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SEC, The Off-season Soap Opera, Part 2 - The West

So last night we looked at how Musical Coaches is playing out in the Eastern half of the SEC, tonight it's time to look at the Western Half.

Alabama

Despite the fact that Damon Evans pretty much offered him the whole Bulldog Universe gave him a blank signed check, Kirby Smart elected to stay on with Nick Saban.  James Willis, assistant head coach of linebackers on the other hand, accepted Tommy Tuberville’s offer to become the new DC at Texas Tech.  Interestingly, Willis was also Bama’s main recruiter in the Mobile area.  Hard to imagine a Bama coach going to work for Tuberville isn’t it?  Coach Saban quickly promoted Jeremy Pruitt to the vacancy.  Pruitt formerly served off-field as Director of Player Development.  At Georgia Tech, that title might seem to imply a job description that includes helping nerds become better at whatever the latest video game is.  But at ‘Bama it means something more like helping new football players learn the team’s playbook, or assisting in the weight room.  Oddly enough, there’s not a whole heck of a lot of changes going on in Tuscaloosa, despite being the national champions.  I would've expected everyone & their brother with an opening to be trying to jack themselves a Bama coach.  Has Nick C'est Bon got some kind of voodoo magic hold on them or something?

Arkansas

Bobby Petrino hired younger brother Paul as Offensive Coordinator & Running backs coach when he came to Arkansas.  Paul’s spent several years following big brother Bobby around to various coaching jobs.  This year, Paul has decided to spread his wings and fly off to Illinois accepting their Offensive Coordinator position.  Somehow OC at Arky seems like a better job than OC at Illinois to me?  Petrino looked around the staff and promoted Garrick McGee to OC upon Paul’s departure.  Coach McGee was serving as QB coach after 4 seasons at Northwestern.  McGee is also a former QB and Jacksonville Jaguars assistant.  McGee was QB for 2 years under Petrino at Arizona State, transferred to NE OK A&M (yep it’s a juco school) and then played his last two years at OU where he was 4th on the career passing list with 2,449 yards.  McGee is probably a good selection.

Steve Caldwell, formerly the defensive ends coach under Phil Fulmer for a magic 13 years has been hired in the same position at Arky.  Interestingly, Caldwell passed on this same offer two years ago.  But I guess since he "took the season off" the offer looks better now.  Then again, maybe he just didn’t want to work for the appropriately named Houston Nuttcase.

Mike Summers, Offensive line coach at Arky has decided to join Joker Phillips at Kentucky.  Replacing Coach Summers is former Nevada OC Chris Klenakis.  I’m thinking this is a lateral move at the end of the day.  It’s definitely a move up to go from Nevada to Arky.  (Seriously, do the words Nevada and football go together without the words bookie and bet?)  But to go from OC to OLC, yeah that’s a step down.  Up plus down equals lateral. 

Kris Cinkovich has been hired to coach receivers.  Coach KC comes from UNLV, having spent six seasons there as wide receivers coach.  For Cinkovich, a step up, same job, better conference. 

So how does Arky fair at the end of the day?  Caldwell looks like the best hire of the bunch.  So their defense should improve.  Having been at Fayetteville for last year’s game, I’d say defensive improvement is seriously needed.  The rest of the hires are all offensive in nature.  All together, replacing 3 offensive coaches probably isn’t a great thing to do in the same season, but at least one is a promotion from within.  I’m expecting a decrease in offensive production which will be offset by an improvement in defensive production for a net difference of nil.

Auburn

The Auburn staff was entirely too busy planning for the next Wreck Tech PJ Parade (no, I’m really not kidding) to read the memo announcing it was time for "Musical Coaches," and either Tommy Tuberville doesn’t want any of them, or they are all scared to go to Texas Tech.  In any event, there are no coaching changes at Auburn at this time.  Just in case anyone was confused or concerned, HC Gene Chizik issued a press release stating he expects his entire staff back.  What happened to the good old days where you issued a presser only if you had a coaching change?

LSU

LSU Defensive Coordinator John Chavis was "pursued by another school in the Southeastern Conference," but Less Miles & Joe Alleva found it in their hearts to open the checkbook up a little bit to keep John in Baton Rouge.  Apparently no one else on the staff is being or has been pursued for any of the other openings, which leads me to believe they stink missed out on all possible opportunities because they were locked in conclave like good Catholic’s until they had selected French names for all incoming freshmen (yep they do that in Red Stick, LA.)

 Mississippi

Practically the Vanderbilt of the West, Ole Miss is merely scrambling to replace QB Jevan Snead after he declared for the draft.  Since they only went 4-4 in conference play last year, I don’t think this is anything to worry about.  Oh and they aren’t even on our schedule, so unless you expect them to beat Alabama to get to the SECCG, we won’t even be seeing Ole Miss next year.  Since they quit playing Dixie in Oxford and hired Houston Nuttcase, what’s the point?  PS if you expect Ole Miss to be in the SECCG over Bama - please take yourself to the nearest qualified mental health professional.

 

Mississippi State

The most recent coaching changes in the SEC come from the Western Bulldogs.  Both the Defensive Coordinator Carl Torbush & the Defensive Linebackers Coach David Turner left Miss State for jobs at the University of Kansas.  Just today HC Dan Mullen hired Manny Diaz to serve as Defensive Coordinator & Linebackers Coach.  During our own DC search, Manny Diaz was mentioned as a possibility, so y’all already know he comes to Miss St after four years at Middle Tennessee State University.  Last year they were in the top 3 in the Sun Belt Conference in total defense, rush defense, pass defense and scoring defense.  Yeah, it's just the Sun Belt Conference but hey, we talked about wanting him.

Chris Wilson has been hired to coach the D Line and serve as Co DC.  Coach Wilson is coming over from our old friends in the Big 12, OU where he spent the past five seasons coaching defensive linemen.  I’m not convinced this new job is truly a step up for Wilson, maybe a ½ step up.  For Manny Diaz, it’s a good step up.  For the Western Bulldogs, this is a major improvement.  Last year they just flat stank, especially on the defensive side of the ball.

 

What can I say?  The West just hasn’t been quite as entertaining as the East.  But then, I’m not sure what they could’ve done to be more entertaining than the Kiffygate debacle.

This is a prediction - Bama Takes the West because everyone else sucks Nick C'est Bon brought some serious NOLA voodoo with him to Tuscaloosa.

Shall we do a part 3 and address any coaching changes at the 4 non-SEC schools we’ll be playing next year?

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