Arizona State football to run a ‘multiple’ offense under OC Beau Baldwin
With the hiring of Beau Baldwin, the Arizona State Sun Devils are on their third offensive coordinator in as many years.
Baldwin joins ASU from Cal Poly after three years as head coach from 2020-22.
The 50-year-old’s 4-21 record over the last three seasons won’t impress anybody, his offensive philosophy at Eastern Washington as offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach from 2003-06 and then as head coach from 2008-16 is what caught the eye of new Arizona State head coach Kenny Dillingham.
Baldwin went 10-3 in one season as head coach of Central Washington in 2007 before going 85-32 at the helm of Eastern Washington, where he won the 2010 FCS National Championship and had three more semifinal appearances.
“He’s a phenomenal coach. He’s one of the smartest people I’ve ever talked ball with,” Dillingham told State of the Sun Devils, an Arizona Sports podcast, on Dec. 7. “I firmly believe creating a game plan, creating a system is the key to offense. … Systems are what creates success. Teaching progressions of how you teach is what creates success, not necessarily the person calling the plays on gameday.
“This is a guy who is a phenomenal football coach. He’s won a national championship as a head coach. He can lead men. Me and him have a very similar offensive philosophy. We’re going to install the offense I believe in. We’re going to add a few of his things, a few of our wideout coach’s (Ra’Shaad Samples) things, a few of coach (Shaun) Aguano’s things. We’re going to mold this together to build the best thing we can possibly build.”
From a player-development standpoint, the biggest name the offensive coordinator has coached is Los Angeles Rams All-Pro wide receiver Cooper Kupp, who played for Baldwin at Eastern Washington from 2012-16. The wideout set FCS records for receptions (428) and receiving yards (6,464) in a career.
Baldwin also served as offensive coordinator for the Pac-12’s California Golden Bears from 2017-19.
So what type of offense should Sun Devils fans be expecting from their new OC?
“I like to be very multiple. I like to keep teams off balance and you might have some games where you throw it a little bit more and other games where you run a little bit more depending on what the defense is doing,” Baldwin said Thursday. “And depending on that, maybe sometimes even some years you might run a little bit more, might throw it a little bit more depending on the strength of your team.
“So I definitely believe in building it also around your roster because your roster does change no matter how you try and recruit in it. … I’d say we’re very multiple, not only keeping teams off balance run to pass, we’re multiple in some of the different tempos we can get to and we’re multiple in that. We will find completions and we will find small chunks, but we will have well-timed aggression too and that is something you know coach Dillingham does really well.”
And when it comes to taking those well-calculated shots downfield, Dillingham and Baldwin will be relying on a couple of foundational pieces in wide receiver Elijhah Badger and 6-foot-4, 265-pound tight end Jalin Conyers.
Conyers emerged in the second half of this past season once Trenton Bourguet became the starting quarterback and Aguano took over play-calling duties. The tight end racked up 30 receptions, 346 yards and five touchdowns in the final five games of the 2022 campaign.
Arizona State also has 6-foot-8, 255-pound TE Messiah Swinson returning as well.
“I love it, especially when I have guys with the type of talent that we have on this roster,” Baldwin said of using tight ends in his offense. “The most important guys within this program are not the guys that we’re bringing in. It’s the guys that are here and the foundation and you have a couple of them in that room — they’re that exact foundation.
“So the more I can use them the better your offense is. That’s how I’d say it. I’ve had some years where I haven’t used them as much maybe because we’re a little stronger at wideout or whatever that might be. But when you’re strong the tight end, I think it can take your offense to a whole ‘nother level.”