By Draft Lead Philip Arnold @PhilipArnold20
Camps have wound down, classes are starting and we are now two days away from the kickoff of the college football season. With that, 31 programs around the country will begin their 2013-14 campaign towards conference and national titles with a new head coach. Look into the top ten coaching moves around the country and what it will mean for their respective teams.
Arkansas- New Head Coach: Bret Bielema Previous: John L. Smith
Bielema enters his first season with Arkansas, after spending the last seven with Wisconsin. Bielema finished his seven season at Wisconsin with a 68-24 record, while making two Rose Bowl appearances, and a 2-4 bowl record. Smith leaves his lone season as the head honcho of the Razorbacks following a 4-8 season. Arkansas entered the 2012 season ranked ranked 10th in the AP Top 25, and moved up to eighth following a week one win over Jacksonville State. Arkansas and Smith saw their season and their BCS hopes diminish following a week two loss to Louisiana-Monroe on the road in overtime. Arkansas was never able to rally back to the preseason hype, losing four straight and finishing 2-6 in the SEC. Bielema has had success over the years at Wisconsin, but will he be able to help reach their first SEC championship since 2006? To lead the offense and replace Tyler Wilson, Bielema will count on red-shirt Sophomore Brandon Allen. Allen started one game in 2012, a 52-0 blowout against Alabama and threw 1 touchdown and 3 interceptions over the course of five games. The offense returns 7 starters and 4 of 5 Offensive Linemen, led by Senior Center Travis Swanson. Defensively, Arkansas will rely on their two defensive ends, Chris Smith and Trey Flowers to cause havoc for offensive lines and get into the backfield. The duo accounted for 102 tackles, 26 TFLs and 15.5 Sacks in 2012. Arkansas will play their first four games out of conference, including a matchup with at Rutgers on September 21. Bielema will then begin his first stint in the SEC with a home test against Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M, before a tough road schedule which includes traveling to Florida, Alabama, Ole Miss, and LSU.
Auburn- New: Gus Malzahn Previous: Gene Chizik
Malzahn will return to Auburn after winning the national championship in 2010 with Tigers as the offensive coordinator. Malzahn’s lone stint as a head coach was with Arkansas State during 2012, finishing 9-3 and 7-1 in the Sun Belt. Malzahn led the Red Wolves to a Sun Belt championship and a 17-13 win over Kent State in the GoDaddy.com Bowl. After winning the national championship in 2010, Chizik failed to keep the success and finished the following two seasons with an 11-14 record and being outscored by Iron Bowl rival Alabama, 14-91. In 2012, Auburn entered the year ranked 25 in the Coaches Pool, but finished the year with a 3-9 record and win less in the SEC. Malzahn has had his stints in the SEC, coordinating the offenses at Arkansas and Auburn during championship runs, but will face a tough task trying to turn around a currently depleted Auburn program. Junior College Quarterback, Nick Marshall, will be under center when the Tigers line up against Washington State this weekend. Junior running back Tre Mason (1,002 Yards & 8 TDs), will be counted on heavily for an offense that returns only six starters from 2012. Malzahn will have a tough task on defense after losing the Tigers leading tacklers from 2012, Daren Bates and Demetruce McNeal. In 2012, the Tigers were only able to force two interceptions and will be a huge point of emphasis heading into 2013. Returning Safety Jermaine Whitehead will be counted on to lead the secondary and Senior Defensive End Dee Ford will be counted on to provide pressure up front, six sacks in 2012. Auburn will play five of their first six contests at home, including a week 2 battle with Malzahn’s former school, Arkansas State. Road tests with SEC foes LSU, Texas A&M, Arkansas, and Tennessee will play huge before finishing the season with Georgia and Alabama at home.
