Expectations For New Coaches Around College Football

Story posted January 6, 2016 in Sports, CommRadio by Joseph Esquivel-Murphy

This college football season and offseason has seen numerous head coaches retire or fired. In fact, 26 teams will have a different head coach to start the 2016 season. Twenty-five teams have found their new head coach, as Texas State is still looking for its new head coach as Dennis Franchione retired on Dec. 22, 2015. Here are the 25 new coaches and what to expect from those coaches next season.

Bowling Green: Mike Jinks

Jinks was the running backs coach and the associate head coach at Texas Tech last season. While Jinks was a high school football coach in Texas from 2005-2012, Bowling Green is his first job higher than offensive coordinator in college. The Falcons have made the MAC championship game the past two seasons, but they will not make the championship game next season.

BYU: Kalani Sitake

Sitake was the defensive coordinator at Oregon State last season and spent a decade as an assistant at Utah. While Sitake has never held a head coaching position, he is a BYU alumnus and has knowledge of recruiting the area. The Cougars might not win 10 games next season, but expect them to be a good team next season.

East Carolina: Scottie Montgomery

Montgomery takes over the East Carolina program after he was the offensive coordinator at Duke last season. The Pirates have been an explosive team offensively and the Montgomery hire shows that the program is invested in their offense. Expect East Carolina to be bowl eligible next season after limping to a 5-7 finish this season.

Georgia: Kirby Smart

After spending the past nine seasons at Alabama, Smart returns to his alma mater. An excellent recruiter and defensive coordinator, Smart will make Georgia a contender for the SEC championship and potentially a dark horse for the College Football Playoff.

Georgia Southern: Tyson Summers

Summers takes over a Georgia Southern program that is competing for conference titles in the Sun Belt. As the defensive coordinator at Colorado State, Summers has the knowledge of how to keep teams competitive in their conference as the Rams managed to win seven games while losing their starting quarterback and running back from a 10 win team. The Eagles will be competing for Sun Belt titles under Summers next season.

Hawaii: Nick Rolovich

Rolovich is returning to his alma mater after spending the past four seasons as offensive coordinator at Nevada. Hawaii struggled last season and Rolovich will improve Hawaii because he has coached for Hawaii and has spent the past four years coaching against Hawaii, so expect them to compete for bowl eligibility next season.

Illinois: Bill Cubit

Cubit returns to Illinois as he spent the last season as the interim head coach for the Illini. Illinois took a bit of a step back last season, but Cubit will have control of the program and expect the Illini to be bowl-eligible next season.

Iowa State: Matt Campbell

Campbell gets his chance at a Power-5 head coaching job, spending the past four seasons as head coach of Toledo. As Toledo’s head man, Campbell won 35 games, including nine this past year and a double overtime victory against Iowa State this season. Iowa State has been one of the worst teams in the Big 12 over the past couple seasons, but expect Campbell to turn Iowa State in the direction of bowl eligibility.

Louisiana-Monroe: Matt Viator

Viator is taking a step up in competition as he accepted the head coaching position at Louisiana-Monroe. He has spent the past decade as head coach at McNeese State and won 77 games there, including five FCS playoff appearances and three first round wins. Louisiana-Monroe might not be bowl-eligible next year, but they will be a better team next season.

Maryland: D.J. Durkin

Maryland wanted a more defensive approach as the Terrapins hired Michigan defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin as their head coach. Durkin knows how to coach and recruit as he has also spent time at Florida and Stanford. Maryland plays in the competitive Big Ten East, but Durkin will make Maryland competitive in the division next season.

Memphis: Mike Norvell

After spending the past eight seasons under Todd Graham, Norvell took the head coaching job at Memphis. Norvell understands the importance of winning in major competition as he coached at Pittsburgh and Arizona State. Memphis will take a step back next season due to the departure of quarterback Paxton Lynch, but Norvell will keep Memphis among the elite in the American Athletic Conference.

