Looking back on a week of coaching changes

Even though Maryland was off to a 2-4 start, I was stunned when Randy Edsel was fired at Maryland last week.  In a statement, Maryland’s Athletic Director Kevin Anderson said, “this was a difficult decision, but ultimately this was the best course of action for our football program moving forward.”    I am not sure what kind of message it sends to the kids, when they fire their coach this early in the season.

Following a 3-2 start, USC head coach Steve Sarkisian was fired.   The Trojans have been struggling and lost back to back home games, but he was fired for personal off-the-field issues. and has reportedly checked-in to a residential treatment facility for help with alcohol abuse.   USC athletic director Pat Haden said: “Through all of this we remain concerned for Steve and hope that it will give him the opportunity to focus on his personal well being.”    This firing makes much more sense to me than firing a guy like Edsel, who was off to a rough start to the season.

But I was stunned by the abrupt resignation of Steve Spurrier following a rough start to the 2015 season. Spurrier was eager to get the 2015 campaign underway, as he had recruited several junior college transfers to bolster the defense.   Since an opening victory over North Carolina, the Gamecocks have struggled.  Injuries at the quarterback position have limited the offense.    Hurricane Joaquin, then forced the team to give up a home game against LSU.

“First of all, I’m resigning and not retiring,” Spurrier said last Tuesday. “I doubt if I’ll ever be a head coach again … but don’t say I’ve retired completely. Who knows what will come in the future?   “My answer has always been the same: If it starts going south, starts going bad, then I need to get out. … It’s time for me to get out of the way and give somebody else a go at it.”    Spurrier leaves the sideline the second-winningest coach in SEC history, behind Alabama’s Paul “Bear” Bryant, and as the winningest coach at two schools, Florida and South Carolina.   Shawn Elliot took over as interim head coach for the rest of the season and defeated Vanderbilt in the first game.

WHO COULD BE NEXT

Al Golden of Miami has been under pressure since day one of the season.    Each and every game, Hurricane alums have paid for a banner, trailing from a plane, calling for his head.    The Canes played  in-state rival Florida State tough, and a win over the Seminoles, could have temporarily taken some of the heat off.   It didn’t happen and ads continue to call for his resignation.

A few other names include Mike London of Virginia and three coaches, who have great histories with their schools, but may be under pressure to get things turned around.  These three are Mark Richt of Georgia, George O’ Leary of Central Florida and, believe it or not, Mark Helfrich of Oregon.   I was in Philadelphia last weekend and heard a rumor that if Chip Kelly we’re to be fired from the Eagles, would he in fact go back to Oregon or even USC.

So who will be hired to replace these coaches?  Two guys to keep an eye on are Justin Fuente of Memphis and Temple’s Matt Rhule.   Rhule, guided the Owls to a 6-6 mark last season, and has them at 5-0 with wins over Penn State and Cincinnati.   Fuente is in his fourth season with the Tigers.   He took the Tigers to a bowl game last season, finishing at 10-3, and currently has them off to a 6-0 start including Saturday’s stunning upset over Ole Miss.

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