2004 College Football Coaching Changes ]]> include($base_url . “/includes/header.htm”); ?>
| 2004 NCAA Football Coaching Changes
Courtesy of Insider Edge
Coaching changes can have an immediate impact on teams whilefor others, it may take time for the new coach to make his mark.Here is our take on the new coaches for 2004 and whether ornot you will see an immediate change or the same old stuff from2003.
Akron – Lee Owens replaced by J.D. Brookhart
Owens had a 40-61 record during his nine years with the Zips,including 31-41 in the Mid-American Conference so things canonly improve. Brookhart is coming over from Pitt where he wasthe Panthers offensive coordinator the last 3 seasons.He got his first big break when star QB Charlie Frye chose toreturn for his senior season so the offense should be explosiveis they can find any sort of rushing game. The problem for theZips may be Brookharts lack of experience as a decisionmaker since he has never, at any level, called plays. He willbe a force in the future though as he is very well liked byplayers giving Akron some recruiting success.
2003 Record 7-5 SU 5-5 ATS Games at Penn St., Virginia, NorthernIllinois and at home against Marshall and Miami Ohio will bevery difficult to win so an improvement on their 2003 recordis unlikely. 3 of their 5 ATS losses were as double-digit favoritesas they allowed a total of 86 points in those defeats. The defensewill be the cause once again to another .500 or below ATS markbecause the presence of Frye will keep them over valued, especiallyin the beginning of the season.
Arizona – John Mackovic replaced by Mike Stoops
Mackovic finally got his walking papers midway through lastseason, which was long overdue after his players quit on himat different times over the past 2 seasons. In comes Stoops,who was the associate head coach under his brother Bob at Oklahoma,where he also shared defensive coordinator duties. Dontbe too stunned if Stoops comes in and turns things around rightaway. They are still very young so wont be cracking thetop 25 anytime soon but they expect to be a stronger defensivebunch to go along with an offense that will spread out the field.The intensity that he brings to the table can only help thisteam that finished in last place for the first time in schoolhistory last season.
2003 Record 2-10 SU 5-7 ATS There really is no place to goexcept for up but how far will depend on their 16 returningstarters from last season that includes the core of their offensethat showed signs of life near the end of last season. Theirfirst 4 games are at home this year and while only 1 seems tobe a definite win, pulling off an upset against either Utahor Wisconsin could carry them to a near .500 SU record. Homegames against Arizona St. and Washington St. will decide thatbut an improvement both SU and ATS seem very likely.
Army – Todd Berry replaced by Bobby Ross
Taking over this struggling program will be a tough task forRoss, who will enter this season as the third oldest coach inall of Division 1-A. Although that may not be a bad thing. Hehas always had ties to the Military being a VMI grad and servingin the Army. Also, one of his sons graduated from the NavalAcademy and another graduated from the Air Force Academy. Becauseall of this, he knows the spirit and tradition of the Army footballprogram. The problem however is that the Black Knights havewon a total of 5 games over the last 4 years and even thoughRoss may bring in a winning attitude, winning on the field maybe a different story.
2003 Record 0-13 SU 6-6-1 ATS Even without winning a singlegame, Army was able to stay within the number 6 times. But theyeasily could have been much worse ATS as 5 of those covers cameby a combined total of 17 points (2 by a half point each). Startingthis season against C-USA upper echelon teams Louisville andHouston will either give this team a lot of character to buildon or another disappointing start that could end in anotherwinless season. Their two easiest opponents, East Carolina andTulane are both on the road.
Central Florida – Mike Kruczek replaced by George O’Leary
O’Leary is taking over a UCF program battered by losses onthe field and discipline problems off the field. The Knightshad eight players, including four starters, suspended last seasonfor various infractions. They were supposed to be one of thefront-runners in the MAC title chase but they finished a verydisappointing 3-9, their worst record since 1984. Kruczek wasfired in November and didnt even finish out the season.OLeary brings in a troubled past after his resignationat Notre Dame 5 days after being hired due to lying about hispast. While it may not the best character move, he does bringin a winning track record and he should have no problems turningthis team around as they return 15 starters.
2003 Record 3-9 SU 2-9 ATS After preseason aspirations werequickly dashed last season, a new attitude is what this teamneeded. What they didnt need is games against Wisconsin,West Virginia and Penn St. to start the season. Back-to-backroad MAC games against Marshal land Miami Ohio might keep themfrom competing for an East Division title. They will win 5 conferencegames and with an upset or two, they could finish a minimumof 6-2. A home game against Northern Illinois could be the wildcard.
Central Michigan – Mike DeBord replaced by Brian Kelly
This was definitely an interesting choice for the Chipewaswho chose a winner over experience. Kelly takes over at CentralMichigan after leading Grand Valley State to the past two DivisionII championships. He spent 13 seasons there and the Lakers were118-35-2 in Kelly’s tenure for a winning percentage of .767,third best among active Division II head coaches. He has neverhad a losing season as a head coach. Now the problem with allof this is the fact that in his 22 seasons as a coach, he hasnever been above the Division II level. Even though this isthe MAC, it is no slouch conference any more and it will bea drastic change for Kelly. He isnt used to losing andif the season starts slow, he might not know where to go.
