With the 2009 season a little more than halfway over we here at In The Bleachers decided to take a step back and look big picture on the season's occurences. As we all know college football is a fickle mistress, especially to those who make a living trying to win in the meat grinder that is FBS football. Every year their are plenty of new faces in new places set up to help teams either build on success, start a winning tradition or return an institution to past glory.
This season is no different and in our first Mid-Season Round Table we look at which staff moves have had the most significant impact; with a twist. Instead of just analyzing head coaching hires we've opened the floor to coordinators as well and are looking at both negative and positive impacts.
Aiding in this analysis of the good and the bad of the newest coaching moves we have former Ohio State Safety Rob Harley from Harley in the Huddle, Clark Nelson from The ACC & SEC Blog, Big Head from Mizzourah, Brian Scott from The Brian Scott Radio Hour and Jeremy Mauss from Mountain West Connection.
Here's a look at 2009's most impactful coaching hires, through the eyes of folks who know college football:
Rob Harley-Without a doubt Steve Sarkisian & Co have made the biggest impact out of any new staff in the country. What’s most impressive has been the new staff’s ability to change the entire football culture up in
Other than two games this season (Stanford and
Already this season Sarkisian’s quest to revitalize
Read more for the rest of the ITB Round Table
Clark Nelson-Whipple ball is alive and well in
Honorable mention should go to Monte Kiffin and Ted Roof. Monte Kiffin looks like he has had a big impact on the field, but UT was pretty good on defense last year. The biggest impact Kiffin has had is not in the statistics, but in the attitude of this Volunteer team believing they can win any game.
At Auburn the Tigers are allowing nearly 9 points more per game this season under Ted Roof and 50 yards more per game. Roof's defenses have given up 30 points or more four times this season. Hired from
Big Head-Probably the easiest call is Gus Malzahn, even with a string of a couple losses.
Jeremy Mauss- I am going with the former Illini offensive coordinator Mike Locksley who is now the head coach at
Then include that
Brian Scott - I hate to say it, but my vote for biggest impact coach has to go to Lane Kiffin. He started out with an uphill battle, and knowing this he decided to take matters into his own hands. Most new coaches will either endear themselves to the fan base, or not, by putting W's and L's in the results column. Lane Kiffin knew that this UT team was in a rebuilding phase and their work on the field might not be enough to make him "the Guy" in
Since that spat between Kiffin and Meyer, Kiffin has continued to make headlines by making inappropriate comments to recruits, criticizing referees, and losing close games. But if you ask anyone in
Michael Felder- While the rest of the staff additions listed have been outside hires brought in to fix a system or right a program I’m going to go with something a little more subtle; the shift of Jon Tenuta to head play caller for the Fighting Irish defense. This spring the Irish stripped Corwin Brown of his play calling duties and turned them over to the über aggressive Tenuta. Since gaining the reins to the blue and gold the former GT defensive guru has done nothing but frustrate Irish fans. A look at the surface makes it clear as Notre Dame has surrendered 30+ points in four of their seven games and in games against BCS opponents they give up a troubling 28.2 points per game.
Going beneath the surface you’ll find that the picture gets even uglier as Tenuta’s Irish rank 50th in rush defense, 117th in pass defense, 97th in total defense and 64th in scoring defense. They’re giving up over twenty first downs a game and not surprisingly they’re 88th in pass efficiency defense. The formerly aggressive, zone blitzing and gambling Tenuta hasn’t been able to recreate the chaos with his schemes that lead to normally lead to sacks as ND ranks 75th in nation in that category.
While the Fighting Irish are holding on strong at #23 in the BCS and should finish strong with an easy schedule the defense is a true problem in