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

???

August 25th, 2010
11:03 am

Me and all of my handles are out!

G8R GRAD

August 25th, 2010
11:03 am

UGA will be the surprise team in the East and Auburn in the West.
Both are poised for breakout years.

Mobile Dawg

August 25th, 2010
11:04 am

RX, 5IML, and all CMR supporters. CMR is a good man, good values and principles, good representative of the University. All these things I support. I have a question for all the “blind” supporters I have to ask. Do these qualities win “Championships”?

RX, I don’t earn my $$ coaching football but I believe I can draw up a game plan. Let’s go back to that first half of the 08 game with Bama, or Florida. Did anyone notice the “conservative” game plans in the beginning of the game for UA, or UF? UGA killed any chance we might have had in both those games early on. Do I have to spell it out, those coaches let us beat ourselves first, then they piled on. You game plan for “Huge” games differently than you would against Vandy. Our staff doesn’t seem to have gotten that over the years.

I don’t want to see CMR run off, I want to see him succeed and win championships. To do that, IMO, he has to learn from his mistakes of the past. He hasn’t done that yet.

Solution for Gimme

August 25th, 2010
11:04 am

Gimme:

“Bobo has to go. When my wife can sit in the stands and call the plays before the snaps I assure you that the D knows what is coming.”

Perhaps someone will hire Gimme in the event any of these coaches are fired. His wife can be the defensive coordinator.

404

August 25th, 2010
11:04 am

Of course I was kidding about picking SC to win the East.

This is the new Tebow in Gaineville

August 25th, 2010
11:06 am

G8R GRAD

August 25th, 2010
11:06 am

Tide:

“We gotta break that habit of complacency after building huge halftime leads. It happened several times where we went to sleep in the 3rd qtr. Not just UGA and Tejas but in the 08 season Ole Miss, UK, etc.”

Not to mention UT and AU.
Y’all are staring at a brutal run of teams with fresh legs, gunning for #1.
It makes for a VERY long season (just ask the Gators).

PapaDawg

August 25th, 2010
11:07 am

Why does Vandy stay in the SEC. Sports is not exactly high on their list

G8R GRAD

August 25th, 2010
11:07 am

Neither Richt NOR Spurrier are going anywhere.

G8R GRAD

August 25th, 2010
11:08 am

Sorry.

“Not to mention UT and AU last year.”

1eyedJack

August 25th, 2010
11:11 am

It used to be when you hired a coach he was given a five-year plan to bring a program up to snuff. Now days if said coach doesn’t win big immediately the fan base is ready to tar and feather him and eat his children.

I’ve seen UGA win a National Championship so I can die happy.

Video game age, instant gratification gerneration. Gotta love ‘em.

Mike

August 25th, 2010
11:11 am

@ UT96. How does Tenn have talent when Vandy has more 1st team all SEC players than the Vols do? Not to mention the coach’s job will get more difficult when the NCAA places them on probation in the next 6 months for the Bryce Brown/UT hostesses violations.

This is the new Tebow in Gaineville

August 25th, 2010
11:12 am

1eyed, dont you think coaches brought all of this on themselves with the huge salaries that they make when most fans struggle?

G8R GRAD

August 25th, 2010
11:12 am

New tebow:

Just an upperclassman trying to motivate the #1 (by a considerable margin) recruiting class in the nation.
Not to worry.
We’ll show up for every game.

Tide Rising

August 25th, 2010
11:13 am

G8R GRAD,

Yes. The UT game also. That game was all but over when Ingram lost his only career fumble with 3 minutes left and then when we didn’t recover an onsides kick. That game should never have even come down to a field goal to begin with.

As for this year the UF game is a tossup but besides that game someone will trip us up somewhere along the line. I’m thinking Carolina or Ole Miss. Taking the best shot of 6 straight sec opponents because as you say they will all have fresh legs with the 2 weeks of rest and preparation won’t be easy.

shankit

August 25th, 2010
11:14 am

Georgia is in the tuffest division in college football,
with the best coaches in college football.
Had Georgia been in the Big Ten instead of the
SEC East, the Dawgs would probably have at
least five conference championships, a couple of
Rose Bowl victories and at least one or two
BCS championships.
You need to get off Richt’s butt, else he is going
to get an offer that he don’t have to put up with
the crap from you bloggers and so-called fans.

This is the new Tebow in Gaineville

August 25th, 2010
11:14 am

Not worried at all; I think it is great that we have a leader like Pouncey.

