Daily Football Fix: SEC coaching hot seat

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Each year at SEC Media Days, you can’t help but daydream (some of the coaches’ speeches are really boring) about the 14 guys up there and wonder how many of them will be there the next year.

Sometimes coaching changes come out of nowhere and surprise you. I don’t think many of us thought we were seeing the last of Les Miles two years ago or Jim McElwain last year.

But stuff happens.

As we get ready for MD2018 in Atlanta, here’s a look at the hot seat index for the 14 current SEC coaches:

Uncomfortably hot

Ed Orgeron, LSU: The over-under for wins this year is seven in Vegas. That doesn’t say a lot about the confidence that Coach O will have the kind of season LSU fans demand. It was a dumb move to make him the guy in the first place.

Derek Mason, Vanderbilt: Look at the Commodores schedule. It’s difficult to find a path to four wins. Even 4-8 only makes him 22-39 in five seasons without a winning record. How seriously does Vandy take football?

Definitely warm

Barry Odom, Missouri: Making Derek Dooley his offensive coordinator could be the kiss of death. Odom did a great job at the end of last year and he’s their guy but let’s see what happens.

Matt Luke, Ole Miss: Luke loves his school and is trying to lead it out of NCAA hell, but a really bad season may make the administration wonder if it couldn’t so better.

And that’s it. Now, things can change. Eve with his new contract, Gus Malzahn could get into trouble with a bad season. But you have five new coaches in the league who presumably will be fine and you have Nick Saban, who doesn’t sound like he wants to go anywhere, and the red-hot Kirby Smart.

South Carolina loves them some Will Muschamp although a disappointing season could warm up the seat. By disappointing, we’re talking 4-8.

Which brings us to Mark Stoops at Kentucky. The Vegas over/under is 5.5 wins and I’m guessing anything under will bring up the hot seat discussions. But he has a big buyout and is Kentucky really going to do any better? He has brought some consistency to the program and improved recruiting.

Anyway, all heck could break loose and we could see another five new coaches next year. I’d advise all of the current coaches not to mention death threats.

80 COMMENTS

  1. Methinks Pat underestimates how much the South Carolina fans do not like getting humiliated by Clemson. Muschbrain is a loser, and he won’t last at South Carolina no matter how much he sucks up to the media boys and gets them to praise his relentless failures. Getting slapped around the field 34-10 by Clemson on an off year for Clemson equals– suck city.

    I read somewhere that after getting smashed to pieces by Clemson Muschbrain announced he would install a new offense. Sounds familiar. He “installed a new offense” every year he was here at UF, but it was always the same lame ‘protect the defense at all costs” strategy in the end from a coach who would rather lose close games as a coward than take some chances and win games as a man.

    Muschbrain is more worried about putting up good defensive stats than winning. He will never be anything more than an assistant coach because statistics, as Coach Spurrier used to say, “are for losers and assistant coaches.” And Jeremy Foleys.

    • Well, you sure make some fair points there, Richard, hard to disagree c you the way you put it. You and I are usually about 100% concordant but I’ll deviate slightly here. I have a “feeling”–and it’s only a feeling without too much to back it up in concrete–that Muschamp is going to start prospering at South Carolina. In other words, he is going to surprise a lot of folks from now on.

      How-some-ever. I got no skin in the game there and it won’t really blow me away if he steps on his poncho liner from now to Kingdom Come. How’s that for feet planted firmly in mid-air? Like I said, just a hunch. Besides, my “feelings” usually turn out to be just gas!

          • Gator. You completely missed the underlining meaning, or “gist”, of my post. Read between the lines for the non obvious and you will then get the point, or gist, of it.

        • TampaGator. First of all, I think Richard knows me better than that, or whatever it is you were trying to somehow say. Secondly, as I advised you before a condition commonly called HUSH-3 exists between you and I. In civilian terms, it mean shut up and I’ll do the same. I will say, however, that every time you sit down at the keyboard and type my screen name in, it confirms my assessment of you. GATOR-6 OUT. (not “over”, OUT)

          • Gator 6, are you then saying that every time you sit down and type my screen name, you are admitting that you are exactly what you are “assessing” me to be behind a computer screen? Seems so.

          • Engage your brain before you put your mouth in gear, Tampa. If you’re having trouble doing that, then blink rapidly for about 10 seconds and you might activate your frontal cortex for a moment or two.

