Coaches on the hot seat; new coaches who will succeed, struggle

We have 24 new head coaches in Division I-A football. Some will succeed early. Some will struggle early.

Among veteran coaches, there are a number of who enter this season very much on the hot seat.

So with the start of  season just eight days away, it is a good time to look at our coaches on the hot seat, the new coaches who will succeed and the new coaches who will struggle.

This is  just one man’s opinion. If you have others to add to these lists, please do so:

 

FIVE VETERAN COACHES ON THE HOT SEAT

1. Rich Rodriguez, Michigan: The problem for Rich Rod is that regardless of how many games he wins, there are just a lot of people who don’t want him to be the coach at Michigan any more. NCAA investigations at both his current and former (West Virginia) employers don’t help Rodriguez with a proud Michigan fan base.

2. Dan Hawkins, Colorado: When Hawkins came to Boulder from Boise State, folks thought the Buffs would become a Big 12 force again. Instead they are 16-33 in five seasons. Colorado is going to the Pac-10 either in 2011 or 2012. Will Hawkins be the coach?

3. Ron Zook, Illinois: The Zooker got the Illini to a Rose Bowl in 2007 but things have not been good since with seasons of 5-7 and 3-9. He shook up his coaching staff in an effort to get back to a bowl. Another losing season could be Zook’s last in Champaign.

4. Les Miles, LSU: Normally, a guy who is 51-15 with a national championship (2007) doesn’t belong on this list. But the closer you get to the LSU program the more people try to convince me that Miles has to make something happen after going 8-8 in the SEC the past two seasons. He’s picked to finish fourth in the SEC West. A win over North Carolina on Sept. 4 is very important. Miles’ buyout, media reports have said, is about $16 million.

5. Dennis Erickson, Arizona State: Erickson, who won two national championships at Miami, led the Sun Devils to 10 wins and a share of the Pac-10 championship in his first season (2007) in Tempe. The past two seasons Arizona State has won a total of nine games. Erickson shook up his staff bringing in Noel Mazzone to install the spread offense. He needs a winning season.

FIVE NEW COACHES WHO WILL HAVE EARLY SUCCESS

1. Brian Kelly, Notre Dame: Based on what he did at Cincinnati and Central Michigan, Kelly is an offensive genius who really knows how to coach quarterbacks. I think the schedule is set up for 8-9 wins.

2. Lane Kiffn, USC: Depth and recruiting are going to be issues down the road for Kiffin but the Trojans could still win a lot of games this season. In fact, I’m looking at 9 or 10 wins on that schedule.

3. Jimbo Fisher, Florida State: No one questions the offense, which returns a veteran line and a Heisman Trophy candidate at quarterback (Christian Ponder). A Sept. 11 trip to Oklahoma should tell us a lot. I have Florida State winning the ACC’s Atlantic Division over Clemson.

4. Skip Holtz, South Florida: Holtz has proven what he can do with a mobile quarterback and he has a good one in B.J. Daniels. Road trips to Florida, Miami and West Virginia will temper expectations but the Bulls can be a factor in the Big East.

5. Butch Jones, Cincinnati: Jones takes over for Brian Kelly, who won a pair of Big East championships.  The Bearcats won’t win the conference again but they will continue to be very competitive with a proven quarterback in Zach Collaros..

FIVE NEW COACHES WHO WILL STRUGGLE

1. Derek Dooley, Tennessee: Dooley inherited a bad situation that has gotten progressively worse with injuries and other issues. The schedule is brutal. Five wins would be a very good season.

2. Tommy Tuberville, Texas Tech: Tuberville will try to change the culture established by Mike Leach, which means Tubs will try to run the ball and play better defense. In the short term this has a chance to be ugly until Tuberville can get his recruits in place.

3. Mike London, Virginia: London won a Division I-AA championship at Richmond but begins his time at Virignia with a roster that is very, very thin. The Cavaliers are in the ACC Coastal, which will be one of the toughest divisions in football.

4. Robbie Caldwell, Vanderbilt: Caldwell got the job when Bobby Johnson suddenly retired in July. The Commodores were going to struggle this season regardless of who was the coach. Nine of the 12 teams on the schedule went to bowls last season.

5. Turner Gill, Kansas: The Jayhawks are only three years removed from a 12-1 season and an Orange Bowl appearance. But the former head coach at Buffalo has a lot of work to do to get Kansas back in the mix in the Big 12 North, which is pretty weak this year.

 

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342 comments Add your comment

sunny purdue

August 25th, 2010
8:12 am

30-24 Dawgs - We Run This State!

August 25th, 2010
8:19 am

Good call Tony, CMR is only “supposedly” on the hot seat with out-of-state media like Finebum.