California- New: Sonny Dykes Previous: Jeff Tedford
Following a three year run as the head coach of Louisiana Tech, Dykes will now take over the Golden Bears in Berkeley. Dykes finished his career as the Bulldogs head man with a 22-15 record and a WAC title and bowl appearance in 2011. This past season, Dykes led the Bulldogs to a 9-3 record, where his offense averaged just over 51 points a game and the team was ranked as high as 20 in the BCS Rankings. In 2012, California saw their second losing season in the past three years, finishing 3-9. California struggled away from Memorial Stadium, finishing 1-5 on the road in 2012. Dykes has had the high power in his offense’s at Louisiana Tech, but how will that translate to California with the losses of Keenan Allen and offensive line leader Brian Schwenke? Dykes has named true freshman, Jared Goff, the starting quarterback heading into a week one contest with Northwestern. Goff is a four star recruit who threw for 7,687 Yards and 93 touchdowns during a three year varsity career. Unfortunately for Goff and Dykes, Allen will not be around as a go to target. Sophomores Chris Harper, 41 receptions and 544 yards, Bryce Treggs, 21 receptions and 216 yards, along with Junior Richard Rodgers, 20 receptions and 288 yards, will be counted on heavily. The down spot? The three accounted for only four touchdowns in 2012. Along the line, California will return three starters from 2012 in Jordan Rigsbee, Chris Adcock, and Bill Tyndal. They will be responsible for protecting Goff and opening up running lanes for Junior Brendan Bigelow. Bigelow racked up 431 yards and 3 touchdowns in a backup role last year, but will become the feature back in Dykes’ offense. Dykes will also have his hands full with a defense that allowed 33 points per game in 2012. Senior Nose Tackle Deandre Coleman, 48 tackles and 8.5 TFLs, will be the anchor in the middle. Behind Coleman, Junior linebacker Nick Forbes, who finished second on the team in tackles with 86 will lead Dykes’ linebackers corpse. Junior Kameron Jackson, will be the leader of a defensive backfield which allowed 32 touchdowns through the air in 2012. To help calm the nerves of Goff, three straight home games are on tap to start the 2013 season, including a pair of Big 10 opponents in Northwestern and Ohio State, before traveling to Oregon in week 4. Following, road contests with UCLA, Washington and Stanford will play key to California’s success in the PAC 12.
Kent State- New: Paul Haynes Previous: Darrell Hazell
Paul Haynes is entering his first stint in college football as a head coach. Haynes has defensive coordinator experience, along with brief experience at the NFL level. In 2012, Haynes was the defensive coordinator for the Arkansas Razorbacks, where his defense allowed 30 points per game and nearly 410 yards per game, and was the Co-Defensive Coordinator with Ohio State the previous season. Before his time with the Razorbacks and Ohio State, Haynes coached with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Louisville, and Michigan State. Kent State finished the 2012 season with the schools’ best record in nearly 40 years, a record of 11-3 and 8-0 in the MAC, and a BCS ranking as high as 17. The Golden Flashes lost a double overtime thriller to Northern Illinois in the MAC Championship and clinched a berth to the GoDaddy.Com Bowl, where they fell short to Arkansas State. Offensively, the Golden Flashes return six starters and Redshirt Freshman Colin Reardon will be under center for Haynes in both their first season’s. Though Haynes has had coaching experience all through the defensive side of the football, he will have the pleasure to work with one of the most dynamic offensive players in college football. To help guide the way for Reardon and Haynes, the skill positions on offense return four starters, led by prolific back Dri Archer. He is a weapon any time the ball is in his hands, totaling over 2,500 All-Purpose yards in 2012. Archer’s speed along with focus from defense’s should open up opportunities for Wide Receivers; Josh Boyle, Chris Humphrey and Tyshon Goode, along with do it all Tight End/Fullback Tim Erjavec. In the trenches, center Phil Huff and guard Pat McShane are Kent States only returning starters. Defensively for the Golden Flashes, Haynes will be licking his lips to have the opportunity to coach senior defensive lineman, Roosevelt Nix. During his career at Kent, Nix has totaled 138 tackles, 50 TFLs and 20.5 sacks and should benefit greatly from Haynes. Along with Nix, fellow defensive line returner Mark Fackler, will be counted on up front to help an inexperienced linebackers corpse. In the secondary, Haynes is blessed with senior safety, Luke Wollet, who totaled a team lead four interceptions to pair along with his 119 tackles from 2012. Haynes will lead the Golden Flashes onto his former playing grounds, Dix Stadium, for weeks one and two, before heading on the road with consecutive brutal match ups with LSU and Penn State. After that, the Flashes will have an opportunity to avenge Northern Illinois at home and a key MAC East road contest at Ohio University to end the season.
