It’s been about half a year since the majority of the new coaching jobs were filled across the country. As summer begins I wanted to re-visit these hires and get a hold on the future for some key positions throughout the country.
I’ve included a list of 14 coaches, including all of the new Power 5 hires.
Current Job – Name – Age – Previous Job
Destined for Failure
Arizona State – Herm Edwards, 64, NFL Live
Oregon – Mario Cristobal, 47, Oregon Co-Offensive Coordinator
Tennessee – Jeremy Pruitt, 44, Alabama Defensive Coordinator
These are all Top 30 jobs roughly, would we agree? These coaches combine for zero Power 5 head coaching experience which isn’t a great sign. It’s not just that, they combine for 6 years of college head coaching experience total–all from Cristobal’s time with mighty Florida International.
The wacky hire of Herm Edwards has been exhaustively mocked. He’s currently sitting on 2 recruits for 2019, both quarterbacks, who committed early this month. There’s a bit of “why not take a chance” narrative with Edwards but that makes the ASU job seem a lot like Tulane or something.
Both Cristobal and Pruitt have direct ties to Nick Saban which is typically (Kirby Smart aside) a bad omen. The Ducks signed their coach to a 5-year, $12.5 million deal and they have operated in recent years as if Cristobal will not come close to fulfilling that length if he struggles. The Vols inked Pruitt to a 6-year deal worth $22.8 million and folks there’s going to be some major buyout money coming in the future.
Arizona – Kevin Sumlin, 53, Texas A&M Head Coach
Arkansas – Chad Morris, 49, SMU Head Coach
I remember Sumlin being fired by A&M well enough. Arizona fired Rich Rodriguez amid sexual harassment allegations the day after the College Football semi-finals and Sumlin slid into Tuscon less than two weeks later. I’m of the opinion he’ll be just fine with Arizona. Nothing great, nothing terrible.
Chad Morris was once a super-hot commodity after 2014 when then-plucky Clemson was starting to win double-digits games and he shuffled off to SMU where he spent 3 years trying to break through in the AAC and not really getting there. He did improve each season with the Mustangs and parlayed that into a 6-year, $21 million deal in the SEC. His agent must be proud.
Pressure but Patience
Florida – Dan Mullen, 46, Mississippi State Head Coach
UCF – Josh Heupel, 40, Missouri Offensive Coordinator
Mullen returns to Gainseville after a successful 4-year stint as offensive coordinator (2005-08) before establishing himself as the best modern coach in Mississippi State history. I am sure he’ll Do Good Things eventually it’s just unfair to expect it to happen right away, especially with Georgia currently looking quite powerful.
Heupel is walking into a very high pressure situation in Orlando with one of the better quarterbacks in the country returning coming off an undefeated (National Championship) season. He kind of got lost in the shuffle at Oklahoma and hasn’t exactly been a rising star in recent years. He got a rising star job, though. Good luck!
Florida State – Willie Taggart 41, Oregon Head Coach
Mississippi State – Joe Moorhead, 44, Penn State Offensive Coordinator
I have two overarching feelings with Taggart. One, he’s an underwhelming choice for a potential top 5 job in the country. He’s won more than 8 games once in his 8-year coaching career! Two, isn’t Florida State due for a clunker hire? Sure this is only the third hire since 1976 so admittedly it’s a small sample size.
Similarly I’m playing what I consider to be the odds of Mississippi State not being able to hit on back-to-back terrific coaches for their program. Moorhead could be a fine coach and still really struggle living up the level of play Dan Mullen left behind. Plus, I’m never a big fan of relatively young coaches who look a lot older it’s so fascinating to me.
It’s 2020 and both of these coaches are the on hot seat–makes sense doesn’t it?
Nebraska – Scott Frost, 43, UCF Head Coach
UCLA – Chip Kelly, 54, ESPN Media
Both of these coaches feel like lay ups, although a case could be made their futures will be a lot more difficult than the general public and media have led us to believe. Mainly, neither are in programs with National Championship potential and even conference championships will be a struggle, especially early on in their tenures.
Everyone (well mostly everyone) is ready to see Nebraska reclaim some of their national profile. We just don’t know how much of the glory days they can actually find and it feels like if Frost is going to be successful the very definition of success in Nebraska’s history might have to be tweaked.
We know Chip Kelly will be chasing USC most seasons, and even if he isn’t, that’s not necessarily the gateway to paradise. See, Jim Mora Jr. and his 3-0 start vs. the Trojans to go along with a 29-11 first 3 seasons with the Bruins. That ultimately didn’t matter. Kelly is taking over a program that lost 20 games since 2015 so not exactly a sleeping giant right now. I’m excited to see his offense unleashed again, particularly outside the bubble of Eugene, Oregon.
Sure, Why Not
Oregon State – Jonathan Smith, 39, Washington Offensive Coordinator
SMU – Sonny Dykes, 48, TCU Offensive Analyst
Oregon State could go do a whole lot worse than an alum who has been working under the tutelage of Chris Petersen. Let’s check back in a few years and see how he’s doing!
Does Dykes feel like a step down from Chad Morris? I had thought absolutely at first but he has Power 5 experience even if he improved Cal quickly and then leveled off even quicker for 3 years. He’s a solid football mind with plenty of roots in Texas. He could do pretty well, I suppose.
Still Don’t Get It
Texas A&M – Jimbo Fisher, 52, Florida State Head Coach
The winningest coach in Florida State history, 4 years removed from a National Championship, up and left for Texas A&M. None of this makes sense except for the 10-year, $75 million contract. Of course, there were some deteriorating relationships in Tallahassee and I guess those weren’t going to be smoothed over when oil money is flashing in your face.
No doubt, Fisher’s job got immensely more difficult from top to bottom. Worst of all, he’s now sporting ugly-as-crap maroon blazers and cowboy boots. Let’s hope he’s not wasting too much of that money on cowboy boots.