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Faculty soccer grades for brand spanking new 2023 FBS head coaches – USA TODAY

A handful of the Soccer Bowl Subdivision’s new head coaches for 2023 seem like can’t-miss hires proper off the bat, together with Luke Fickell at Wisconsin, Hugh Freeze at Auburn and Matt Rhule at Nebraska.

However beware: Three or 4 years down the highway, what appeared like a house run on the introductory press convention might be revealed as an enormous swing and a miss.

Nebraska is aware of this all too nicely. 5 years in the past, the rent of former quarterback Scott Frost was greeted with widespread acclaim after his unbeaten last season at Central Florida. After the Frost period landed with a significant thud, the Cornhuskers pray Rhule’s historical past of rebuilding downtrodden applications yields one other spectacular turnaround.

Hope springs everlasting for each FBS program that believes its newest rent can pay off. On paper, there’s at the very least one thing to love about each newcomer, together with the 2 head coaches who deliver very restricted expertise to the desk: Colorado’s Deion Sanders and Alabama-Birmingham’s Trent Dilfer have the title recognition with out the teaching observe document.

USA TODAY Sports activities evaluated the résumés of the brand new FBS coaches and gave every rent a letter grade based mostly on quick match and probability for long-term success. The record begins with A grades for 2 Huge Ten newcomers and ends with barely passing marks for 2 new additions within the American.

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Luke Fickell, Wisconsin

Wisconsin pulled off a stunning coup nabbing Fickell away from Cincinnati, which appeared much more prone to retain the previous Ohio State assistant for the foreseeable future with subsequent season’s transfer to the Huge 12. However the Badgers had been in a position to promote an alternative to leap again into the Huge Ten’s acquainted territory with a powerful basis upon which to construct a troublesome and bodily workforce with an up to date offensive scheme. 

Matt Rhule, Nebraska

Rhule is an out-of-the-park triumph for Nebraska at one other essential juncture in this system’s historical past — the Cornhuskers have continued to fall down the Huge Ten standings and want somebody with Rhule’s spectacular observe document of rapidly flipping shedding groups into among the hottest commodities within the nation. As he did at Temple and Baylor, search for Rhule to construct from the underside up and produce Nebraska again to the forefront.

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Jeff Brohm, Louisville

Brohm is lastly again at Louisville after years of being linked to the Cardinals’ opening. The previous Purdue coach will set up a lovely offensive system that ought to make this system a stylish touchdown spot for the area’s high talent expertise. The one query is whether or not Louisville’s protection will rise to the problem. 

Tom Herman, Florida Atlantic

Two years after being let go at Texas, Herman resurfaces at a Group of 5 spot that gives the chance to rebuild his once-impeccable fame. Very like Mississippi coach Lane Kiffin earlier than him, Herman might parlay three or 4 years with the Owls right into a return to the Energy 5. It has one way or the other been forgotten that Herman is 54-22 as a head coach with 4 ranked finishes in six seasons.

Hugh Freeze, Auburn

After profitable at the very least eight video games in every of his 4 years at Liberty, Freeze is again within the SEC at a program with fantastic sources and an insatiable want to beat Alabama, win the convention and win the nationwide championship. He is outfitted to deliver the Tigers again into SEC competition however might have time to rebuild a roster decimated by attrition and general mismanagement. 

Newly named Auburn football coach Hugh Freeze, left, and Carnell Williams, who will stay on as running backs coach and associate head coach, pose for photos at a news conference Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022, in Auburn, Ala. (AP Photo/Todd Van Emst)


Jamey Chadwell, Liberty

What looks as if a lateral transfer is extra a sign of Chadwell betting on himself after a really sturdy stretch at Coastal Carolina. Like Freeze earlier than him, Chadwell can use a profitable run at Liberty as an entry level to the Energy 5 after failing to achieve a lot traction for open positions throughout the previous two hiring cycles. Combining the Flames’ returning expertise and Chadwell’s offensive system might make for a potent combine.

