Preview 2017: Middle Tennessee’s Rick Stockstill Era Needs A Big Win
Middle Tennessee head coach Rick Stockstill has been great, but his program could use a massive win.
Bob Stoops, Kirk Ferentz, Gary Patterson, Mike Gundy, Frank Solich and Kyle Whittingham. Those six are the only current FBS head coaches who’ve been with their schools longer than Rick Stockstill’s been at Middle Tennessee.
Stockstill has only one one conference title – his first year at the helm in 2006 – and he’s only 1-5 in bowl games, but he’s found a nice groove going 37-26 over the last five seasons, helped by a cranked up offense that’s occasionally been as good as any in the country.
However, Western Kentucky rocked last year, turning Jeff Brohm into a star and getting the Purdue gig out of it. Also in Middle Tennessee’s division, there’s Butch Davis at FIU and Lane Kiffin at Florida Atlantic to deal with, along with a rising star Old Dominion program and a Marshall team that should be much better.
But now, Stockstill has to get Middle Tennessee to rise above the crowd in the better of the two Conference USA divisions and actually win the thing.
The offense will bomb away with as much balance and production as any in the country – it’ll average 40 points a game again. But the defense melted down way too often in the second half of the season, the offense had a few key power outages at the wrong time, and losses to WKU and Marshall killed the conference title hopes.
Losing to a bad Hawaii team 52-35 in the bowl game didn’t help.
So yes, longevity and consistency in the head coaching situation has been great, and five straight seasons with six wins or more were excellent, but after 11 years, despite the loss of five starters on each side of the ball it’s time for a championship season.