Thursday, October 8, 2015

Coaches on the Hot Seat: 10/8/15

Coaches On the Hot Seat: 10/8/15
As we approach the midpoint of the 2015 season, some pictures are becoming clearer as to the job status evaluations of certain coaches across America. As my regular readers should know, the following piece has nothing to do with over/under odds on when a coach will be fired, but is rather an indicator of who things are progressing in a more negative light on said coaches chances, and better yet, what he likely needs to do to remove the heat that is currently applied. Here is our latest take on which coaches are feeling some heat at this point.

Al Golden, Miami
Miami is 3-1 this season, but that hasn’t stopped the grumbling in Coral Gables this season. A 34-23 loss to Cincinnati in week 5 was telling in that the defense was absolutely on the ropes all night, and could not shut down freshman QB Hayden Moore. The defense, usually a key to any great Miami team, and a specialty of Golden’s by the way, lacks playmakers, and as the Hurricanes enter the ACC season, Miami fans are starting to realize that the Canes could be an afterthought in the conference race once again. That could be enough to kick the heat up a few more notches if Golden cannot turn this defense around.

Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech
The end is ever near for Beamer in Blacksburg, that is certain, but how near is another question for the masses to ponder. The Hokies are now a mere 2-3 after back to back losses to East Carolina and Pitt, both games the Hokies very well should have won. The offense has gone off the rails, and the quality of recruiting is in the tank. Open letters from fans begging Beamer to step aside are hitting the web, and the administration has to wonder how much longer the program can endure Beamer’s whims of staying on through next season.

Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech
The Yellow Jackets were a top ten type team when the season started, and it looked like Johnson really had the program needle turned in the right direction. Three straight losses later, including a mess of a game against North Carolina, and Tech is out of the national and conference picture. The offense, while sometimes fun to watch, is archaic, and nobody is seemingly fooled by it anymore. The defense is nearly non-existent. It could be that the fan base is starting to grumble for a more modern approach to Tech football.

Willie Taggert, USF
Taggert remains on the Hot Seat, but the Bulls finally showed a pulse last week I a 24-17 loss to Memphis that has me wondering if there isn’t yet some kind of spark that can be ignited to get this long listless program moving again. It took Taggert a little time at Western Kentucky, but look at them now. Much of that can be attributed to Taggert’s endurance long term. The fan base has to stick it out, and nobody knows where their patience level is just now.

George O’Leary, UCF
Despite the fact that O’Leary currently also runs the athletic department these days, the barometer on his situation remains unclear. O’Leary has done a ton for this program, but his overall product has been largely inconsistent, but this season the program has gone completely off the rails. A loss to U conn this week should be enough to blow this issue into oblivion.

Paul Rhoades, Iowa State
The Cyclones are now 2-2, so Rhoades gets a little reprieve from the Dead Pool this week, but he likely shouldn’t get too comfortable with this status. Cyclone fans are largely in favor of an immediate change after this season, and I really don’t see ISU competing nose to nose with three quarters of the Big 12, but they are hanging in right now, and at least they didn’t lose to Kansas.

Kliff Kingsbury, Texas Tech
The Red Raiders looked like a September surprise, but could they be on the road to becoming an October flop? Kingsbury likely has to get to a bowl this season, but the Raiders are now 0-2 in conference play, and so that bowl is starting to get further away from where the Raiders were standing a couple of weeks ago. Things can still turnout ok, but any more league losses, and the Dead Pool looms ever closer.

Charlie Strong, Texas
I for one still think that Strong will get one more season in Austin running the Longhorn program. It is obvious that Mack Brown left him with nothing to work with in the talent department, no matter how much Mack denies that current struggles had anything to do with his tenure (which is a load of crap). Mack’s last few seasons were indicative of things to come, and here we are at the result of those last seasons under his listless watch. Strong has got to have a little more time to put his stamp on this program, but how much longer he gets to work it out is a huge enigma. The more words of backing he gets from officials also makes me more concerned, because we all know the blessing/kiss of death of administrators usually leads to awful things.

Mike Riley, Nebraska
I know he has coached all of five football games in Lincoln, but nothing, and I mean nothing, would shock me more to see Riley heading to the Dead Pool in the next few weeks if he cannot straighten out this current tail spin the program is in at 2-3. The last time the Huskers were this bad, it was 60 years ago. Nebraska fan does not tolerate failure, just ask Bo Pelini, who never really failed all that much.

Randy Edsell, Maryland
The Terrapins have been absolutely lifeless the last few weeks and are now 2-3. Nobody can look me in the eye and tell me how much better this is than the Ralph Friedgen era. That would be an absolute lie. Maryland is heading backwards as a program right now, and the talent level is absolutely not Big 10. Think more in terms of CAA, and that’s pretty much where the Terps are right now, and I am not even sure they could win that FCS conference. I am guessing not. Edsell’s vanilla regime is finally starting to make even enigmatic at best Terp fan grumble, as there were other more exciting coaches available when Edsell was hired and some are calling for rolling out a huge offer to Chip Kelly.

