The SEC welcomed 13 new coordinators to the league this season. Through the first 10 weeks, some have panned out. Others, not so much. And though we still have a little less than a month still to play, here’s a look at three new hires trending up and three trending down.
Geoff Collins, DC, Florida: You could make the argument that just about anybody could have stepped in and done well with the defense left behind by Will Muschamp. But credit Collins for bridging that gap. There has been no dropoff from the Gators this season. If anything, this unit is better now than it was a year ago. Florida is either No. 1 or No. 2 in the SEC in total defense, scoring defense, sacks, turnovers forced ... the list goes on. And it’s the primary reason why this team has already secured a trip to Atlanta for the SEC championship game.
Dan Enos, OC, Arkansas: Before Saturday, Arkansas wasn’t exactly lighting up the scoreboard in SEC play. Not unless the game went to four overtimes. But the biggest impact Enos has made has been with quarterback Brandon Allen. After Saturday’s 442-yard, six-touchdown performance, Allen is now second in the SEC in passing yards and touchdowns. He’s already surpassed his totals from last season, and he still has three games left, four if the Razorbacks make a bowl game. The senior has taken that next step thanks in large part to Enos.
Barry Odom, DC, Missouri: The Tigers are a mess right now, having lost four straight. They are in danger of missing the postseason. But it’s not the defense's fault. The defense is tops in the SEC, allowing just 14.6 points per game. Odom has come in and kept this unit playing at a high level despite not having Shane Ray and Markus Golden, both in the NFL now, and Harold Brantley, injured in a car accident before the season. With the help of defensive line coach Craig Kuligowski, Odom has been able to maximize his talent.
Jon Hoke, DC, South Carolina: Steve Spurrier hired Hoke in hopes of rejuvenating the defense and making a run at the SEC East. The fact that Spurrier has already walked away tells all you need to know about how well that plan worked. To Hoke’s credit, the Gamecocks are better than they were a year ago, but they’re still towards the bottom of the SEC in almost every statistical category on defense. With Spurrier gone and a new coach expected to take over, the rest of the season is basically an audition for Hoke.
Will Muschamp, DC, Auburn: With a healthy Carl Lawson, Muschamp might have been one of the coaches on the list above. But Lawson missed all or part of seven games with a hip injury, and the Auburn defense suffered as a result. The Tigers are last in the SEC in total defense, allowing 431 yards per game. They are toward the bottom in sacks, third-down defense and explosive plays given up. This unit is trending up now that Lawson is healthy again -- just look at last week -- but it might be too little, too late for this season.
Brian Schottenheimer, OC, Georgia: A longtime NFL assistant coach coming to college? This was supposed to be a home-run hire for Mark Richt and Georgia. It just hasn’t panned out. Obviously, the loss of Nick Chubb was a major blow for this offense, but Chubb was healthy when the Bulldogs were dominated by Alabama. And Chubb or no Chubb, the quarterback play has been dreadful this season. Before Saturday’s win against Kentucky, Georgia went eight quarters without scoring a touchdown. That’s not good.