21 for 2021 College Football Topics, No. 15: What are the reasonable expectations for the second year college football head coaches this season?
2nd Year Head College Football Coach Expectations For 2021
If you were a new head coach last season, there’s not much else that can be thrown at you after 2020.
Even the longtime veterans had to completely change up everything as they tried to navigate their way through the craziness and changes. Teams didn’t have a real offseason to get up and going, no one had the proper time to prepare, and just about everyone had to deal with the prospect of a cancelled season.
Combine the global pandemic with a revitalized era of social consciousness, and last year was anything but routine for the new head coaches. But now they all have a year to try getting their programs going.
21 for 2021 College Football Topics
21: 21 Thoughts, Wishes, Hopes
20: 5 Best Programs To Not Make CFP
19: 5 Teams That Will Rebound
18: 5 Teams That Will Take A Step Back
17: Every Power 5 Team’s Letdown Game
16. Expectations For New Head Coaches
What can fans hope for out of each second year head coach, and what can they look forward to over the next five seasons? Here’s the breakdown of all them in four categories.
Coaches in each category listed in alphabetical order
2021 2nd Year College Football Head Coach Expectations: Keep The Rebuild Going
These coaches took over impossible situations even if 2020 was normal. They get the equivalent of a redshirt year as they now try to build things back up.
Marcus Arroyo, UNLV
2020: It didn’t go well. UNLV is a much, much tougher gig than it seems, and Arroyo’s team struggled with the program’s first winless season since 1998. The Rebels went 0-6 losing all six game by double-digits.
Realistic Expectations In Year Two: Just start looking more dangerous. There should be a few wins coming, but UNLV will be the underdog in just about every game. Even so, there has to be a sign of life – especially defensively.
Realistic Expectations Over Next Five Years: Build the program up. UNLV has been a perennial doormat with just one winning season since 2000. Arroyo will get plenty of time, but there has to be incremental improvement starting with a bowl game in 2021.
– 2021 UNLV Preview
Danny Gonzales, New Mexico
2020: As 2-5 seasons go, it wasn’t all that bad. New Mexico was in total redo mode, but it was competitive in losses to Hawaii and Nevada and won its final two games at Wyoming and Fresno State. Gonzales did what all first year head coaches in tough situations need to do – he showed the potential for positive things to happen going forward.
Realistic Expectations In Year Two: Make a push for a bowl game. It’s still going to be a work in progress, but the Lobos have a few nice parts – getting Kentucky QB Terry Wilson helps – and there should be a built-in four wins as a base.
Realistic Expectations Over Next Five Years: Four bowl appearances over the next five years with one big push of a season at some point to get into Mountain West title contention.
– 2021 New Mexico Preview
Ricky Rahne, Old Dominion
2020: Everything was about to get going and then … nope. Old Dominion chose to opt out on the season.
Realistic Expectations In Year Two: It’s really Rahne’s first season at the helm. On the plus side, he had a full season to get settled in, and he’s got a salty bunch of players ready to go. At least four wins is a reasonable goal, but ODU is a true X factor team as it gets up and going again.
Realistic Expectations Over Next Five Years: Three bowl appearances and at least one push for the Conference USA East title. Overall, it’s going to be a heavy lift in the tougher of the two C-USA divisions.
– 2021 Old Dominion Preview
Jeff Scott, USF
2020: The Bulls went 1-8 with that lone victory coming over The Citadel from the FCS world. The offense perked up at times, but not enough to overcome a woeful defense.
Realistic Expectations In Year Two: It’s still going to be an uphill climb. USF might have even more offensive punch, but the D has to go from miserable to just mediocre. It’ll be ugly at times, but getting to four wins would be a step forward.
Realistic Expectations Over Next Five Years: Make the offense unstoppable. The Bulls need to quickly grow into a regular on the bowl circuit, be in the American Athletic title chase within three years, and come up with at least two wins over UCF.
– 2021 USF Preview