The coaches with the most to prove in week three
They all came into the 2022 season with positive expectations.
However, after two weeks of action, their teams have more questions than answers. Now week three is here. These coaches must take advantage of their opportunities and keep their seasons from downward spiraling.
That’s why a victory Saturday will go a long way . After all, their players and staff need to be rejuvenated after the recent shortcomings.
Jeff Hafley, Boston College: The Eagles are heading into week three on a four-game losing streak. Boston College is 0-2 for the first time since 2011, and Hafley needs to get the program back on the winning track. All of those stud offensive linemen the Eagles had a year ago are gone, and that has impacted the running game. Boston College is dead last in the FBS in rushing yards per game, and ACC play hasn’t even started yet. Quarterback Phil Jurkovec hasn’t shined like he was projected during the offseason, with three interceptions through the first two games. Hafley is now 12-13 as the Eagles’ coach. However, Maine will be invading Alumni Stadium this Saturday. It’s going to be a great opportunity for Hafley to iron out the Eagles’ rushing attack, and build back up his team’s confidence after a rough start.
Karl Dorrell, Colorado: The Buffaloes are playing like one of the worst teams in the country. Colorado is 0-2 for the first time since 2012. Not to mention Dorrell has lost four of his last five games overall, including three-straight. It’s no mystery the Buffaloes can’t pass the ball, and that has made the offense one-dimensional. Colorado is dead last in the Pac-12 in passing yards per game too. Defense has carried the team through Dorrell’s first two seasons, but in year three the unit has been leaky, especially against the run. TCU rushed for 275 yards on Colorado, and Air Force steamrolled for 435. Now the Buffaloes are traveling to play a team that shut them out 30-0 last year. Minnesota has a punishing ground attack on offense, and a stifling defense. It’s going to be vital for Colorado to get off to a fast start on the road.
Marcus Freeman, Notre Dame: He became the first coach in program history to lose his first three games, after Marshall pulled off the upset last Saturday. Notre Dame blew a 21-point lead in the Fiesta Bowl loss to Oklahoma State, got outmuscled at Ohio State, and punched in the mouth at home by Marshall. That means Freeman needs a victory more than any other coach on this list. Unfortunately, it’s going to be more challenging after the Fighting Irish lost starting quarterback Tyler Buchner for the season. However, Freeman is ready to hit the reset button on his 2022 campaign. He’ll get a chance to redeem himself against an undefeated Pac-12 team at home. The offense needs to rally behind sophomore gunslinger Drew Pyne. The defense needs to make a statement and show game two was a fluke.
Jimbo Fisher, Texas A&M: The Aggies were No. 6 in the AP Poll entering the season, but got exposed by a Sun Belt team at home last week. Fisher is one of College football’s highest-paid coaches, and he has recruited like a monster since he’s been in College Station. So it’s a head-scratcher as to why the Aggies constantly underachieve. The pressure to win is high in year five of the Fisher era too. Fans were expecting Fisher to field a very talented team. So for him to lose to Appalachian State is completely unacceptable. Maybe the players were caught with their pants down looking ahead to Miami. Regardless, Haynes King was ineffective throwing the ball in the loss to the Mountaineers, and Max Johnson will get the nod against the Hurricanes. The AP Poll kept Texas A&M ranked for a top-25 matchup Saturday.
Kirk Ferentz, Iowa: Everyone was expecting the Hawkeyes to field an elite defense this season. And so far Iowa has held up on that side of the ball. However, what fans didn’t expect was the Hawkeyes to have the country’s worst offense after two games. Quarterback Spencer Petras has struggled throwing the ball, and been picked off five times in the past three contests. The Hawkeyes are thin at receiver because of injuries. Not to mention leading returning rusher Gavin Williams has been hobbled with an injury. It has resulted in a lot of inefficiency on the gridiron, and the defense has been on the field for too many plays. Now a lot of responsibility has been placed on Petras’ shoulders. Iowa’s offense should have a better outing against Nevada though. After all, the Wolfpack are ranked 96th in the FBS in total defense.
Steve Sarkisian, Texas: The Longhorns made the rare move of crashing the AP top-25 after losing a game. That’s because Texas played Alabama down to the wire and nearly pulled off the upset. However, Sarkisian lost his starting quarterback Quinn Ewers during the process. With Ewers out for the next four to six games, Hudson Card will take his place for the No. 21 Longhorns. Card will have weapons in his arsenal too. Rusher Bijan Robinson and wideout Xavier Worthy are two of the best players at their respective positions. And they’ll be needed against a dangerous UTSA team that won 12 games in 2021. Sarkisian needs to make sure the Longhorns have put the Crimson Tide loss in the rearview mirror. No lingering hangovers, because the Roadrunners have enough offensive firepower to pull off the upset.
Bryan Harsin, Auburn: The Tigers outlasted a couple of cream puffs through the first two weeks, but will have one of the best matchups in the non-conference this weekend. SEC against the Big Ten, and on the Plains means huge exposure. Penn State could potentially be the start of the revenge tour for Auburn. However, Harsin has lost five of his last six games against AP ranked teams. So the pressure is on him to get the Tigers back to being one of the most respected teams in the SEC West. Harsin is going to need better quarterback play though. T.J. Finley has been picked off three times through the first two games, and can’t make costly mistakes against Penn State. The 21st-ranked Nittany Lions will be bringing a talented team to Jordan Hare, and it’s going to be a great measuring stick for Harsin’s squad.
Neal Brown, West Virginia: The Mountaineers are 0-2 for the first time since 1979. Not to mention West Virginia is on a three-game losing streak, and Brown is starting to feel the heat. Brown needs a victory than any other Big 12 team in week three after losing to Kansas at home, and Towson is just what the doctor ordered. Although the Mountaineers’ defense has disappointed thus far, the offense has put points on the scoreboard and kept the team in games. Quarterback JT Daniels has been a spark for Brown, with 573 yards through the air, five touchdowns and two interceptions. Daniels and the offense will be fine, but it’s the Mountaineers defense that needs to get the wrinkles ironed out against the Tigers. The schedule gets a lot tougher after game three, so time is of the essence for Brown.