Thursday, November 17, 2016

Breaking Down the Candidates: Georgia State Panthers

Trent Miles had been on my watch list to be fired for the last two seasons at Georgia State, and this week, it finally happened after the Panthers fell to 2-8 after a bowl season. Miles never seemed to be the guy who would lift the young Panther program to respectability given his history as head coach at Indiana State. That ended badly as well.
Now that Miles has been removed, I am continuing my coaching candidate series, where I break down every mentioned candidate for each open job, and I grade them based on what is likely, and what seems off the mark for each given job. Today, I look at the Georgia State job. Here are the candidates, and what they bring to the table...

Jamey Chadwell, Charleston Southern (Head Coach)
All Chadwell has done at CSU is take a program that is lacking in resources and facilities, and was absolutely abysmal before his arrival, and turned the Buccaneers into a Big South power that went toe to toe with North Dakota State in the season opener in 2016. Chadwell's big break is coming, and Georgia State would be making a master stroke to grab him now.
Reality Meter: Should be at the top of the list.

Walt Bell, Maryland (Offensive Coordinator)
Bell has been around since 2006, a year after graduating from Middle Tennessee, having served at UL-Lafayette. Southern Miss, North Carolina, and Arkansas State prior to joining Maryland in 2015. He's known to be one of the young offensive hot shots in the game, but the Maryland offense has been anything but hot lately.
Reality Meter: Not yet ready for a building job the magnitude of GSU.

David Reaves, USF (TEs)
Reaves is another young riser, but like Bell, his resume is still just a bit thin right now. He has coached at Tampa Catholic HS, South Carolina, Tennessee, New Mexico, and spent one season as an instructor at IMG Academy, but has served as an OC for just two seasons, and is listed as the Co-OC at USF in 2015, which I am never high on. The Bulls are having a huge season offensively this year with Quinton Flowers at QB, but Reaves was moved to TE Coach, so he doesn't get the credit there.
Reality Meter: Needs more seasoning, and was moved off of OC duties after last season.

Rhett Lashlee, Auburn (OC)
Lashlee could be seriously considered for the job. Lashlee got his start in coaching in 2004 at Springdale HS, where Gus Malzahn became a commodity back in the day. He parlayed that gig into working at Arkansas in 2006, and then moved on to Auburn as a grad assistant. He moved onto Samford, where he served just one season on the staff as OC, and was picked up by Malzahn at Arkansas State as OC, and moved on with him to Auburn. The question is how much Lashlee actually controls the offense with Malzahn around, which is a considerable question, and another issue is the lack of QB stability under his guidance at the school.
Reality Meter: May be a serious candidate, but he has holes in his game, specifically in QB development.

John Grass, Jacksonville State (Head Coach)
Unlike Jamey Chadwell, Grass did not have to build much at JSU after taking over for Bill Clark when Clark left for UAB. Grass, like Chadwell, has been hugely successful, and is working on back to back OVC titles. He has a record of 29-5 since taking over, and sent 20 years in the Alabama High School circuit before joining the Gamecocks in 2014.
Reality Meter: Should be targeted and placed high on the list with Chadwell.

Chip Lindsey, Arizona State (OC)
Lindsey is another Malzahn guy, who worked in his first college gig as an offensive analyst for Malzahn at Auburn. Lindsey has been a fast riser, and is another vet of the Alabama High School circuit. He was the OC at Southern Miss, but did not get the head job last year over Jay Hopson, and bolted for Arizona State. He is basically running Todd Graham's offense at ASU, and that could be an issue. His level of success has been mixed, although he is highly respected in the game as a young riser at 41 years old.
Reality Meter: Comes with a name, but results are too mixed, and may be too inexperienced to build this thing.

Tony Elliott, Clemson (Co-OC)
Elliott has been on the Tiger staff for four years now, and has been co-coordinator in charge of RBs. He has coached a 1000 yard rusher in each of his four seasons. Elliott is a solid recruiter, and was named one of the top 25 recruiters in the nation. He has prior FCS stops at Furman and South Carolina State.
Reality Meter: He is solid, but not yet seasoned enough and has not coached outside of the state of South Carolina. Could be a solid candidate, but would not top my list.

Jeff Scott, Clemson (Co-OC)
Scott, like Elliott, has only been Co-OC for 2 full seasons at Clemson, and has never held full coordinator duties anywhere, despite having been on the staff at Clemson for 8 seasons. His only other stop has been at Presbyterian. He has coached only WRs his entire coaching career, although he has coached some good ones.
Reality Meter: His resume is nowhere near ready for this job. Despite a longer career, seems less qualified than Elliott. 

Shawn Elliott, South Carolina (Offensive Line)
Elliott was already interim head coach at South Carolina, where he replaced Steve Spurrier on a temp basis. He went 1-5 in his lone opportunity, which is not impressive, despite the awkward situation. He was retained by Will Muschamp. Elliott had been on staff at Appalachian State prior to his stint at South Carolina, and was a part of a staff that won 3 FCS titles.
Reality Meter: I would not hire him at this point, as he looks like a career assistant at this stage. 

Bryan McClendon, South Carolina (WR Coach)
McClendon had served his entire career at Georgia, and was a one game interim coach after the Bulldogs fired Mark Richt (or was it a mutual parting of the ways?). McClendon has never been a full time coordinator, but has always been a solid recruiter. He did win his only game as interim as Georgia beat Penn State.
Reality Meter: Has only been on two staffs in his entire 12 year career. Does not seem to inspire anything in regards to some of the other candidates. 

Shane Beamer, Georgia (Special Teams Coordinator)
Beamer has been in the coaching game since 2001. He has stops at Georgia Tech, Tennessee, Mississippi State and South Carolina, all before joining his father Frank at Virginia Tech. Despite coaching all of that time, he has never elevated beyond special teams coach. His name would suggest something more in store, but it has been a while, and we have not seen him elevate just yet.
Reality Meter: Will probably never be his father as a coach, and is not really suited for this job. 

Will Hall, West Georgia (Head Coach)
Hall has been highly successful at West Georgia, having posted a 24-5 record since 2014. Hall came to West Georgia from West Alabama, where he was also head coach. Hall has a varied career, and held the OC title at 3 schools before being named head coach. Other than a stint at Presbyterian as QB coach in 2004, Hall has never coached above the D2 level, with stops at Henderson State, Southwest Baptist, and Arkansas-Monticello, along with his stops at West Alabama and West Georgia.
Reality Meter: Hall is a proven commodity on the D2 level, but ask Lance Leipold at Buffalo about how hard the transition from the lower levels is. Still, at 36 years old, he is on his 2nd stint as a head coach, and is intriguing.

Chris Kapalovic, North Carolina (OC, Offensive Line)
Kapilovic is wrapping his first season as OC at UNC under Larry Fedora, and has been on Fedora's staff dating back to 2008 at Southern Mississippi. He also has stints at Missouri State, Alabama State, Kansas, Deer Valley HS, and Phoenix College. He has a history of working on high power offenses, but is only in his first season as a coordinator.
Reality Meter: He has not been high enough on the food chain for GSU to take him too seriously at this point. There are better candidates available.

At this point, Chadwell, Grass, and Hall would be my top three candidates right now, with Lashlee coming in 4th. As always, stay tuned for more info as it becomes available!

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