Deion Sanders, Colorado

One of the intriguing hires in Energy 5 historical past, Sanders has the fame, recruiting draw and up to date observe document to reverse Colorado’s standing as one of many worst applications within the nation. He went 27-5 at Jackson State by compiling probably the most spectacular rosters within the Championship Subdivision and will observe the identical blueprint to make the Buffaloes appointment viewing starting subsequent September. The rent is a bet, and like all gambles it might blow up in Colorado’s face. However the potential reward far outweighs the chance.


Eric Morris, North Texas

The previous Texas Tech vast receiver and assistant coach is aware of the state in addition to anybody, which ought to assist North Texas regain a foothold in recruiting circles, and his deep data of the Air Raid scheme ensures the Imply Inexperienced can have probably the most prolific passing offenses within the Group of 5. His four-season run at Incarnate Phrase provides Morris sufficient expertise to hit the bottom working for a program that has reached six bowl video games previously seven seasons.

Troy Taylor, Stanford

There’s a lot to love about Taylor, who performed at California. He was the offensive coordinator at Utah from 2017-18 and went 30-8 over three seasons as head coach of Sacramento State, shedding solely as soon as in Huge Sky Convention play. The priority is he is not a deeply skilled head coach; given the state of roster growth within the age of the switch portal and NIL, there might be a really steep studying curve as he will get began at Stanford.


G.J. Kinne, Texas State

The 34-year-old has rapidly climbed the ranks since coming into teaching as an SMU graduate assistant in 2017. After serving as Hawaii’s offensive coordinator in 2020 and the co-coordinator at UCF in 2021, Kinne is presently 12-1 and within the semifinals of the FCS playoffs in his single season as Morris’ successor at Incarnate Phrase. Two issues he’ll do from the beginning are enhance Texas State’s offense and rekindle this system’s native recruiting connections. The earlier employees signed simply three in-state highschool prospects throughout the final two cycles. 

Barry Odom, UNLV

Odom’s 4 years of expertise as the pinnacle coach at Missouri separates him from the Rebels’ two earlier hires of a native highschool coach, Tony Sanchez, and a longtime Pac-12 assistant, Marcus Arroyo. He’ll have the amenities and sources to show this long-suffering Group of 5 program into one of many high recruiting locations within the Mountain West. However it’s important that he hires an offensive coordinator able to differentiating UNLV from the remainder of the convention.

Ryan Walters, Purdue

Walters, 36, was a first-rate candidate at Colorado earlier than the Buffaloes’ search zeroed in on Sanders. That might be Purdue’s acquire. He was extraordinarily profitable because the defensive coordinator at Illinois, crafting a unit that paced a breakout 12 months in 2022, and he brings alongside a deep data of the Huge Ten. Whereas probably the most profitable coaches in latest program historical past got here with an offensive background, Walters’ defensive pedigree makes for an attention-grabbing addition ought to he preserve the Brohm-era scheme.

Purdue announced Tuesday, Dec. 13, they had hired Illinois defensive coordinator Ryan Walters as their head coach less than a week after Jeff Brohm left the role for his alma mater, Louisville. Here, Walters looks on before an NCAA college football game against Northwestern on Nov. 26, 2022 in Evanston, Ill. (Anthony Zilis/The News-Gazette via AP)


Kenny Dillingham, Arizona State

Whereas simply 32 years outdated, the Arizona State graduate has already been the offensive coordinator at Memphis, Auburn, Florida State and Oregon, although the Geese gave him his first and solely alternative to be the first play-caller. His connection to the state and program might assist beef up the Solar Devils’ lackluster NIL efforts. However he walks right into a quagmire of looming NCAA sanctions, inherits an unbalanced roster and might want to rapidly salvage an unimpressive recruiting class. Would ASU have been higher off hiring a coach with extra expertise beneath his belt?

Brent Key, Georgia Tech

Key earned the job by going 4-4 because the interim coach in 2022 and almost main Georgia Tech into bowl play. Whereas there is no questioning the general match — he performed at Tech and spent two separate stints on employees — how Key fills key spots on his employees will decide his tenure. The excellent news? Key’s comparatively low cost contract of $15 million over 5 years will give him a deeper wage pool for assistants, so he might encompass himself with a really sturdy group of coaches.


