First Year Head Coach Rankings: How Did The New Guys Do?

First Year Head Coach Rankings: How Did The New Guys Do?

Coach Hot Seat

First Year Head Coach Rankings: How Did The New Guys Do?


15. Willie Taggart, Florida State (5-7)

Taggart didn’t get any help from the offensive line left by the previous regime, and remember, the 2017 team had to work way too hard just to get a sixth win and go bowling. But when you take over a program that’s been bowling every year since 1982, and you finish with a losing season, things didn’t work well.

2019 Expectation: Win eight games, and show strides that it’s not going to take all that long to challenge Clemson again for the Atlantic and ACC titles. Step One: the D has to be better. The Noles allowed over 100 more points than the 2017 team.

14. Jonathan Smith, Oregon State (2-10)

The offense got better. The team wasn’t any more competitive – the defense got a whole lot worse in some areas – but this is going to take time. Smith is still figuring this all out, but the running game was interesting. There was only one win over an FBS team, but ruining Colorado’s season was the first non-FCS victory since 2016.

2019 Expectation: Get the O going. The wins aren’t going to be there in a loaded Pac-12, and going bowling is a dream, but there need to be signs that the pivot is coming soon.

13. Dana Dimel, UTEP (1-11)

UTEP won a game. Start from there, and move forward after the program went winless in 2017. The offense was hardly special, but it started to work. It scored 81 more points overall, coming up with more than 21 five times after not getting over the mark in 2017.

2019 Expectation: Four wins. That’s what UTEP came up with in 2016, and it’s not asking for the world against a schedule facing seven teams that didn’t go bowling.

12. Sonny Dykes, SMU (5-7)

Dykes was able to get in a little work with the team in the bowl game to end the 2017 season – it wasn’t pretty. The defense was supposed to be an issue – that’s going to need a while – but the offense was expected to be a differentiating factor, and it wasn’t. The first five losses were all acceptable, but with bowl eligibility on the line, the Mustangs lost to Tulsa.

2019 Expectation: Make the offense scare everyone in the American Athletic Conference. Put up 40 points without breathing hard, get to six wins and back to a bowl.

11. Sean Lewis, Kent State (2-10)

This was a total gut job. The youngest coach in college football had to completely change around the program, and this was a good first step. The 2-10 record was ugly, and there was only one win over an FBS program, but the new Flash Fast style of offense put up 287 points. That might not seem like much, but that’s the best output by a Kent State team since 2012.

2019 Expectation: Get to five wins and make the offense scary. It’s about scheme and style with Lewis. As long as the O goes, he’ll be doing his job in Year Two.

NEXT: No. 6 through 10


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