Charlie Partridge, FAU
This is well known as not being one of my all-time favorite hires. Partridge was hardly a guy, in my book, that could have straightened out the mess left by Carl Pelini. The Owls are currently sitting at 1-3, and Partridge has done nothing, in my opinion, to get this situation straight at all. The Owls are still 1-3, and have shown no life in CUSA play.

Ron Turner, FIU
Turner was finally starting to earn some credit from me for making the Panthers credible again this season. So much for that. He is back on the Hot Seat, and is making a bee line for the Dead Pool as we sit here. FIU has now dropped to 2-3, and could be heading for irrelevance again.

David Bailiff, Rice
Give me credit, Rice fan. I waited almost half the season before I started beating up on Bailiff. Rice was supposed to be one of the favorites in the CUSA West Division, but right now, they look completely lost. The Owls are now just 2-3, and are showing trends towards the bottom. The offense is inconsistent all around, and the defense is just a disaster. Rice is one of the more maddeningly inconsistent teams in the nation under Bailiff, and one wonders how much the ups and downs can last with a disenchanted and barely breathing fan base.

Dan McCarney, North Texas
Remember how UNT went bowling at the end of the 2013 season? That seems like a distant memory now, as the Eagles have started 0-4 this fall, and all good will from that bowl trip appears lost. Nothing against McCarney, but he has hardly been a winning football coach during his career, and UNT needs a stronger more revolutionary hand to get this program running as it did once upon a time.

Pete Lembo, Ball State
I am a Lembo fan, but Ball State is not running as it should. The Cardinals are 2-3, and Lembo has largely struggled to get any kind of consistency out of his players or this program. Lembo has got to start showing some results, or else it’s going to be hard to justify keeping him here.

Paul Haynes, Kent State
Haynes has largely struggled to build on what predecessor Darrell Hazell had put together at Kent State during his short run, but the Flashes did win their MAC opener, and currently sit at 2-3 overall, with a 2-1 record at home. If Kent State cannot keep up the momentum, Haynes is splashing back into the Dead Pool in a real hurry.

Rocky Long, San Diego State
Long should be ecstatic that the West Division in the Mountain West is as weak as the legs of a newborn infant. SDSU is currently 2-3, but somehow, unimaginably, the Aztecs are sitting on top of that division of sewage. If the division were any better by any modicum, Long would be in serious trouble keeping this program moving. Do not be fooled, as nothing good is happening in this program right now other than being the beneficiary of a disaster of a division.

Brian Polian, Nevada
Polian inherited a decent program in Reno, but he has done virtually nothing with it. Gone are the days of the Pistol dominating everyone in their path, gone are the days of Kaepernick and Green, and those great RBs. Nevada isn’t scaring anyone these days, and last week’s loss of the Fremont Cannon to UNLV is a huge blight on the forest laden landscape.

Tim DeRuyter, Fresno State
What a difference two seasons make. After the 2013 season, I was largely pushing DeRuyter to be considered for the then vacant USC job that went to Steve Sarkisian. It’s not that I am boasting what a wonderful job Sarkisian has done, but not only did DeRuyter not land that job, he may be on the verge of being pushed out of his current job. Since that season, Fresno State has been an empty shell, has been pushed around by everyone, and isn’t even as good as hapless San Jose State right now. This is inconceivable.

Bret Bielema, Arkansas
Loud mouth Bret was at it again a few short weeks ago while ragging on Texas Tech and their style of play, but he may have needed to shut that huge mouth of his, as Arkansas has largely been one of the most absolutely disappointing teams in the nation, and he got his ass handed to him by the Tech team that he trashed. Bielema was lucky that his Hogs beat Tennessee last week, because he would otherwise be looking at a 1-4 start with a team that should be competing for an SEC West crown. All of his posturing has led to nothing, and his act is getting old.

Butch Jones, Tennessee
Speaking of getting old, every time I criticize Tennessee in this blog or on Twitter, I get attacked by a fleet of myopically lost Vols fans bragging about this recruiting class and that, and that dominance is just a stone’s throw away. How far is the stone’s throw, anyway? It looks like the distance of a universe to me. This program isn’t dominating anyone. You are the Cal of the SEC. Always hyped, never performing. Those “awesome” classes are meaningless, Jones has taken you nowhere, and this program is stuck in neutral at best. Does anyone care to dispute that?

Dennis Franchione, Texas State
Another boisterous fan base belongs to the Bobcats of Texas State. I am not sure that Bobcat fans can be all too happy with the results of the Franchione era, which is a fate to be shared with just about every other fan base that Franchione has touched during his career. At 1-3, the 2015 season is in danger of sliding away, and the reality is that Texas State has not been relevant during his tenure. Nothing has improved under his watch, and how much longer can that be tolerated in what is really a very winnable league.


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