Scott Satterfield, Cincinnati

Satterfield was an enormous success at Appalachian State as this system transitioned to the FBS however had a middling run at Louisville, going 25-24 over 4 seasons earlier than grabbing the lifeline provided by Fickell’s departure for Wisconsin. Within the quick future, his background on offense might mesh nicely with Cincinnati’s present expertise stage and defensive focus. Long run, although, Satterfield has restricted connections in this system’s yard — a single 12 months as Toledo’s quarterbacks coach in 2009 — and brings no recruiting connections in Texas, the place Cincinnati wants to achieve a slight foothold as members of the Huge 12.

Lance Taylor, Western Michigan

Taylor has labored beneath two very revered head coaches, former Stanford coach David Shaw and former Notre Dame and present LSU coach Brian Kelly. He spent this previous season because the offensive coordinator at Louisville. That the offense dropped from tenth nationally in yards per play in 2021 to forty fifth in 2022 is not an enormous deal given how accidents scuttled quarterback Malik Cunningham’s season. However despite the fact that Taylor has earned a fame as a tireless recruiter and powerful developer of talent expertise, that he is a first-time head coach makes this rent arduous to foretell. 

Kevin Wilson, Tulsa

Wilson sandwiched runs as an assistant at Oklahoma (2002-10) and Ohio State (2017-22) with a reasonably profitable tenure at Indiana, which ended with two bowl journeys in a row earlier than working aground amid a number of investigations into his mistreatment of gamers. There isn’t a questioning the offensive credentials: Wilson’s 2008 offense at OU could also be the perfect in FBS historical past and his stint at OSU yielded 4 Heisman Trophy finalists. 

Former Ohio State offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson will lead Tulsa in 2023.


Tim Beck, Coastal Carolina

The previous North Carolina State offensive coordinator is conversant in the area and has intensive Energy 5 expertise, together with one other 9 mixed seasons because the coordinator at Nebraska, Ohio State and Texas. However the observe document is not nice: N.C. State ranks 114th nationally in yards per play this season after ending forty fifth in 2021 and 73rd in 2020. 

Biff Poggi, Charlotte

Poggi, 63, has restricted on-field expertise as a school coach from brief stints a long time in the past at Brown, Temple and The Citadel. Whereas he was a extremely adorned highschool coach within the Baltimore space and drew raves for his off-field work serving to Michigan win back-to-back Huge Ten championships in 2021 and 2022, his rent nonetheless represents a roll of the cube. After going for youth and vitality with former coach Will Healy, the 49ers’ pendulum drifts to the alternative finish of the spectrum in Poggi.


Trent Dilfer, Alabama-Birmingham

Dilfer is likely one of the most inexperienced and untested hires in FBS historical past. The previous NFL quarterback spent solely 4 years in teaching, all coming at Lipscomb Academy in Nashville, Tennessee, prior to now being tapped to run a program set to come across a a lot greater stage of issue as new members of the American. Whereas he is had each toes in expertise analysis and growth via his work with the Elite 11 quarterbacks collection, Dilfer has to encompass himself with confirmed school coaches and help staffers to not get swallowed up by this transition.

Alex Golesh, South Florida

After eradicating Jeff Scott following 4 wins and fewer than three seasons, USF went again to an analogous form of candidate with Golesh, who spent the previous two seasons as Tennessee’s offensive coordinator. Golesh has labored beneath some superb head coaches, together with Iowa State’s Matt Campbell and the Volunteers’ Josh Heupel. Like Scott, he might promise to overtake the Bulls’ offensive scheme and make a push to reestablish this system as a vacation spot for the state’s deep expertise pool. Expertise as a head coach hasn’t assured success at USF — Willie Taggart was a success, however Skip Holtz and Charlie Robust had been flops — however that Golesh has solely two years of being a Energy 5 coordinator raises considerations about his skill to create a profitable infrastructure on the heels of the Bulls profitable simply eight video games previously 4 seasons.

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