Sunday, November 24, 2013

Coaches on the Hot Seat

It's time once again to update our weekly look at Coaches who are feeling some pressure in their current jobs. Some are well known situations, while others take some digging beneath the surface. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this piece, I am not guaranteeing that any coaches on this list are being fired this season. That piece is called "Coaches Swimming in the Dead Pool". This list implies that these coaches are having issues that may be reparable, but they had better get it together or they'll find themselves splashing down in the Dead Pool shortly.
Let's check the list for this week...

June Jones, SMU
The Mustangs have been playing a lot better as of late, but they are still just 5-5 with two to play. There has been pressure on Jones all season to turn the corner, and he's gotten the most out of Garrett Gilbert at QB, but something has to give. If SMU loses out, and finishes at 5-7, Jones could be targeted for replacement.

Kyle Flood, Rutgers
Let's look at this more closely. The Scarlet Knights are just 5-5 this season under Flood while playing in the AAC. With an upcoming transition to the Big 10, how are they supposed to be better in that conference than the one that they are in? There is going to be elevated pressure, as the Big 10 is multitudes better than the AAC. If Flood can't turn the corner, someone else will.

Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech
Of course the Hokies will be bowling again, but isn't it becoming apparent that Beamer is getting stale after all of these years? Tech hasn't been a serious threat to the ACC title in at least 3 seasons, and it may be time for him to consider retirement. It's been so long since Tech has started to go flat, that Bud Foster may no longer be a suitable heir either. Tech is a program that feels like they need some new life breathed in from the outside.

Tim Beckman, Illinois
The Illini are still waiting for their first Big 10 win under Beckman after two seasons. The Illini finally won a conference game against Purdue, the first under his watch, so he is doing what he needs to do for another season, but progress is a must to finish out for Beckman to not be fired.

Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern
The Wildcats have lost 7 straight, and were no shows at home in a loss to Michigan State. With the current losing streak, a major depth issue has been exposed, which is a recruiting issue at large. Fitzgerald is being exposed here, and it's not pretty. Injuries are an excuse, and not a great one in my book.

Bo Pelini, Nebraska
Many already have him as being fired. After the loss to Michigan State last weekend, that may be very true, but I have a hard time letting go of the idea that it's very difficult to fire a guy who hasn't exactly completely failed. Pelini isn't the best guy for the Huskers, but if he leaves, who is? It's a thin year for solid candidates, so Nebraska may be better off holding on for another year. With a win over Penn State this weekend, even in OT, Pelini is still fighting.

Rich Ellersen, Army
Army has two games remaining, with one of those being against Navy. Not sure if Army would make a move at this point, but Army is getting worse, not better. In my opinion, if Army falls to Navy in the season finale, Army could consider jumping the gun and could make a change.

Dave Christensen, Wyoming
This could develop into a Dead Pool situation quickly. Word out of Laromie this week is that the new administration has found a culture of mediocrity that has been allowed to fester for years, and there are no smiles about this finding. The current athletic staffs have been found guilty of allowing it to continue, and changes are coming. With Wyoming one win out from bowl eligibility, if they fail to get there in their final game, Christensen will be a casualty.

Dan Enos, Central Michigan
enos has moved into the Dead Pool and back to the Hot Seat constantly this season, and now the Chippewas are 5-6. One more win, and CMU would be bowl eligible, even if they fail to receive an invite, which is possible. If Enos gets that 6th win, it would be tough to fire him. If he fails to get it, he could fall right back into the pool.

Dan Mullen, Mississippi State
Mullen is sitting at 5-6, and has to win the Egg Bowl over Ole Miss to get bowl eligible. If he fails, could a move be made in Starkville? It's highly possible, and has been a hot topic of conversation amongst the media. Mullen has not delivered thus far, and patience is wearing thin, especially in the SEC.

Todd Berry, UL-Monroe
The War Hawks looked like they were turning a corner earlier this season, but now, after a loss to South Alabama, ULM looks like they will be home for the Holidays, which is somewhere that Berry has known consistently during his coaching career. If ULM loses their season finale, which would have them fall to 5-7, Berry could be pushed out, especially with rival UL-Lafayette having so much success under Mark Hudspeth.

Larry Blakeney, Troy
My thoughts are that even if Troy wins their finale and finishes at 6-6, they won't be invited to a bowl. If that is truly the case, this develops into a Dead Pool situation, as Troy has gone completely stagnant under Blakeney, the longest tenured coach in the SBC by a mile. Troy, like Virginia Tech, needs some new blood pumped into the veins to bring in a new energy.

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