@WreckBuZZ

August 25th, 2010
11:18 am

That Chick-fil-a Kickoff game with LSU vs. UNC is going to be an ugly game. You have two good defenses and two offenses that can’t score. Could be a 10-7 game.

Tide Rising

August 25th, 2010
11:19 am

shankit,

The east is not the toughest division in college football. The west division is with 4 different teams in the top 25. Even the projected cellar dweller Ole Miss has had 2 straight 9-4 seasons ending with Cotton bowl wins.

Coach Cool

August 25th, 2010
11:20 am

Only ONE mention of the Fridge @ Maryland?

You missed the boat, Homer the Columnist!

UT96

August 25th, 2010
11:21 am

General Neyalnd 96, our best chance at an upset comes against Oregon Sept 11. We should be healthy for that game. The later it goes into the season, the more banged up we’re going to be, so the injuires will start to take its toll. I still think we’re good enough to beat Tiger High, Ole Miss, Kentucky, and Vandy, regardless.

This is the new Tebow in Gaineville

August 25th, 2010
11:24 am

Tide Rising, you are correct; even Dan Mullins will be tough this year.

G8R GRAD

August 25th, 2010
11:27 am

Apologies, New Tebow, I thought you bought into Bianchi’s headline (what a hack).

404

August 25th, 2010
11:28 am

For all the haters, I’ll go ahead and post it again:

Heres my estimated finish

Sec-East
1. SC
2. FLa
3. Uga
4. Ky
5. Tenn
6. Vandy

Sec west
1. Ala
2. Ark
3. Aub
4. MsSt
5. Ole Ms
5. Lsu

LSU and UGA do have one thing in common.

Their W-L and team performance has been going only one way since 2007:

DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN

UT96

August 25th, 2010
11:29 am

Mike, we won’t get any major sanctions out this deal, I’m confident of that. You’re kidding yourself if you don’t think we have more talent on our team than any of our last 4 opponents, including Kentucky or Ole Miss.

404

August 25th, 2010
11:29 am

I am even more drunk now!

404

August 25th, 2010
11:30 am

Any SC always finishes the season strong that is why I pick them to win the East.

404

August 25th, 2010
11:31 am

Sorry I meant And

G8R GRAD

August 25th, 2010
11:31 am

Tide:

WE don’t get a week off before our visit to Tuscaloosa and home field advantage still looms large.
But if (and it is a considerable if) we can get past UGA, we’ll see you again December 4th!

1eyedJack

August 25th, 2010
11:32 am

new Tebow
“1eyed, dont you think coaches brought all of this on themselves with the huge salaries that they make when most fans struggle?”

No, I think most Athletic Directors and College Presidents brought this on the coaches by throwing this kind of money at them in order to satisfy disgruntled fan bases. Though I have to say I haven’t heard of too many coaches turning it down.

G8R GRAD

August 25th, 2010
11:34 am

We DO, however, get a week off before Jacksonville.

This is the new Tebow in Gaineville

August 25th, 2010
11:34 am

1eyedjack, I agree with you partially, but most of the high profile coaches do have agents.

WonderDawg

August 25th, 2010
11:40 am

8 or 9 wins for Notre Dame? Hello BCS Bowl!

Layla Kiffin

August 25th, 2010
11:41 am

Sorry to say it but Vols fans aren’t going to really appreciate the true nature of their current predicament until the aftermath of their beatdown at the hands of the Oregon Ducks. It will get ugly in Knoxville on Sept 11th- and I’m not just talking about all that awful orange.

Eligible Bachelor

August 25th, 2010
11:44 am

Elin, my number is 555-1111.
I can think of an estimated 100 MILLION reasons why you should call me!

Layla Kiffin

August 25th, 2010
11:45 am

G8R GRAD- if you go back to Spurrier’s time in Gainesville, you will notice that he made sure to always have a bye week before Jacksonville The only exception during his tenure was a UGA win when Robert Edwards ran wild.
Also, if you remember Meyer’s first season in Gainesville, he used the bye week before Jacksonville to completely revamp his offense and utilize the fullback– very smart, too smart for the Dawgs on that day… most days.

Tide Rising

August 25th, 2010
11:48 am

G8R GRAD,

Yes. UF does not get a bye before us since it’ll be only the 4th game. If we lose I’ll be hoping for a rematch but if we win I’ll be pulling for UGA in the east. It would easier to have to beat them one time than to have to beat UF twice in one year. Not sayin it can’t be done. Its just a helluva lot to ask of a team.

what?

