Former Mississippi State coach Joe Moorhead reportedly in the lead to replace Marcus Arroyo

Mario Cristobal doesn’t need any help from ZipRecruiter.

Oregon’s head coach is in the process of narrowing down a pool of candidates to become the program’s next offensive coordinator.

“The amount of interest that’s been garnered by this has been incredible,” Cristobal said before finishing his second season with a Rose Bowl victory. “We have a really impressive list.”

The top resume on the stack is former Mississippi State head coach Joe Moorhead, who was fired last Thursday after compiling a 14-12 overall record (7-9 in the SEC) over two seasons with the Bulldogs.

According to FootballScoop, Moorhead has emerged as the leading candidate to fill the vacancy created when Marcus Arroyo left to be the head coach at UNLV.

Before taking on the daunting challenge of coaching in the SEC West — the home of LSU, Alabama, Auburn and Texas A&M — the 46-year-old Moorhead was the offensive coordinator at Penn State (2016-17) and an FCS head coach at Fordham (2012-2015).

The Nittany Lions went 21-5 with a Big Ten championship and two New Year’s Six bowl victories during Moorhead’s stint in Happy Valley with Trace McSorley at quarterback and Saquan Barkley at running back.

Moorhead was unable to gain any traction at Mississippi State, which ranked 74th in scoring (27.6 per game), 109th in passing yards (179.5 per game) and 70th in total offense (400.1 yards per game) during a 6-7 finish.

"This is my team, this is my school, this is my program,” Moorhead, who is from Pittsburgh, said after seemingly getting off the hot seat with a win over rival Mississippi in the regular-season finale. “You'll have to drag my Yankee (expletive) out of here.” 

Before the season, the NCAA determined that 10 of Moorhead’s players had committed academic fraud. They were suspended for eight games.

Freshman quarterback Garrett Shrader, who had led the Bulldogs to a win over the Rebels in the Egg Bowl, did not play in the Music City Bowl after suffering injuries during a fight in practice with linebacker Willie Gay. The Bulldogs lost 38-28 to Louisville.

Other candidates Cristobal is reportedly interested in include LSU offensive analyst Jorge Munoz, Los Angeles Rams assistant Jedd Fisch and Tulane offensive coordinator Will Hall.

Munoz, 44, is from Southern California and has been on Ed Orgeron’s staff for two seasons after a 10-year stint at Louisiana, where he was the offensive coordinator in 2016.

Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow, the projected No. 1 pick in the 2020 NFL draft, invited Munoz to attend the ceremony in New York, along with Orgeron, offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger and quarterbacks coach Joe Brady.

Burrow has completed 77.6% of his passes for 5,208 yards with 55 touchdown and six interceptions entering Monday’s national championship game against Clemson.

Fisch, 43, has also been the offensive coordinator and interim coach at UCLA, as well as the offensive coordinator at Miami, Cristobal’s alma mater. The Rams played in the Super Bowl last year but were 9-7 this season and did not make the playoffs.

Hall previously the head coach at West Alabama and West Georgia, the offensive coordinator at Louisiana and the associate head coach/tight ends coach at Memphis.

Tulane ranked 30th in scoring (33.1 points per game), 12th in rushing (243.3 yards per game) and 22nd in total offense (449.3 per game) this season.

Oregon must replace four-year stating quarterback Justin Herbert and four starting offensive linemen.

Following a 9-4 finish in 2018, Cristobal replace defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt with Boise State’s Andy Avalos, a move that helped the Ducks finish 12-2 with a Pac-12 championship and Rose Bowl victory this season.

“I think we’ve shown a really good track record for hiring the right kind of people because we do take our time in a very thorough process, a very grueling process,” Cristobal said. “But it’s worth it because, at the end of the day, he’s a guy that’s surrounding our players. He’s the one that’s responsible for making sure that we’re on the same page and doing the right things offensively.

“The principles of what we’re doing as a team involve physicality, explosiveness and everything else, so those things have to be in line. There has to be a very clear understanding of what we do and how we do things from a cultural standpoint and combine it with the right guy that can be a great offensive coordinator.”

Follow Ryan Thorburn on Twitter @RGDuckFootball and email questions to rthorburn@registerguard.com. For more Oregon sports coverage, visit DuckSports.com.