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Teel Time: U.Va. coordinator Fairchild directed prolific offenses at Colorado State, in NFL

As money managers are fond of reminding us, past returns are no guarantee of future returns. Same goes for coaches, football and otherwise.

But if Steve Fairchild’s most recent nine seasons as an offensive coordinator are any indicator, and if Virginia can develop and recruit talent to play his diverse attack, then the Cavaliers’ offense should thrive under his direction.

Virginia announced the 54-year-old Fairchild as its offensive coordinator Wednesday, one day after making Bill Lazor’s exit to the Philadelphia Eagles official.

Fairchild was available because he was part of the San Diego Chargers staff fired along with coach Norv Turner this offseason. His four seasons as head coach at Colorado State, his alma mater, were trying as the Rams went 16-33 from 2008-11 and struggled on both sides of the ball.

But in Fairchild’s four seasons as offensive coordinator, 1997-2000, Colorado State ranked among the nation’s top 40 in scoring every year, a level Virginia hasn’t reached since 2004. The Rams ranked as high as 13th nationally in rushing, as high as 28th in passing, showing balance and the ability to adjust to personnel.

Not coincidentally, Colorado State won at least eight games in each of those seasons and cracked the Associated Press final top 25 twice.

Fairchild’s most notable group was in 1997, when Kevin McDougal and Damon Washington rushed for more than 1,100 yards each, while quarterback Moses Moreno threw for 2,252 yards and 20 touchdowns.

In three seasons as the St. Louis Rams’ coordinator, 2003-05, Fairchild was part of two playoff teams. The Rams ranked among the NFL’s top-five passing offenses each year and among the top-10 total offenses.

Those squads featured quarterback Marc Bulger, running back Marshall Faulk and receivers Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt.

Not surprisingly, Fairchild was far less effective as the Buffalo Bills’ offensive coordinator in 2006 and ’07. The Bills’ personnel included quarterbacks J.P. Losman and Trent Edwards, running backs Willis McGahee and Marshawn Lynch, and receiver Lee Evans.

Below are charts on Fairchild’s seasons as coordinator at Colorado State, the St. Louis Rams and Buffalo Bills. The Colorado State chart shows its rankings among 120-plus Division I-A teams. The NFL rankings are among 32 teams.

COLORADO STATE

                Rush      Pass       Total      Scoring Team Record

1997       13           61           18           8              11-2*

1998       48           43           40           39           8-4

1999       49           53           60           30           8-4**

2000       67           28           48           31           10-2***

* Defeated Missouri in Holiday Bowl, finished 17th in Associated Press top 25.

** Lost to Southern Mississippi in Liberty Bowl.

*** Defeated Louisville in Liberty Bowl, ranked 14th in final AP poll.

 

ST. LOUIS RAMS

                Rush      Pass       Total      Scoring Team Record

2003       30           3              9              3              12-4*

2004       25           5              6              19           8-8**

2005       22           4              9              11           6-10

* St. Louis lost its opening playoff game, at home to Carolina in double-overtime, in the divisional round.

** The Rams defeated Seattle on the road in the wild-card round before losing at Atlanta in the divisional round.

 

BUFFALO BILLS

                Rush      Pass       Total      Scoring Team Record

2006       27           28           30           23           7-9

2007       15           30           30           30           7-9

 

Here are Virginia’s national offensive rankings the last three seasons under Lazor.

                Rush      Pass       Total      Scoring Team Record

2010       77           25           37           75           4-8

2011       52           56           46           86           8-5

2012       96           37           62           93           4-8

The Cavaliers haven’t finished among the top 50 in scoring since 2004, when they were 27th. Their average ranking the last eight seasons is 91.6.

Fairchild’s history says those numbers are likely to improve, if, and this can’t be stressed enough, Virginia can assemble the requisite talent.    

 I can be reached at 247-4636 or by e-mail at dteel@dailypress.com. Follow me at twitter.com/DavidTeelatDP

Here’s a link to my Daily Press print columns.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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