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An intriguing option at Mississippi State

Word first broke of the possibility on Thursday evening, and by Friday morning multiple reports emerged Joe Moorhead was out at Mississippi State.

It's a decisive move from an AD in John Cohen unafraid to make such moves. In fact, the move to hire Moorhead in the first place -- a native Northeasterner with no SEC ties -- took as much conviction as this week's firing did.

In his report about the possibility of Moorhead's impending firing, SI's Ross Dellenger -- as connected in Mississippi as any national writer -- wrote this in regards to a potential replacement (emphasis added):

Louisiana’s Billy Napier is a strong Group of 5 coach with southeast ties who in his second year led the Cajuns to a school-record 10 regular-season wins. Cohen could go unorthodox with a coach from a military academy, hoping to bring to Starkville an option scheme with spread concepts, captained by a disciplinarian like Army’s Jeff Monken.

A Monken hire would be the first of its kind at the Power 5 level since Georgia Tech hired Navy's Paul Johnson in 2007.

Sources have said Monken has been eyeing a Power 5 leap from Army; seeking to capitalize on the success he program has demonstrated on and off the field.

While sources have also indicated Monken is not married to the triple option attack he's employed at Georgia Southern and Army it would be a stretch to imagine a Monken offense at Mississippi State not including triple option concepts.

Such a move would require a major retrenching of the Mississippi State roster, one that would require years to complete. But, assuming Cohen sold the Bulldog stakeholders on the upside of the culture change, Mississippi State would become the ultimate thorn in the side of the SEC West.

It would be an ultimate choice to zig while the remainder of the SEC West zagged.

Johnson, after amassing a 107-39 record at Georgia Southern and Navy, went 82-61 with nine bowl trips, a share of four ACC Coastal championships and one ACC championship in 11 seasons with the Rambling Wreck. Monken went 38-16 in four seasons at Georgia Southern, and now stands at 40-36 in six seasons at West Point, a winning percentage that far outpaces the past four Black Knights coaches.

In fairness, Johnson clearly had a ceiling at Georgia Tech, but the constant forward churn of the triple option offense guaranteed the Yellow Jackets a higher floor than a conventional hire, as evidenced by his two losing campaigns in 11 seasons on the job.

A Monken hire would require a similar conversation among Mississippi State power brokers. Triple option or no, it would be an unorthodox hire in the ESS EEE SEE, and outside-the-box hires aren't for everybody. Most people like living inside the box.

If Mississippi State wants a more conventional hire, plenty of options abound. Louisiana-Lafayette's Billy Napier is an intriguing choice, though he just signed an extension yesterday. UAB's Bill Clark has yet to draw serious Power 5 interest despite his miraculous 28-13 record post-revival. Former Louisiana-Lafayette head coach Mark Hudspeth, a State assistant under Dan Mullen and Moorhead, led Austin Peay to its first FCS playoff appearance in school history in his first season on the job. Rebound hires are en vogue in college football at the moment, and former Auburn coach Gene Chizik and former Southern Miss and North Carolina head coach Larry Fedora are both available and have had great success in the area.

Mullen is the most successful head coach in Mississippi State's modern history, and the Moorhead hiring -- both Northeastern fish swimming in thousands of miles out of water, both offensive innovators -- was a continuation of that era. Friday's firing of Moorhead represents a clean break, bringing forth a new era of Bulldog football. It's now up to Cohen how clean he wants that break to be.

Cohen plans to address the media and the public later today. It would be surprising to see this one drag on too long.

As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.