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Derek Dooley back in SEC, as Missouri’s offensive coordinator

Derek Dooley
Isaiah J. Downing/USA TODAY Sports

Missouri has hired Derek Dooley as its offensive coordinator. And let the questions begin.

Dooley, who had spent the past five seasons as wide receivers coach of the Dallas Cowboys, replaces Josh Heupel, who left in December to become coach at UCF after two seasons working for Barry Odom. Heupel oversaw a unit that led the SEC in total offense in both of his seasons.

Enter Dooley, 49, the former Tennessee coach. He never has been a coordinator, never has called plays and never has been a quarterback coach – and he will do all three for Mizzou.

“Derek brings tremendous energy, knowledge and experience to our staff,” Odom said in a release announcing the hire. “… His football knowledge and offensive beliefs are in line with what will make Mizzou very successful.”

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Dooley’s time at Tennessee was a disaster. He followed Lane Kiffin, which didn’t make things easy, but the Vols got worse in each of his three seasons (2010-12) before his firing. His three-season record: 15-21.

Odom reportedly interviewed a handful of candidates, including UCLA offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch and Alabama offensive analyst Dan Werner, a former coordinator at Miami and Ole Miss who was hired as South Carolina’s quarterback coach Friday.

Odom is a defense-minded guy, and he was hands-off with the offense with Heupel. Presumably, he will be the same with Dooley.

A big question now with Mizzou is whether quarterback Drew Lock returns for his senior season. Lock led the nation with 44 TD passes this season, which set a SEC single-season record. He had said he was waiting to see who was hired as coordinator before making a decision on whether to stay or go.

That Dooley is coming from the NFL might appeal to Lock, who was advised to stay in school by the NFL Draft Advisory Council. The flipside: Dooley’s lack of a track record working with quarterbacks might not appeal to Lock.

(You can follow Mike Huguenin on Twitter @MikeHuguenin)

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