Image courtesy of Stewart Wade of TexAgs.com
Part of the fun of the college football offseason is the flurry of coaching changes that occur. Coordinators from big schools go to slightly smaller schools; head coaches from small schools get shots at big schools. Sometimes, coaches that were jettisoned from big schools get a second (or third, or fourth…) shot at another big school. It’s fun to think about the impact these moves have on the different schools.
Scott Frost – Central Florida Head Coach
formerly Oregon Offensive Coordinator
Scott Frost is largely responsible for the Oregon hyper-speed offense as it stands today. He also comes from one hell of a coaching pedigree (Bill Walsh – Stanford, Tom Osborne – Nebraska, Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick – New York Jets, John Gruden – Tampa Bay Buccaneers). He coached at Oregon from 2009 until 2015 which is largely known as the Chip Kelly Era. According to word around the Ducks forums, he is taking the whole Oregon playbook to UCF. Their starting QB, Justin Holman, isn’t lauded for his speed like Mariota or any of his peers, but the bright side is that Frost can’t do any worse than his predecessor (who went 0-12 this year).
Mark Richt – Miami Head Coach
Formerly Georgia Head Coach
In my opinion, unless someone hires Chip Kelly, this is the biggest hire of the offseason (which hasn’t technically started yet). Richt has a career record of 145-51 (74%), all of which came at Georgia. He had two SEC championships and six SEC East division titles. Richt was truly a victim of not winning enough championships as he only had one losing season in his 15 years of coaching. Miami should have a very bright future in an incredibly bottom heavy ACC.
Kirby Smart – Georgia Head Coach
Formerly Alabama Defensive Coordinator
Technically, Kirby Smart is still at Alabama as he has declared he will finish out the season before leaving. However, Georgia found a great hire for an SEC school. I imagine Smart’s vision is to create an Alabama East: Georgia already has a power running offense and a 3-4 defense that has been dominant on both sides of the ball in the past. Considering Georgia has only had one losing season in the last fifteen, they’re sitting pretty in terms of recruiting. Further, the SEC East is (still) the little brother of the two divisions and Smart shouldn’t have any problems becoming a player in the coming years.
Clay Helton – USC Head Coach
Formerly USC Offensive Coordinator
Even though Helton was an internal hire and the interim head coach, it is still significant since USC seems to have something against hiring internally. USC didn’t hire Ed Ogeron nor Clay Helton when they were interim head coaches in the past. Some Trojan fans lament over the small name hire, but I personally think it was the best move they could have realistically made. He has the players’ support (perhaps the most important attribute considering the lack of support Steve Sarkisian had) and managed to get USC in position to go to the Rose Bowl. Frankly, he is the brightest spot in USC’s dark years since Pete Carroll left.
Schools to Keep Tabs On
The hiring season has just begun. There are plenty of big name schools that are hiring and quite a few that have yet to make vacancies. I’ve ranked them based on what I perceive are the best landing spots:
- Gary Pinkel brought Mizzou into the SEC with great success, but that success has tapered every year since
- South Carolina
- Similar to Kirby Smart, whoever lands in this job has a strong team and a weak division to work with.
- This isn’t officially open, but there are rumors swirling that Rich Rodriguez is getting interviewed by South Carolina
- Syracuse hasn’t been relevant since Marvin Harrison, Donovan McNabb, and Dwight Freeney went through. They’re still a big school athletically and have little to no competition in their conference.
- Virginia has never been a powerhouse, but they play in a weaker conference. They also make the top five since there really aren’t any other major openings at the moment…
Should be fun.