Miami: Mark Richt

Miami decided to go back to its roots as the Hurricanes hired former UM quarterback Mark Richt as their head coach. Richt previously coached at Georgia for the past 15 years and won 145 games and two SEC championships. He is an excellent recruiter and expect the Hurricanes to compete for the ACC Coastal title next season.

Minnesota: Tracy Claeys

Minnesota felt the Claeys had done an adequate job as interim head coach as the Golden Gophers removed the interim tag. The Golden Gophers suffered a bit of a setback under his watch, but Claeys was feeling out life as head coach of a Big Ten team. Claeys will make Minnesota a competitive team in the Big Ten West division next season.

Missouri: Barry Odom

Odom has to replace a Missouri legend as former head coach Gary Pinkel resigned. Odom was the defensive coordinator under Pinkel the past season, so he knows how the program works. Missouri will not win the SEC East next season, but expect them to compete for the SEC East title.

North Texas: Seth Littrell

Littrell joins a North Texas team that struggled offensively for most of the season, including a humiliating 66-7 loss at home to Portland State, a team in the FCS. Littrell was the offensive coordinator at North Carolina and knows how to make teams better offensively. North Texas will not win many games next season, but they will be an explosive offense.

Rutgers: Chris Ash

Rutgers wants to distance themselves from the tumultuous 2015 season with the hiring of Ohio State defensive coordinator Chris Ash. Ash engineered one of the best defenses in the country and he is an excellent recruiter. Rutgers will not join Ohio State as an elite team in the Big Ten East, but expect the Scarlet Knights to be bowl-eligible next season.

South Carolina: Will Muschamp

Muschamp gets a chance at redemption as he is the new head coach at South Carolina. His ability to recruit good players was never in doubt, but he only won 28 games as Florida’s head coach. South Carolina were one of the worst teams in the SEC last season, but expect the Gamecocks to be a little more competitive next season.

Syracuse: Dino Babers

After head coaching stints at Bowling Green and Eastern Illinois, Babers gets his chance at a Power-5 program in Syracuse. Babers enjoyed success at Bowling Green, winning 18 games and a MAC championship in his two years as head coach. Syracuse will be a much improved team next season under Babers.

Toledo: Jason Candle

After serving as interim head coach for the bowl game, Candle is now the official head coach of Toledo. He was the offensive coordinator for Toledo over the past season. Toledo returns most of their players from last year’s team and expect the Rockets to win the MAC West title next season.

Tulane: Willie Fritz

Fritz leaves a successful Georgia Southern program to coach a bad Tulane team. The Green Wave won only three games last season, while Georgia Southern was the best team in the Sun Belt. Fritz will make Tulane more competitive next season, but they will be towards the bottom of the AAC.

UCF: Scott Frost

After spending the past seven seasons at Oregon, Frost joins a Central Florida team that failed to win a game last season, including six losses by more than 20 points. Frost is an excellent recruiter and a great offensive mind. UCF will be competitive next season, but will remain in the cellar of the AAC.

USC: Clay Helton

After spending most of the season as USC’s interim head coach, Helton saw the interim tag removed towards the end of the season. While USC lost its final two games of the season, Helton is well liked by the players, coaches and recruits of USC. The Trojans will repeat as PAC-12 South champions and will compete with Stanford as the best team out West.

Virginia: Bronco Mendenhall

After more than a decade in Utah, Mendenhall left BYU to become the head coach at Virginia. Over 11 seasons in Provo, Mendenhall won 99 games, including 10 this past season. Virginia have struggled to be competitive in the ACC during Mike London’s tenure, but expect the Wahoos to improve under Mendenhall.

Virginia Tech: Justin Fuente

Longtime head coach Frank Beamer retired after 29 years as Virginia Tech’s head coach and former Memphis Coach Justin Fuente takes over. Memphis enjoyed great success over the past two seasons, winning 19 games, including a victory over Ole Miss. Virginia Tech crawled to a winning record last season, but Fuente will make the Hokies competitive in the ACC Coastal.

Joseph Esquivel-Murphy is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism and spanish. To contact him, email jje5139@psu.edu