Is it too early to start thinking about the upcoming college football coaching carousel? Perhaps. We haven’t seen a regular season game yet.
But the “interim” tag on Ole Miss coach Matt Luke should serve as a reminder that coaching jobs change, and sometimes they change both unexpectedly and rapidly. So SEC fans probably should keep their heads on a swivel.
On Thursday, Sports Illustrated’s Bruce Feldman released his list of the 30 hottest names for the upcoming coaching carousel. The well-respected college football insider is probably working off some pretty good intel on the names athletic directors are keeping on their “short list” in the desk drawer, but the “right fit” among these names still like revolves around budget, 2017 performance and a host of other things that have to fall into place.
So it’s best not to take these lists too seriously, either.
Feldman opened his article, which is broken down into two lists: current head coaches due for a bump and assistant coaches looking for a head coaching job, with a preamble about this year potentially being one that favors current head coaches getting new jobs.
There were no SEC coaches on that list, but there were a few former SEC assistants turned head coaches, such as former LSU assistant Frank Wilson (UTSA) and former UGA offensive coordinator Mike Bobo (Colorado State).
Feldman identified the following SEC assistant coaches on his list:
2. Dave Aranda, LSU defensive coordinator: He’s the highest paid coordinator in the nation, so whoever comes after him will have to bring the checkbook. He’s likely to make more money in Baton Rouge than what most non-major program could pay him to be their head coach. Feldman writes: “His low-key personality may give some ADs pause, but his football sense and preparation are as good as any in the game.”
8. Jeremy Pruitt, Alabama defensive coordinator: Like Kirby Smart before him, Pruitt is looking to leverage time coaching defense under Nick Saban into his first head coaching gig. Last season, the Crimson Tide defense was as strong under Pruitt as it was under Smart. He also has coaching experience at Florida State and Georgia. Someone is likely to come knocking soon.
12. Matt Canada, LSU offensive coordinator: He has yet to coach a game as the LSU offensive coordinator, and Feldman already has him as a man that Ed Orgeron could lose from his staff in the next coaching carousel. Feldman calls Canada one of the most innovative minds in football, but also notes: “Canada, like his defensive counterpart Aranda, is making so much at LSU that he might not be an option for most non–Power 5 programs.”
Would any of these assistant coaches leave the SEC for a head coaching gig? The one thing we do know is that all three of them make more than many FBS head coaches doing what they do now, so the fit will have to be perfect.
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