2003 Record 3-9 SU 3-7 ATS Starting the season at two Big Tenschools will be something Kelly has never encountered before.The good coming out of that is gaining some great experiencefor their next 3 games, all of which are at home and two thatcan be won. They most likely will be 2-5 heading into the final4 games of their season that come against 4 of the projectedbottom 5 teams in the conference. Therefore, a winning recordis not out of the question thanks to a soft schedule so an improvementfrom a season ago is in the cards
Cincinnati – Rick Minter replaced by Mark Dantonio
Dantonio helped Ohio State build one of the nation’s top defensesand he will look to do the same in Cincinnati. The Bearcatsare one of the few teams with a new coach that actually playedwell in recent years. Minter took Cincinnati to bowl games fourof the past six seasons but had come under increasing criticismfor failing to create a larger fan base and national profile.That should change right away. Success also shouldnt befar behind as the offense should explode with QB Gino Guiduglioperating behind a strong line once again. If Dantonio can turnaround the defense the same way he did at Ohio St., it couldbe a surprisingly very successful campaign this year.
2003 Record 5-7 SU 4-7 ATS The season wont start outvery easy as the Bearcats open the 2004 season at Ohio Stateon Sept. 4. Going on the road to face Southern Miss and Louisvillemight kill any title hopes, but getting Memphis and TCU at homeis a huge help. All the returning experience should pay offbig time in close games hoping to reverse the trend from lastseason as they lost five games by a touchdown or less. A CUSATitle is not out of the question if they can get a couple bigwins down the streatch against a brutal schedule.
Duke – Carl Franks replaced by Ted Roof
Roof was 2-3 as interim coach after Franks was fired Oct. 19thso he was the obvious choice, especially since he was the playersfirst choice as well. Most likely, the 30-22 win over rivalNorth Carolina cemented the deal for Roof. He has always hada strong defensive background including here at Duke where hesliced off 118 ypg allowed in just 2.5 seasons as the defensivecoordinator. His lack of head coaching experience seems to behis biggest downfall but it didnt seem to affect his atthe end of last season when the Blue Devils won two of theirfinal three games, a feat that wasnt done since the firstthree games of the season. The players will also be playing110% for this guy as well, something that wasnt apparentwith Franks at the helm.
2003 Record 4-8 SU 5-6 ATS The momentum from 2003 should carryover into 2004 even though their first 3 games are on the road.They start off with games at Navy and at Connecticut, certainlynot easy games but games that can be won. The road portion oftheir ACC schedule is brutal with games at Virginia Tech, GeorgiaTech and Florida St. The ACC home slate is easier but with certainlyno gimmies. A 5-win season is not out of the question and animprovement of their ATS record should happen as well basedon their 4-1 ATS finish from last season.
Eastern Michigan – Jeff Woodruff replaced by Jeff Genyk
Genyk comes over from Northwestern and brings 12 years of BigTen experience with him. The big factor in this selection isthe fact that he is a Michigan native and is very familiar withthe recruiting area. Getting big names to come to the MAC isalways difficult especially when the doormat of the league isbeckoning them but Genyk is out to change that and bring theEagles back to the top. But it wont happen this season.What Genyk brings in recruiting ability, he lacks in experienceas he has never coached or even been a coordinator at this level.The turnaround will not happen overnight for Eastern Michigan.
2003 Record 3-9 SU 6-4 ATS A 6-4 ATS mark isnt horriblebut they were getting so many points to bail out their offensethat was 97th or worse in the 4 major categories. They scoredover 20 points only 4 times but that should change as they moveinto a new spread offense. Its the defense that will belooked upon to stop teams as they allowed over 31 points in8 of their 12 games. They could start the season at 2-2 (Floridais not one of those wins), but victories after that will befew and far between.
Idaho – Tom Cable replaced by Nick Holt
Holt comes back to Idaho where he spent eight years in theVandals coaching staff so he knows the surroundings and whatexactly he is up against. 2004 does not expect to be a god seasonbut remember that the Vandals play in the weak Sun Belt conferenceso anything is possible. Idaho has won only 6 games in 3 seasonsso first and foremost Holt will need to retool the attitudeof the team, players and everyone in the system. He is comingoff stints at Louisville and USC where winning is expected everyseason so bringing that attitude in shouldnt be too difficult.
2003 Record 3-9 SU 5-5 ATS What will be difficult for the Vandalsis getting ready to play 9 road games this season. Their gameagainst Washington St. is considered a home game even thoughit is being played on the Cougars home field so they only play3 games on their own turf. A slow start is expected with theirfirst home game not until October 9th but two of those gamesare winnable and the success, or lack thereof, their seasoncould depend on those first series of games.
