So in the scant few weeks since the end of D1A regular season play, we’ve had a number of staff changes at several SEC schools. I thought I’d take a look at who’s moved, retired, hired and what it might mean for next year.
First we’ll look at the East:
Florida loses outstanding DC Charlie Strong to the HC job at Louisville and may or may not have lost Corch Urban Meyers to
retirement health concerns heaven only knows what. Combined with the loss of the GCFPOAT Tim Tebow – I just don’t see how this could be good for Florida’s 2010-2011 season. Lost the best player, head coach and defensive coordinator? This just can’t bode well for them next year. I do feel kind of bad for Ole Charlie in a way, he’s no doubt kicking himself for taking that Louisville job so soon. Had he waited just a little bit longer, he might’ve landed the UT job!
Kiffygate brought us the departures of HC Lane Kiffen, DC Monte Kiffen and good ole Ed "I didn’t violate NCAA D1A rules 84,000 times this week" Orgeron. And this was mere weeks after hiring Kippy Brown as WR’s coach on December 17. Ole Kippy was temporarily the HC after Kiffen’s departure, but UT wasted no time in selecting as their 22nd Head Football Coach Derek "I’m also a lawyer" Dooley. Of course Mr. Dooley’s main claim to fame is he is the son of that other Mr. Dooley we love so well, Vince (who incidentally just won the Paul "Bear" Bryant lifetime achievement award.) As someone else posted, UT just hired as HC someone who got into coaching football after his famous father and has not even achieved a winning record as a HC. Déjà vu UT Fans?
After going 7-5 in the regular season, the gamecocks managed to get thumped by UCONN (far better known for their basketball) in the papajohns.com bowl to end the season at 7-6. Despite the fact that Spurrier has been leader of the pack since 2004, this barely winning record did not dismay the faithful who still believe in the Old Ball Coach. Apparently, they think this is still a "rebuilding" year. But they did name former Appalachian State Offensive line coach, Shawn Elliott as O Line coach on Jan 3rd. Shawn replaces Eric Wolford who accepted the HC job at Youngstown State U. (Yeah, I know nothing about them either, and they aren’t even worth looking up.) Maybe that really is all they need to become relevant again? Either that, or they’ve got some great kool-aid in Columbia. Who am I kidding, the gamecocks have never won a national championship, last won a conference championship in 1969 and their bowl record is only 4 wins in 13 games. Going 7-6 is a great season if you’re a fan of Sir Big Spur considering it’s the first time they’ve managed to be bowl eligible for five consecutive years. Ah well, nothing exciting to expect from the other USC.
Rich Brooks decided to retire at the close of the 2009-2010 football season after 7 seasons with the Wildcats. His first 3 years at Kentucky were less than stellar, but his final four seasons, they were bowl eligible every year winning 3 of their 4 bowl games. Replacing Coach Brooks a quick two days after his retirement, we have former WR and long time Offensive Head Coach Joker "clearly my parents didn’t like me" Phillips. We all knew this was coming one day as Joker was named HC in waiting two years ago. Considering UK last won the conference in 1976 (only their 2nd SEC title, the first coming in 1950 under then HC Bear Bryant.) I suspect this coaching change will have little to no impact on anything or anyone outside of Lexington.
Do they still play football at Vandy? Nothing to see here folks, let's move on.
My favorite football topic as anyone who has been to my house, my office, seen my car, or pretty much ever spoken to me already knows. Our beloved CMR (currently the longest-tenured active head football coach in the SEC and going on his 10th season) cleaned the defensive house last month declining to renew contracts for Willie "What? You mean I was supposed to be coaching defense all this time instead of toking on a fat one and cashing a paycheck?" Martinez and his two assistants, John Jancek & Jon Fabris. Bringing us instead Coach Todd Grantham; who will be full time when the Dallas Cowboys post season run ends. Who CTG selects as his assistants remains to be seen. But the Bulldog nation once again looks forward to a defense lead by a guy with a simple goal, "After the game is over," he said, "the team you just played is happy they don’t have to play you anymore."
It sure is looking good for Georgia to take the SEC East. But that’s not a prediction, merely a passing thought.