            Let me make this simple. You can stop anytime you want to, it is meaningless to continue on. The only thing making this ping pong game go on is your motormouth, or more accurately, your perseverating digits. Time to grow up, despite your age. FINAL TRANSMISSION, THE NET IS CLOSED.

          • Wrong again. It is your ongoing personal insults, as fully illustrated in this post (of which does not much cognitive development is needed).

      • Haha. I am not known for my skills with the crystal ball either. I do feel like Muschie will never be able to beat Clemson– On top of his twisted aversion to scoring points, there isn’t enough talent for two teams in that region to compete for national titles, IMHO.

        • Richard, just a point on your comment about recruiting in S. Carolina. They have plenty of HS talent in the state, but you’re probably correct in your assessment that there is not enough for 2 NC caliber programs. Clemson has succeeded in this regard by pulling a great many high level recruits out of Florida over the past 8-10 years. It’s tough enough for UF to have compete for in state talent with FSU and UM, but with schools like Clemson ( and OSU under Meyer) heavily recruiting the state as well, it’s a battleground like no other, even Texas.

    • He did his best to give away a certain W against us last year….like the game that sealed his fate with us blowing a certain W by sitting on the lead…but we just were not a good team in 2017. He closed well though against Michigan, and if he ever figures out that in today’s football, you have to score points…he may be solid coach after all. For whatever reason he thinks a 3 point lead is a 30…lol. Players love him though…the UF job was probably too big for him…thanks Foley.

      Clemson though…cmon dude…they are at the top of football right now in every way. Yeah they hate losing to them but fan bases need (ours included) need to give guys time to get going. In today’s climate, I doubt Dabo would have made it…for we start clling for heads after 2 years. There was a term called Clemsonning not log ago, but he sure is past that now isn’t he?

    • Agree. Here is the other funny thing psychologically about some of these coaches and their fans, especially Muschamp. When the school finds hope, their expectations get higher. And when 6-7 wins is realistic and successful to them, they eventually start to think it is failure. Some guys just need to tone down the rhetoric to keep their jobs. South Carolina used to be a great place to coach. Fans were happy with any win , especially against a good team. Then Spurrier came along and ruined it for guys like Muschamp. He’ll have a probation period until the fans start comparing him to another former Gator coach.

  2. I will agree with those outside Muschamp’s program who believe he now comprehends the importance of fielding a good offense. However, I doubt he comprehends how it actually happens. If it’s taken him seven years just to see it’s value, why should any of us believe he’s capable of adequately addressing his challenge? I don’t believe he will come close to marching what Steve Spurrier accomplished in Columbia. He’s a significantly drop off in head coaching quality. South Carolina is the equivalent of Kentucky football and there’s only so much that can be done unless the head coach is elite. Further, the Ganecocks boosters soon will weary of Clemson’s continued dominance as well as staring up at both Florida and Georgia in the SEC East. About 2020 we’ll be talking about the impression made by the new coach there when he’s introduced at SEC Media Days.

    Orgeron and Mason will be gone by the end of this season. Keep your eyes on Dave Doreen, the young blue collar ethic coach at N.C. State. He’s a fart-riser with a propensity for developing big-time passing QBs.

          • Gator 6. You have repeatedly called me insulting names, including calling me a narcissist. Yet, you are the one “consistently” patting yourself on the back and trying to impress everyone on here with your profession, your military service, your approval of their posts, and your use of your vast vocabulary on a sports blog. Dude, if you can’t take the heat, then stay out of the frying pan. And more importantly, try to not deeply insult people on the internet you do not know behind a keyboard while not expecting one to respond to those personal insults. I called you a troll (likely your name was previously stolen and used by Mikey for a while). You proved not to be, just like Tim. But you, unlike Tim, have continued to butt yourself into everyone business on here, including posts I have made to other people that have nothing to do with you. And, frankly, it is annoying, and what trolls do. So, maybe, you should just “shut up” telling other people to “shut up”, and shut up with the personal insults (including ADs at other schools).

            From Google:
            noun: narcissist; plural noun: narcissists
            a person who has an excessive interest in or admiration of themselves.

          • You know, this pissing contest is getting rather childish at that.