Kent State – Dean Pees replaced by Doug Martin
Pees left for greener pastures in the NFL as he accepted alinebackers coaching position with the New England Patriots.Martin was the offensive coordinator for Kent for just one seasonbefore being promoted to head coach. Martin made an instantimpact on the Golden Flashes offense. In its first seasonunder Martins system, Kent averaged 26.8 points per game,the second highest in the last 30 years, and scored 30 or morepoints in each of the final six games and did so in a school-recordeight games overall. Nearly every major offensive category from2002 to 2003 jumped last year under Martins tutelage.Expect much of the same this season.
2003 Record 5-7 SU 8-2 ATS The Flashes finished 6th in thecountry in ATS record last season so we dont expect thatmuch success again in 2004. However, with that offense, anythingis possible. A huge boost is the reinstatement of QB JoshuaCribbs, who was arrested on drug possession charges. He willmiss their opener but will return to action after that. He wasoriginally going to miss the entire season. They should getmore wins since they get the bulk of their defense back andwill look to contend in the MAC.
Mississippi State – Jackie Sherill replaced by SylvesterCroom
The retirement of Sherill is the best thing that could havehappened to this once powerful program. Their decline was fastand it may take a little time to get them back into the elitecrowd of the SEC. The Bulldogs were 8-27 since 2001 with justthree SEC victories. Croom brings with him 28 years of experiencein both the NFL and college. He has never been a head coach,but has been an NFL assistant with five teams since 1987 andworked for Bear Bryant and Ray Perkins at Alabama and was onthe staff during their back-to-back National Championships in1978 and 1979. Coming back to college after such a long stintin the NFL might be a problem at first but Croom should getthis team back on track.
2003 Record 2-10 SU 2-10 ATS If anything, the Bulldogs wereconsistent last season. The players obviously quit playing aswitnessed by their last 6 losses coming by a total of 209 points(34.8 ppg). We wont see that again this season but theremight be some early growing pains. There arent any irreplaceablelosses from last season and theres plenty of developeddepth for them to make some noise. They are benefited with 7home games this season that include Tulane, Maine and UAB.
Nebraska – Frank Solich replaced by Bill Callahan
Solich had success at Nebraska but not the kind of successthat was good enough to keep his job. The Huskers were becomingconsistently average and a change was needed and are there evergoing to be changes starting this season. Callahan will bringin a brand new offense that spreads the ball and there willbe plenty of airing it out. It wont happen overnight however.They will have problems with good defenses used to good passingoffenses and they will have to rely on their defense to keepthem in some of their games. If nothing else, it will be a funthing to watch.
2003 Record 2-10 SU 2-10 ATS Its possible for Nebraskato start out 6-0 if they can pull out big road wins at Pittsburghand Texas Tech, two games that would have been much tougherin 2003. Visits from Western Illinois, Southern Miss, Kansasand Baylor should have them at 4-0 at home before the big partof their Big 12 schedule. Or the new passing attack will bea total bust and Husker Nation will be calling for Callahanshead after just one season.
Nevada – Chris Tormey replaced by Chris Ault
Ault, the Nevada athletic director and the winningest footballcoach in school history, will return to the head coaching jobfor a third time to try to snap a five-year stretch withouta winning record. The Wolf Pack are in need of a lot of thingsso Ault will have some trouble trying to get Nevada back toa WAC contender. The bar has been set higher now that Ault isback coaching and even though he has turned this program around2 other times, the third time might not be the charm. A suspectdefense with only 4 returning starters should keep them froma winning season but expect a lot of points on both sides ofthe ball so anything is possible.
2003 Record 6-6 SU 6-5 ATS They finished last season on a 1-4ATS slide. The non-conference slate is sneaky hard going onthe road to deal with good Mountain West teams San Diego Stateand UNLV. Home games with Sacramento St., Buffalo, Rice andSan Jose St. are all winnable but the WAC is a difficult placeto win on the road so the other two home games against Tulsaand Boise St. are very important to a successful season.
UTEP – Gary Nord replaced by Mike Price
The Miners went 14-34 the last four seasons under Nord, soa change was necessary and no matter whom they got, it wouldmost likely be for the good. Enter Mike Price, a well-knownname for obvious reasons and who should be coaching at Alabamaright now. UTEP got a steal here and they will be contendingfor the WAC title in the very near future because Price cancoach and he will get this team motivated. Price turned WashingtonState into a Pac-10 title contender and that was in a much moredifficult conference. They will concentrate on defense first,then special teams and then the offense while Price has piecesto work with welcoming 58 lettermen to try and turn things aroundright away.
2003 Record 2-11 SU 6-5 ATS The Miners gave up an average of44.7 ppg in their final 7 games from last season so defenseis definitely the priority for this year. An improvement isalmost guaranteed with 4 games on their schedule that they hadbetter win (Weber St., New Mexico St., San Jose St. and SMU).The problem is that 3 of their first 5 games are very difficultand if they can pull off just one of those, it could triggera big season.
In our next installment, we will be looking at transfers thatwill make an immediate impact for their new team
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