Too Easy

August 25th, 2010
8:20 am

The Old Ball Coach will struggle if he doesn’t bring back Saunders for the second game. He will, though; the suspension is ‘indefinitely’ definite. Book it.

Too Easy

August 25th, 2010
8:21 am

Oh, and 3st.

Ormewood

August 25th, 2010
8:23 am

The Fridge is got to be on the hot list, coming off a 2-10 season with a new AD.

I am not going to be the head coach at Alabama. I am the head coach of the Miami Dolphins.

August 25th, 2010
8:23 am

Tony,
As usual, great job. 5 on the hot seat are indeed on the hot seat. I have to believe that RichRod shorts are almost charred. Agree on the coaches in that group, as well.

Dooley will right the ship in Kville, but it won’t be this year.
My only question concerns Ears Stubbberfield at Tex Tech. Didn’t he hire the Troy Offensive Coordinator to continue the passing game established by Leach? Or, am I mistaken?

athensdawg

August 25th, 2010
8:24 am

rich rod should have stayed at wvu.

jumbeauxtiger

August 25th, 2010
8:29 am

Tony, Miles’ 8-8 SEC record is misleading. The Tigers were 3-5 in 2008 but improved to 5-3 last season. But you are correct that he is on the hotseat and likely will be gone if he fails to win 9 regular season games although I think he should have to win 10 games. Personally, I hope he makes it as he has few player issues, is an outstanding recruiter and will likely have 16-17 starters returning in 2011. What has not been mentioned on here throughout the offseason is that he has brought in 3 new excellent offensive coaches. If it wasn’t for that, I wouldn’t be excited at all about this season.

I would have to believe, and I have many friends who are big Dawg fans, that Richt has to be feeling some heat too.

Good article.

Geaux Tigers
Go SEC

sc ace

August 25th, 2010
8:31 am

What about charlie strong and joker phillips? I say both will struggle early . Strong should have the cards contending in the big east in 11 though

DawginLex

August 25th, 2010
8:31 am

Friedgen at Maryland is all but done

Add Nutt to the list as well. If Masoli turns out to be a dud and MSU whacks them again, the Rebels will start howling. Any fanbase dumb enough to run off David Cutcliffe can not be trusted.

Kiffin better win. He has ZERO margin for error all the way around from his boss to his fanbase to the rest of the country.

naganole

August 25th, 2010
8:33 am

@jumbeauxtiger What would you think about Paul Johnson at LSU?

TommyJack

August 25th, 2010
8:33 am

Good list.
AD’s talk of “cultural fits”…not sure Rich Rod was ever the guy for Mich.
If D. Dooley goes 6-6, he should win national COY.
GBO

5IML

August 25th, 2010
8:37 am

You can question Les’s in-game coaching and clock management but you can’t question his (or his agent’s) business sense–a $16M buyout!

MoDawg

August 25th, 2010
8:38 am

30-24, excellent analysis. Finebaum is supposed to be on a national show now on XM, but he is so full of Sabanitis, he can’t see straight, much less be objective about anything. It is such a Bama lovefest on his show, it’s pathetic. I was looking forward to listening to a little SEC talk, but all he does is heap glowing praise on anything and everything Alabama (especially his man crush, Saint Nick) and his hatred of Georgia and Ole Miss (of all places). Anyone know why Finebaum hates UGA and Mark Richt?

Anyway, I’m looking forward to Kiffin struggling down the road, but USC is loaded right now and should do well. Like him or not, he apparently can coach. I feel for Dooley and the once proud Vol Nation, but hope that we can rebound from the beatdown they put on us last year and return the favor. I mean….it was the bootleg play for crying out loud….and we couldn’t stop it. Hopefully, those days are gone to Oklahoma.

Musashi

August 25th, 2010
8:40 am

I am no Tennessee fan but I not so sure UT should be written off so quickly, thinking 7 wins.

Is RR starting Robinson at QB instead of Forcier? And good point DawginLex about Big Fridge, kinda surprised he’s still there.

Hankie Aron

August 25th, 2010
8:40 am

Before anyone says it, Mark Richt is NOT on the hot seat. That said, if he wins 8 games this year the seat will be getting very warm

The Real SugarHillDawg

August 25th, 2010
8:41 am

The ONLY thing keeping the Fridge at Maryland is because the scholl can’t pay his buyout.I too concur that if Richt can’t beat Florida this year, he WILL be on the hot seat. You all think McGarity is gonna put up with his school continuing to lose to Florida???

jumbeauxtiger

August 25th, 2010
8:42 am

naganole, Paul Johnson is an excellent coach but I don’t think Tiger fans would go for that type of offense.