            You don’t have a clue what my “profession” is, what my military service was, or if I have a “vast” vocabulary or not. You got me on on the bit about “approving other posts” though. It’s not that, although in your estimation, that’s all you can naturally come up with. It’s called collegiality, which is something you should really try for more than a few moments. That notwithstanding, I admit to there being a lot less to me than may meet the eye: College drop out, over-promoted buck sergeant, basically a grunt who got a few breaks, and later on a blue collar doc as my students, interns, and residents used to (I think affectionately) call me. All that aside, you win. I’ve got other fish to fry in that I really have to attend to some important medical issues and residuals: spending so much time on here is anything but conducive to that as well as some family issues. I’m stepping away from all of this for a while and of course will monitor occasionally but not otherwise comment. Out here.

    • I agree on Ogeron, as does Vegas, even. He has always struck me as insane, and the players get tired of his shouty man routine pretty fast. It’s hard to understand what possessed LSU to recycle this failed former head coach.

  3. I only have one concern about this article, the photo! As the SEC helmets used for articles on this website about ”the SEC” in GATORSPORTS.COM. always utilize this pic: a white SEC helmet with ”War Eagle” and Gus Malzahn’s autograph inscribed one of them. WHY? Dan, the man, Mullen won’t sign ‘1’ SEC helmet for you all? I’m just GATORING, as this is HOGTOWN! And it’s ALL GATOR, ALL THE TIME around here in Gatorville!
    Go Gators!

  4. How seriously does Vandy take football???? Judging from a historical perspective, not very. Unfortunately for Mason and all future Vandy coaches, James Franklin proved you CAN win there. So, historically I’d say that Mason shouldn’t be too worried, but that all depends on how the Vandy folks feel now given their brief glimpse into respectability. Coach’s seat = warm

    Regarding Mizzou… Odom earned himself some goodwill last year. But, the hiring of Derek Dooley is inexplicable. Drew Lock may be able to overcome this with his talent and help Mizzou to a decent year, but I’d say Odom won’t be long for Mizzou with hires like that. Coach’s seat = warm

    Until Muschamp proves he “gets” offense….all bets are off. And I agree that the SC fanbase won’t tolerate continued Clemson humiliations for long. Sadly, they better get used to it. So yes, Champ’s seat is probably a little warm.

    Orgeron is bringing in talent. They’ve currently got a top 5 recruiting class building. They’ve brought in a transfer QB to try and solve a weak position. So I’d say the expectations on the bayou are high. Anything less than 7 wins might do him in. I only see four sure wins on their schedule. Coach’s seat = Extremely hot.

    Matt Luke at Ole Miss has 2-3 years before his seat gets hot. NCAA troubles that you inherit buy you some time. Mark Stoops at KY just has to get to a bowl as the expectations aren’t high. No hot seat here.

        • Exactly, 65. Fulmer has at least been vindicated and with the advent of Pruitt, I hope, UT gets better. Not better enough to ever beat us, mind you, but at least to a relevant level. To tell you the truth, before Dan Mullen came up and while we were still playing footsie with that big shot Kelly, I really wondered why Les Miles wasn’t coming up as a Gator candidate. Maybe there’s pictures of him out there with small farm animals or something?

          Dunno, but I’m probably not the only Gator who wondered about that. Or maybe I am, what the hell. In any event, I’m sure glad things worked out the way they did–HUAH?

          • Gator 6. Not your son. But I understand that such language is generally used with intent to insult another or to try to make another seem less important than oneself.

          • Guys not my war. And both can tell me to p-ss off. I enjoy reading both your comments. Tampa your a fountain of facts I have forgotten or missed. 6 Your wit and passion is plain and obvious. Clearly true Gators like Bull Gators fighting over a water hole. Tampa I have a lot of common background with 6 even though I don’t know him. I also do with you in that I own a company and have had to be correct in my statements in my current world. Hope you guys can call a truce…if not we can set up a ring. in the left corner from Texas in the right corner from Tampa and arm you guys with mascots from other SEC teams and let you guys wail away at each other ’till the stuffing falls out. ultimately I respect both of you and enjoy this site because of your respective posts. New Guy

          • Dilly Dilly. Come on 6 and Tampa…..please call a truce….and spend your energies discussing Gator football with us.

