As South Carolina closes in on hiring its next football coach, ESPN personality Tom Luginbill offered a name that could be outside of the Gamecocks’ current target list.
“I look at South Carolina and I think, ‘What do they need?’ ” Luginbill said on The Paul Finebaum Show. “They need an identity. They need something that’s exciting, maybe fast-paced, little bit of a shift from what we’ve seen who’s out there. The first name that comes to mind is Dino Babers.”
The 54-year-old Babers is in his second season as the head coach at Bowling Green, which has won the last three Mid-American Conference East titles (two under Babers) and will play for the league title again this week.
A practitioner of the dynamic Art Briles offense from Baylor, he’s gone 36-16 at two stops, with two conference titles and two division titles in four years. He’s had the benefit of inheriting top-flight quarterbacks at each stop (NFL backup Jimmy Garoppolo at Eastern Illinois and Matt Johnson at Bowling Green).
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Bowling Green this year is third in nation in total offense (566 yards per game) and passing offense (387.8) and fourth in points per game (44.2).
Babers has been linked to other job openings this offseason, including Maryland and UCF. He was previously head coach at Eastern Illinois.
“You’ve got a team at Bowling Green that’s been exceptional on offense, fastest team in all of college football. You have the Baylor roots there,” Luginbill said. “You bring that whole scheme and the excitement of it. You go to Eastern Illinois you dominate the conference. You go to Bowling Green and you’re playing lights out. You look at guy like that, and you’ve got to be pretty excited if you’re a South Carolina fan.”