If Miles doesn’t make it I have a good idea who they would go after and although this coach has turned down other overtures from other schools, I believe he would probably take it. Hopefully it won’t come to that.

Dawg in the Ville

August 25th, 2010
8:43 am

Tony, don’t forget Charlie Strong at Louisville among the coaches who will struggle. The last guy, Kragthorpe, left the cupboard pretty bare and the program is still reeling from Petrino’s departure. Strong should turn things around in a few years, but the talent level at Louisville is pretty embarassing.

Plus, the fans here are both delusional and fair-weather, which makes for a terrible combination. They only fill the stadium when the team is great, and they honestly believe their program is elite.

Puffy

August 25th, 2010
8:43 am

Les Miles has won 77% of his games at LSU, and throw in a National Championship to boot. His clock management issues at end of games have stirred up some. But if LSU is dumb enough to let him go, he’l be grabbed up quickly by a lucky team somewhere.

5IML

August 25th, 2010
8:44 am

MoDawg,

Finebaum loves BAMA (right now) because BAMA is winning (right now). When BAMA was on probation and losing to Auburn, he was an Auburn fan. To answer your question, I’m not sure why he hates UGA and Richt so much. Maybe Richt declined an offer to appear on the show or something. Who knows? Regarding Ole Miss, he just loves to pick on them which makes no sense. In-state BAMA fans have no strong feelings towards UGA or Ole Miss.

Hankie Aron

August 25th, 2010
8:46 am

Great point Puffy. I think your’e right, it’s just that fans want to see a return to the pre 2008 LSU. I’m not sure that they will though, I believe their defense just doesn’t seem as strong and as you mentioned those pesky clock management issues from last year.

Fred

August 25th, 2010
8:48 am

It would be nice to see Rich Rod get his just desserts.

What dawg?

August 25th, 2010
8:50 am

RRod is getting exactly what he deserves.
Mister Leslie at LSU was blessed with a good team when he arrived. He sucks as a coach and as an alleged human being. He’ll get dumped sooner rather than later.

beatdowns galore

August 25th, 2010
8:51 am

Why is Mark Richt not on ths list ? 2 – 7 against Fla. Always struggles against weaker teams. No National Championships and 3 blowout losses to Tenn. in 3 of the last 4 years. A 10 – 10 record for the last 4 years against the sec east. When he loses to a pathetic program like SC and then loses at home to Arky in a few weeks its goodbye CMR !

T B Shirey

August 25th, 2010
8:55 am

Miles will survive at LSU, win 9 games and then leave for Michigan to replace “the Rod”. Then LSU fans will cry about “losing such a great coach”. Such is life in the college coaching world.

Hankie Aron

August 25th, 2010
8:56 am

Beat downs, you can find information to support any claim you want but the fact of the matter is he has won TOO many games and is a solid coach to be on the hot seat. Again, if he wins 8 games this year then you will have more ammunition to fire. Give him the chance to correct the problems. He’s too good a coach

Buck Futt

August 25th, 2010
8:56 am

Counting on Noel No-red-zone and a spread offense? Good luck with that one.

Bubba Big Lips

August 25th, 2010
8:56 am

Coach Paul Johnson isnt on the hot seat, he cant fit into a seat.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

August 25th, 2010
8:57 am

agree with RichRod- the guy tarnished Michigan’s tradition and has made the team look like a joke. Remember App State?

Hankie Aron

August 25th, 2010
8:58 am

I think Richt finally realizes what was lacking, addressed it, now is motivated to get it done. I think he wins 10 games this year, maybe 11. Have you seen their schedule?

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

August 25th, 2010
8:58 am

also want to see Kiffin struggle- i think all college football fans will some joy out of that.

beatdowns galore

August 25th, 2010
8:58 am

Sorry Hankie …but you are going to need a hankie in a few weeks.

Hankie Aron

August 25th, 2010
9:00 am

Kenneth your’e right Rich Rod and how he has tarnished the proud Michigan program BUT keep in mind that App State loss was under Lloyd Carr in his final season BEFORE Rich Rod came to town.

Mike

August 25th, 2010
9:02 am

Brian Kelly and Notre Dame will be in a BCS bowl this year with 10 wins. One thing Charlie Weis could do very well was recruit and their current junior class was rated #1 or #2 in the country with Alabama depending on who’s service you look at. All this program needed was a guy to run it, and they have found in BK.