August 25th, 2010
11:50 am

UT will turn it around ina year or 2 and will beat some teams they probably shouldn’t during that time. I think if LSU gets embarrassed in the Ga Dome next week than Les is in trouble. As far as Ole Miss goes, Houston Nutt is one of the best coaches around. I certainly think he is an upgrade over Cutcliffe and most definately over Orgeron.
I think that Michigan will throw a bunch of money at Meyer or Saban after this season when Rich Rod gets canned. I think everyone knows that his firing is going to happen probably sooner than later.

GeneralNeyland96

August 25th, 2010
11:51 am

Hey Layla – you still need to come by my place and pick up the clothes you left here.

G8R GRAD

August 25th, 2010
11:52 am

Tide & 5IML:

Hypothetically, IF UA loses two in the regular season, who goes to Atlanta,(are you sitting down) Auburn?

G8R GRAD

August 25th, 2010
11:54 am

AU in the SECCG?
Oh, the HUMANITY!

#2 BAMA FAN

August 25th, 2010
11:57 am

Les Miles may survive another year but in the long run LSU will be fighting the cow college for 2nd
place in the SEC west behind the crimson tide. Mark Richt will be fine this year and I hope will beat
the gators for the SEC east top spot but not this year!! Robby Caldwell good luck coach you are going
need it!! Vandy has NO QB just TERRIBLE!! RTR

joe

August 25th, 2010
11:59 am

UT will win at least one of out of Oregon, UGA or LSU. UGA will lose at least one of S.C., Arky, UT. Bama will lose 2 SEC games, but may still win the west. I hate this, but think UF wins the SEC east.

OB-1

August 25th, 2010
12:00 pm

PMC
August 25th, 2010
10:03 am
Tony…Virginia would do well to give Mike London some room to breath though. It will take him a while but he is a FANTASTIC coach.
Mike London will be the next great coach at UVA if he gets enough time
***********************************
Mike is already making strides in the right direction, he is mending fences that Al Groh tore down in southside Virigina which is where VT has been getting a lot of their player’s. Mike will continue to look for those that fit in at UVA like Aaron Brooks over Mike and Marcus Vick. UVA will give him time. I think they will improve this year some but next year they will be noticeably better and then in 2012 they will be back. Gotta give a new coach 3 to 4 years to get his system and recruits in-place and working.

G8R GRAD

August 25th, 2010
12:02 pm

joe:

Agreed.
So according to you, there’s an equal chance for the Hogs, AU and LSU vs. UF in the SECCG?
That’s going to be hard to swallow for the Tide fans on this blog!

Vol Man

August 25th, 2010
12:11 pm

Richt better start winning some big, very soon—-uga fans are getting tired of his mediocrity and annual blowout losses to good teams. Mark this down: the vols will upset uga in athens!!!!

what?

August 25th, 2010
12:14 pm

I can guarantee that Tennessee will NOT beat Georgia this year. It won’t happen. I know for certain that the date has been circled for a LONG time on the players & coaches calender. Sorry Joe, but 1 of those wins will have to come from elsewhere.

robodawg

August 25th, 2010
12:15 pm

Really helpful overview. Thanks for the list.

You really think Tuberville will go to a pretty conservative offense? It seems like he recognized a change was in order at Auburn — although implementing the spread didn’t go over so well. Not sure who his current offensive coordinator is, but it would seem like he at least has the personnel for the spread this time. I could see him letting a guy he trusts at OC run a similar Texas Tech offense while he concentrates on solidifying the defense.

what?

August 25th, 2010
12:15 pm

Vol Man,

again: It won’t happen!!! No way Tennessee beats UGA this year. I would bet the house on that.

Tide Rising

August 25th, 2010
12:17 pm

G8R GRAD,

I do expect AU to have a really good year with a strong senior class. Its just that I don’t think they have enough overall depth to win the division. I see them winning 9-10 games. I wouldn’t be surprised if we won the division with a record like 10-2 and the runner up was 9-3 and then a bunch of 7-5 teams. I literally believe anybody in the west can beat anybody and to add to that point the Ole Miss and MSU games for us will be just as tough to win as the Ark, LSU, and AU games. There will be that much parity in the west this year jmho. Last of all its quite possible that this year we could see a first with all 6 of the west division teams going 6-6 or better and going bowling.