N.C. State- New: Dave Doeren Previous: Tom O’Brien
After having two of the most successful season in Northern Illinois history, Dave Doeren will move to the ACC and become the head coach of the Wolfpack. In two seasons at Northern Illinois, Doeren posted a 23-4 record and won consecutive MAC Championships. In 2012, Doeren led the Huskies to 12-1 record and the school and conference’s first ever BCS Bowl Game. Prior to leading the Huskies to success over the past two seasons, Doeren was the defensive coordinator for Wisconsin. Doeren will take over a N.C State team that finished 2012 with a 7-6 record and 4-4 the ACC. Though the Wolfpack were able to defeat then third ranked Florida State, inconsistency throughout ACC play was the theme. Doeren has yet to announce who will be replacing quarterback Mike Glennon. Transfers Pete Thomas and Brandon Mitchell are both in running for the helm of Doeren’s offense. While at Northern Illinois, Doeren was able to produce two quarterbacks in Chandler Harnish and Jordan Lynch, both of whom both totaled 3,000 plus yards passing and 1,000 plus yards on the ground. Mitchell, the more dynamic of the two, would seem to prove more fit for Doeren’s offense. Whomever is throwing the football this weekend will have great targets to throw to. Junior Bryan Underwood was able to reach the endzone 10 times last season while catching 44 passes for 620 yards. Opposite of Underwood is senior Quinton Payton, who totaled 798 yards receiving on 51 receptions in 2012. Defensively, Doeren’s focus should turn to cause pressure from upfront. The Wolfpack recorded 33 sacks last season and of those 33, 24.5 are from returning players. Senior Daryl-Cato Bishop and sunior’s T.Y. McGill and Art Norman should lead a strong defensive front for N.C. State. In the defensive backfield, Doeren will only have returning player in senior Dontae Johnson, who recorded 80 tackles and 4 pass breakups in 2012. In a transition from MAC to ACC, Doeren will benefit from N.C. State’s scheduling. Eight of the 12 regular season games are home contests, including a week 3 battle with Clemson and week 8 against in state rival North Carolina. Doeren’s first true road challenge will come October 26th when the Wolfpack travel to Florida State.
Oregon- New: Mark Helfrich Previous: Chip Kelly
No off-season coaching move at any level of football had created as much buzz as the departure of Chip Kelly from Oregon. Kelly and his high powered offense’s are nationally known and a staple of the spread offense scheme. When Kelly left for the Philadelphia Eagles, the Oregon administration didn’t have to search far for his successor. Helfrich has been with the Ducks since the 2009 season in which he took over as offensive coordinator. During Helfrich’s 4 year tenure as the Oregon offensive coordinator, scoring and moving the football have been no mystery. Those offenses have averaged 6,640 yards per season, 511 per game, and 593 points per season, 46 per game. The Ducks were in the drivers seat for a national championship berth, but a loss to Stanford late in the season caused a 2012 finish of 12-1 and a spot in the Fiesta Bowl. The move from offensive coordinator to head coach will have no surprises for Helfrich, as he clearly knows the roster. Sophomore quarterback Marcus Mariota will begin his second season as the signal caller for the Ducks, throwing for 2,677 yards and 32 touchdowns last season while adding 752 yards and 5 touchdowns on the ground. Mariota’s cast features speedy De’Anthony Thomas, senior wide receiver Josh Huff and junior tight end Colt Lyerla. Thomas totaled 1,757 all-purpose yards and 18 scores in 2012. Huff and Lyerla both caught 7 touchdowns during the 2012 campaign. On the offensive line, Helfrich and the Ducks are blessed to return 3 of 5 starting linemen. Defensively, Helfrich will count on his secondary to lead the way. The secondary led by junior cornerback, Ifo-Ekpre Olomu, led the nation in interceptions (26) and returns all four starters. In the front seven, Helfrich will have to find ways to replace Dion Jordan,Kiko Alonso, and Michael Clay. Senior Taylor Hart will be called upon to lead the defensive line after recording 11 TFLs and 8 sacks in 2012. At the linebacker position, senior Boseko Lokombo is the main expected to lead posting 39 tackles, 4.5 TFLs, and 10 pass breakups in 2012. Helfrich’s first game as the head coach of the Ducks will be a home contest against Nicholls. Following that, Helfrich will bring his squad down to Virginia and then back home for a match up with Tennessee. In PAC 12 play the Ducks will match up with UCLA and rival Oregon State at home, but traveling to Washington and Stanford will play the truest tests.