On the opposite end, Derek Dooley will win 4 games this fall and be lucky to survive 3 years in Knoxville. The talent is that poor and the schedule is that tough. There is a reason Tennessee doesn’t want to play a middle of the road ACC team like North Carolina. It might have something to do with the fact that the Vols have lost 3 in a row to ACC teams (Clemson, Maryland, VT) by 13, 23, and 27 points.

jim

August 25th, 2010
9:02 am

Rich Rod is the maybe the one with the hottest seat. What is unspoken nationally is that the Uof M crowd never wanted him in the first place – they do not like his accent or the fact that he came from a “hill billy” state. He may have issues of honesty as a coach but it would not have mattered. They had their minds made up before he showed up in Ann Arbor.

Hankie Aron

August 25th, 2010
9:02 am

I won’t beatdowns. I am sure of one thing. There is no way you are a UGA fan. I talk to many many GT fans, and they would absolutely love for Mark Richt to get fired. Richt better beat FLA this year though and I think he will

lanier

August 25th, 2010
9:03 am

Larry Porter will have a tough time as the new coach at the Univ Of Memphis. Cubbard is bare.

UM football doesnt register around here but its a pretty big deal in the Mid South

Miss State will set the tone the 1st weekend

Not a Tech or UGA Fan.....

August 25th, 2010
9:04 am

If Georgia struggles early (anything worst than 5 and 2) Mark Richt could hear rumbles from the Alumni and Fans that could put him on the hot seat. I think it would take probably a losing season for him to be fired and I don’t see that happening but stranger things have happened so you never know. I know Tech fans won’t agree but Richt needs to worry more about beating Flordia then Georgia Tech because losing to the Gators is going to get him fired quicker than losing to Tech.

Joker Phillips at Kentucky should have a decent first year. A pretty easy schedule and with 3 of your 4 toughest games (Auburn, Georgia, & S.Carolina) at home he has the potential of winning 8, maybe 9 games, this year and maybe going 5 and 3 in SEC east.

Ron Mexico

August 25th, 2010
9:04 am

Randy Edsall will be taking over for Rich Rod come January. Coach Miles will have to look for another opportunity, as his coaching skills (and oversigning issues) leave him as big red flag for the Wolverine faithful. If Kiffen takes the Trojans to a 12-0 season, would LSU come knocking?

Jort nation

August 25th, 2010
9:05 am

Coarch Urban Meyers still wishes he had Percy Harvey and Tim Tebow. they won the game with the best defense play i have seen.
go gator.

Mikey in the SAV

August 25th, 2010
9:07 am

Tony,

Which coaches are the hot properties for the open seats next year?

5IML

August 25th, 2010
9:08 am

Boo Boo's boo's from Sanford Stadium.

August 25th, 2010
9:08 am

McGarrity’s first priority is to ask for permission to talk with Kirby Smart. Mark Richt is toast !

Puffy

August 25th, 2010
9:10 am

Saying Les Miles should be on the hotseat, is about as lame as saying Mark Richt should. Miles at LSU, wins 77%, won a National Championship, finished in the top 5 three years in a row (05-07), he’s a great recruiter–has had 5 straight top 10 recruting classes. Les Miles is one of the premier coaches in the country, hands down, and shouldn’t be on anybody’s hotseat list.

Hankie Aron

August 25th, 2010
9:13 am

There are a lot of LSU fans that dont’ care for him Puffy. Last couple of years have not been as good but then again 2007 they won it all. I think both Mark Richt and Les Miles are not going anywhere despite Boo Boo’s and beatdowns assessment.

Jerry

August 25th, 2010
9:13 am

Les Miles is a clown. If LSU is smart they will dump him asap and bring in a coach with connections to the Saints. Sean Peyton or one of his top assistants.

If Richt loses to Tech he will be canned this year.

Pago Pago Dawg

August 25th, 2010
9:14 am

Word on the street…Rich Rod has to go 8-4 or he’s finished. UM can take care of U CONN, U MASS, BG, Indiana and Ill, so he’ll be around another 2 years.

Not a Tech or UGA Fan.....

August 25th, 2010
9:16 am

Mike @09:02: 10 wins may be hard to come by this year at Notre Dame. I agree Brian Kelly is better than Charlie Weiss but most high school head coaches would be a step up. Notre Dame’s schedule is tough and even though they only have 4 road games those are all possible losses (MichTech, BC, Navy & USC) and they still have Pitt, Stanford, Utah, & Mich to play. 7 wins is possible and 8 wins would be a real good season but probably not enough to get into a BCS game.

Boo Boo's boo's from Sanford Stadium.

August 25th, 2010
9:16 am

Mark Richt should be #4 instead of Les Miles. LSU does have high expectations while UGA rather have pool parties, dancing on sidelines to hip hop music and partying at the UGA.