that wonderful time of year in college football when the coaching carousel is spinning like crazy.

Fans of winning teams hope their assistants don't get plucked away by other programs. Fans of losing programs are ready to find real estate agents for their coaches.

Colorado fans are among those filling out a wish list right now, and it starts at offensive coordinator. (Actually, for many, it starts with getting rid of head coach Mike MacIntyre, but that isn't going to happen.)

We do know that MacIntyre has at least one spot to fill, after receivers coach Troy Walters left CU this week to join the staff at Central Florida. MacIntyre's offseason plan doesn't need to include a staff overhaul, though.

In fact, losing Walters might impact CU's offseason game plan.

If MacIntyre is thinking of replacing offensive coordinator Brian Lindgren, one of his best options was Walters, who is a popular coach and skilled recruiter.

With Walters out of the picture in Boulder, though, it's best for CU to stick with Lindgren and aim for improvement, rather than change.

Keep in mind, Lindgren is the same man who guided San Jose State to its best offensive season in years in 2012. Then, he was the architect of a CU offense that improved dramatically in 2013, the first season for MacIntyre and his staff in Boulder.

Lindgren guided the Buffs to even more improvement in 2014, setting 110 individual and 24 team records along the way.


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This season, the Buffs failed to meet expectations and went the other direction, slipping to 24.6 points per game. But, it's unfair to place all of that on Lindgren.

Several injuries led to the Buffs never having any continuity with its offensive line. They used eight different starting combinations up front. That, in itself, made this season a tough one for the CU offense.

Essentially playing the final three games without starting quarterback Sefo Liufau hurt this team, too.

Aside from the injuries, there were numerous times when poor execution prevented the Buffs from scoring more points.

None of that excuses Lindgren from blame for CU's struggles.

Some of his play calls were questionable, including his propensity to call a sweep — often for zero or negative yards — near the goal line or his inability to make the tight ends a bigger part of the offense, despite them picking up 10-plus yards nearly every time they touched the ball.

On the flip side, Lindgren adjusted his offense to take advantage of Liufau's size and running ability, and he came up with good game plans that had the Buffs in position for upsets against UCLA and USC.

CU's quarterback situation, coupled with MacIntyre's future status, may be the best reason for keeping Lindgren.

The 2016 season is likely a make-or-break year for MacIntyre. With Liufau out until at least next summer with a foot injury, the Buffs will rely on a trio of inexperienced quarterbacks (Cade Apsay, Jordan Gehrke and Steven Montez) to carry the load during spring ball, and maybe into the fall.

The quarterbacks have a better chance to succeed in 2016 if they spend their offseason fine-tuning their knowledge of Lindgren's offense instead of learning a whole new playbook.

At 35, Lindgren is still a young coach, and until this year, he's had a track record of success. While this past season was a disappointment, and many fans would love to see Lindgren on his way out, one tough season shouldn't lead MacIntyre to jump on the coaching carousel to find a replacement.

CU's got a lot of work to do this offseason, but finding a new offensive coordinator shouldn't be a priority.

Brian Howell: howellb@dailycamera.com, on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.