    • Rog, Vandy’s issue is the GPA standards limit their recruiting. Fla does too but not as much. I read an article on this somewhere. The pool for talent that meets the GPA Stanford, Vanderbilt, and two or 3 others keeps them from having the depth they need. That topped with recruits wanting to play for winning teams makes it harder. Not a Vandy fan but I did read that somewhere.

      • Yep…which made what Franklin did there something to behold and why he has JoePa land back in the mix. I think their base is forgetting who they are and which conference they play in. Ws are hard to come by on a regular basis.

      • Gator65. Read the following and the contents of the article will challenge your view of why Vandy does not compete better in the SEC. Basically, it states that the issue at Vandy is not an academic challenge but a lack of support and interest in football on the Nashville campus. It notes that the Vandy coaches cannot offer recruits unless they are deemed acceptable academically by the school. And Vandy offers hundreds of the top 250 football recruits in Rivals each year. They just can’t get the large majority of them there more because of the facilities and interest in football there is lacking big time in relationship to other SEC schools, and even schools like Stanford, which has a very successful football program because of their strong interest in facilities there and support from fans and wealthy boosters. https://vanderbilt.rivals.com/news/vanderbilt-recruiting-perception-is-not-reality

        • Tampa, Thanks didn’t realize the facilities were a issue as well. One would think with SEC revenue sharing there would be some funds to improve. I assumed the pool of talent was low that could meet the entrance requirements when competing with the likes of Stanford.

          • Ever wonder about why Vandy remains in the SEC? Ga Tech and Tulane dropped out years ago, both having similar GPA requirements as Vandy, although Tech did and do have a long and storied football history. Tulane is probably the closest to Vandy in reality….I was just a kid then, but I do remember it well.

          • Tech did not leave the SEC mainly because of academic reasons. They left mainly because Bobby Dodd did not feel Tech could compete against Alabama and other schools budget wise because of no limits on scholarships at the time. Bama would bring huge numbers of recruits in for tryout camps (very similar to what is going on in mass today) and sign many or most of the top players, even if they had no need for them on their roster. Bobby Dodd appealed the SEC administration to stop Bama and others (mainly Bama), but the SEC did not try to stop Bama and others schools from over signing players. Georgia Tech, with Dodd as their HC and AD, then left from the SEC and became an independent. Many said they left because of recruiting challenges due to academics, but Dodd denied that in the early 60s. He told the Atlanta paper back then that the only reason he left the SEC was due to a rule that allowed better funded programs to over-recruit most of the top players. Just so you know, Gator6.

          • And Tulane left the SEC mainly because the school’s administrators and president at the time (I think around the mid 60s) felt they could not compete in the SEC for financial reasons, and they wanted to focus more of their budget on academic endeavors while playing a less demanding, physically and financially, schedule as an independent.

          • I think I did know that but had forgotten the details as I aged. What exactly was the scoop on Tulane? (which is the one I’m even more fuzzy on)

            Over.

          • That’s very interesting Tampa…. I sort of think I had heard that about Ga Tech before but never quite that detailed. If they had problems with Bama’s recruiting back then…..it looks like things haven’t changed much…

      • Yeah, I agree that Admission Requirements thin the pool a little bit…. and I’m okay with that (if you can’t read or write, why should you be in a big time university…ah forget it, that debate is not for here). But there are enough talented athletes that qualify as solid student-athletes to win. Stanford does it. Vandy did it… for a few years. Wake Forest and Duke are competitive some years.

        My stock answer for most of these discussions…..it comes down to coaching.

          • Northwestern, like Stanford, has some of the wealthiest boosters in the country. But they still demand a fairly equal balance between athletic programs and academic programs. But they will pay to keep a good coach and pay to upgrade facilities to a certain point. But not excessively. And why they can occasionally upset a Wisconsin, a OSU or a Michigan.

        • Rog. It comes down mostly to administration and booster support, not admission requirements, for continued success on the college football field. Stanford is very competitive almost every year because their administration and boosters take football very seriously, as does the student body at Stanford. And the administration and boosters pay the money to hire and keep top coaches. Vandy does non of that. Never has. They probably never will because they see themselves more like a Ivy League school. I have long said that Vandy should leave the SEC and join the Ivy League. They would be very successful on the field if that happened.

          • Not addressed to me, but nicely explained anyway. I would only differ in that CONF-USA might be the destination of choice should they leave the SEC.