Purdue- New: Darrell Hazell Previous: Danny Hope
After coaching Kent State to one of the school’s most successful seasons in 40 years, Hazell will now return to the Big 10. Before his two year stay as the head coach of the Golden Flashes, where he finished 16-10, Hazell was with the Ohio State Buckeyes for 7 seasons. Hazell led the flashes to a 11-3 record and a perfect 8-0 mark in the MAC. His team earned a spot in the MAC Championship and the GoDaddy.com Bowl. Hazell’s lone head coaching experience comes from Kent State, but was the assistant head coach for both Ohio State and Rutgers. Purdue finished the year with a 6-7 mark, losing to Oklahoma State in the Cotton Bowl. A 3-1 start, including a three point loss to Notre Dame, fell apart after a blowout loss to Michigan at home. The Boilermakers were never able to rally from the Michigan defeat, losing five straight following. In Hazell’s first season back to the Big 10, quarterback Rob Henry will be the signal caller. Henry is a senior, who has thrown for 1,212 yards and 11 touchdowns in his career. Next to Henry will be junior running back Akeem Hunt, who reached the endzone twice last season while tallying 350 yards on the ground. Up front, Henry should feel comfortable in the pocket as Purdue returns five linemen with starting experience in 2012. Defensively, Hazell should feel confident as 9 starters return for Hazell’s inaugural season. The defense will be led by junior safety, Landon Fietcher. In 2012 Fietcher led the defense in tackles and interceptions and will be counted on heavily along the back end. Though the Boilermakers lose Kawaan Short, junior defensive end Ryan Russell will be primed for a strong season after recording 8.5 TFLs and 4 sacks in 2012. Hazell will travel back to Ohio for his first game, this time to play the Cincinati Bearcats on opening weekend. Hazell will have two brutal contests in weeks 3 and 4, at home versus Notre Dame and then traveling to Madison to take on the Badgers. Home match ups with Nebraska, Ohio State, Iowa and Illinois will be favorable for Hazell and Purdue.
Syracuse- New: Scott Shafer Previous: Doug Marrone
After running the Syracuse defense for past four season’s, Shafer will now become the man in charge at Syracuse. Shafer has been a defensive coordinator for the past eight years, including stints at Western Michigan, Stanford, Michigan, and then Syracuse. Shafer has yet to have any head coaching experience, but will follow former coach Doug Marrone’s shoes. Marrone along with former quarterback Ryan Nassib have left Syracuse for the NFL following the 2012 season. The team led by Marrone and Nassib in 2012 finished the season 8-5, which included a win against West Virginia in the Pinstripe Bowl. The Orange started the season off slow, but winning six of their last seven led to a Big East conference co-championship. Shafer has yet to name either Drew Allen or Terrel Hunt the starting quarterback for their match up with Penn State this weekend. Whomever the quarterback is when the Orange take the field will have the luxury of two star running backs behind them. Junior Jerome Smith ran for 1,207 yards last season while fellow junior Prince-Tyson Gulley added another 859 yards and 9 touchdowns in their 2012 campaigns. On the outside, the receivers for Allen or Hunt will be a bit inexperienced. Jarrod West is the best returner from a year ago totaling 588 yards, but only 2 touchdowns. Up front Shafer is blessed to have a talented offensive line, which features returning starters Sean Hickey and captain Macky MacPherson. Defensively, Shafer returns one of his best tacklers from last year in junior linebacker Dyshawn Davis, who recorded 69 tackles and 14 TFLs in 2012. Davis will pair with junior linebacker Cameron Lynch who was second on the team with four sacks. In the secondary senior Keon Lyn, the teams leader in interceptions, will lead the way after the graduation of Shamarko Thomas. Shafer will open the season in the road against Big 10 opponents Penn State and Northwestern. Two home tune up games are then in store before opening ACC play with talented Clemson. The ACC schedule doesn’t fair well for Shafer, having to travel to North Carolina State, Georgia Tech, Maryland and Florida State for away ACC games.