          • I agree. That’s kind of what I tried to say….probably not very well. Vandy’s leaders just aren’t committed to top tier football like Bama, UGA, UF, etc. Nothing wrong with that. But you are correct, perhaps they are in the wrong conference. Of course they get a lot more money I’d imagine being in the SEC than in Ivy or C-USA so they’d have to be pushed out 🙂

  5. Vandy would be insane to fire Mason. He is a decent head coach and will stay at Vandy for a long time. Vandy would have a hard time hiring a great coach again (like the current Penn State coach), and that coach would leave within a couple of years if that coach did have success in Nashville (like the current Penn State coach).

    • I’m not sure I’d see Muschamp leave SC. It’s a middle of the pack SEC school where expectations still aren’t that great. He can win 9 games and be a hero in Columbia. Challenge for the East title every 5 years, beat Clemson 2 out of 5 years (a little difficult now but all things level out) and he’s got lifetime employment. Will is an SEC guy…. why would he leave?

      You wanna talk about an unreasonable fan base…..look at Auburn. They just gave Gus the keys to the kingdom but you let him go 6-6 this year and he’ll be knocking on Muschamps door looking for an OC gig.

      • Rog. Sorry, I meant to type (has not been a good typing day for me)….”inside the SEC”….not “outside the SEC.” Muschamp would likely leave for LSU on a second’s notice. And he might have that opportunity after this year if LSU wins 6 or 7 and USC wins 9 or 10. Could happen. And Muschamp did coach outside the SEC at Texas….and in the NFL at Miami.

        • Yeah, that’s his background, but he’s definitely not an NFL guy so that was just testing the waters and any coach would be hard pressed to turn down the Texas gig. But in his heart, he’s SEC. Played here…coached here.

          And I do agree that he’d jump at LSU and yes, he may get that chance. But…and this is a big but (as my teenage boys would say…..”that’s what she said”) why would the LSU Admin want him. They’ve been starved for true offense for years and we’ve seen how Muschamp feels about that….

          • Muschamp is his own worst enemy. When someone gets in his head he can’t let it go. Maybe tempered with time but i still feel it’s there. Sideline tantrums, poor decisions at critical junctions, lack of ability to get an oc that can do what he can’t or won’t. I liked his fire for the game. He was a Georgia grad I believe. They didn’t offer him as far as I know.

  6. Save all the hype, 2018 is a no brainer when one team wins the NC 5 out of the last 9 years and that includes 2 times they won the NC and didn’t even play in the SEC Title Game.
    The Gators will get better under Coach Dan, we can’t get worse. But Alabama will play Georgia in the SEC Champ game, Auburn is not winning in T Town. And Bama will beat the Dawgs, why! Because he is 12-0 against his assistants and Kirby has already crashed against him once with a senior loaded team and that will continue and Saban will be 13-0 against his assistants very quickly in that game.
    Anyone want to bet? I just wrapped up the SEC 2018 season, lets go watch something else. I will say this, Clemson and Bama are a lock in the playoffs, but Ohio States schedule could bite them so who the other 2 teams are could be a surprise, this is what we should watch.

  7. Other than some sensitivity I am not going to try to think through this is mostly a good discussion. I’m glad to hear about tech and Tulane and wish we had the status of these schools instead of places that dont belong in the sec like south Carolina Arkansas Missouri etc. So I don’t care about their teams and coaches and wish the sun would just stop acting like what happens there is interesting.
    Orgeron is a placeholder so who cares about him. As a gator we want the true sec programs to do well so hopefully they find someone who works well with was. The Kentucky guy is good but I can see them wanting to upgrade as they can be good with the right coach.
    Vandy would be wrong to change coaches and ole Miss will be back at the drawing board soon imo. Tennessee may have finally hired the right guy after avseries of errors and Georgia will be fine until their qb moves on and then they will be like Auburn in that one year they like the coach but not the next. Saban has 3 more good years and then things will start to change. Mississippi state probably has a good coach but it’s still early.

      • You know, you could mix and match and come up with an “ideal” SEC but I think you’d have to be careful to observe competitive balance. Say you asked Mizzou to go back to Big 12 (or Big 10) and replaced them with Clemson. Sounds exciting but heck, the road to the playoff just got that much tougher. Now you could replace Arkansas with Va Tech or Ga Tech (UGA would never let that happen) and I’d be alright with that.