Tennessee- New: Butch Jones Previous: Derek Dooley
After helping turn around the programs at Central Michigan and Cincinnati, Butch Jones will now man the ship of the Volunteers in the challenging SEC. Jones had a record of 27-13 at Central Michigan and 23-14 while at Cincinnati. The former Big East Coach of the Year boasts a 50-27 overall record while going 1-2 in bowl games. Jones has also coached his teams to two MAC Championships and two Big East titles. The Volunteers finished 2012 under Dooley at 5-7. After starting the year off 3-1 things went downhill as they failed to record just one win in SEC play. Jones will be faced with the challenge of ending Tennessee’s three year losing streak heading into 2013. Jones will return five starters to an offense that has arguably the best offensive lines in college football, allowing only eight sacks in 2012. At the left tackle position is talented junior Antonio Richardson, 12 starts in 2012, and opposite of him stands senior Ja’Wuan James, 12 starts. In the middle senior guard Zach Fulton, 11 starts, will pair with senior center James Stone, 12 starts. Standing behind this mammoth offensive line will be junior quarterback Justin Worley. A starter of 4 games during his career, Worley has thrown just one touchdown and five interceptions. The offensive line will be responsible for continually opening holes for senior running back Rajion Neal, 708 yards and five touchdowns during 10 games of action in 2012. Defensively for Jones, a one-two punch will be led by junior linebacker AJ Johnson and senior nose tackle Daniel McCullers. The two combined for 177 tackles in 2012, nearly 20% of Tennessee’s tackles. Offense’s will try to avoid that duo in the middle, but six other starters return along the defensive unit. In the secondary are a pair of talented safety’s. Senior Byron Moore finished second on the team with 86 tackles and led with five interceptions. His partner in crime, sophomore LaDerrell McNeil totaled 58 tackles in 2012. Jones will tune his team up at home with contests against Austin Peay and Western Kentucky before two brutal road games against Oregon and Florida. Following that, the Volunteers have five of their remaining eight games at home, including Georgia, South Carolina, Auburn, and Vanderbilt in SEC play.
Wisconsin- New: Gary Andersen Previous: Bret Bielema
After guiding Utah State to a 2012 WAC championship, Gary Andersen now faces his biggest challenge. During his four years at Utah State, Andersen coached to 26-24 record, including a 11-2 2012 season. Andersen had a brief stint as the Southern Utah head coach in 2003, before working his way around the programs in the state of Utah. Not knowing at the time, Andersen nearly defeated his future team in Madison 14-16 in 2012. Despite an early scare from Utah State and a loss to Oregon State, the Badgers finished the year 8-6 and were the champions of the Big 10. Though the Badgers finished as the Big 10 champions, an 8-6 season was subpar to Wisconsin standards. Wisconsin finished the season in a 20-14 loss to Stanford in the Rose Bowl without coach Bret Bielema. Anderson will welcome eight returning starters from 2012, led by seniors Jared Abbrederis and Ryan Groy. Groy, along with fellow tackle Rob Havenstein will anchor an always tough offensive line. Abbrederis was the team’s go to receiver in 2012, totaling 49 receptions for 837 yards and five touchdowns. Andersen has yet to name either sophomore Joel Stave or Curt Philips the starting quarterback. One thing we know for certain is that senior running back James White, 840 yards and 12 touchdowns, will continue the tradition of talented Wisconsin running backs. The defense in which features six returning starters will be led by senior linebacker Chris Borland, whom finished second in the team in tackles (108), TFLs (10) and sacks (4.5). The team leader’s in sacks from last season, Brendan Kelly and Tyler Dippel both return in hopes for strong senior seasons. In the back-end, senior Dezmen Southward returns to an unit that losses leader Devin Smith (4 interceptions). Seven of the 12 games in Andersen’s first year will be home match ups, including games with Northwestern and Penn State coming into Camp Randall. Traveling to Arizona State and Ohio State will be the toughest of match ups for Andersen away from home.