December 8, 2022

Ranking the 10 Coordinators under the most scrutiny in week nine

Iowa Offensive Coordinator Brian Ferentz greets offensive lineman Nick DeJong during drills before game against Ohio State Saturday October 22, 2022 at Ohio Stadium. (Lynn Harrington/stayaliveinpower5)

This season has been very disappointing for them all.

Some have underachieved, while others have taken a step back with their leadership and coaching. There’s no mystery these Coordinators have failed to put their players in the right positions to be successful on the gridiron this fall.

And with half of the season in the books, fans are angry and demanding changes. There’s still time for these individuals to turn things around, but right now their backs are against the wall.

10. Barry Odom, DC, Arkansas: The former Missouri head coach is in his third season leading Arkansas’ defense, but this has been his worst campaign. The Razorbacks are 13th in the SEC in scoring and total defense. To make matters worse, Odom’s defense is 120th in the FBS in total yards allowed. Over the last three games Arkansas surrendered 49 points to Alabama, 40 to Mississippi State and 35 to BYU. The Razorbacks have allowed 30 or more points in three of their SEC games. It’s obvious Odom’s defense is struggling with the speed and physicality in the league. Arkansas’ offense has played well enough to win more games. However, the Odom’s defense continues to be the achilles heel. So fans should expect more shootouts down the stretch, and those types of games could go either way.

9. Tom Manning, OC, Iowa State: There’s a big reason why the Cyclones are 0-4 in Big 12 play for the first time since 2016. Life after Brock Purdy and Breece Hall hasn’t been good for Iowa State’s offense. Manning is in his fourth season orchestrating the group, and there’s been growing pains with the new regime of players. Iowa State is dead last in the Big 12 in scoring, rushing and total offense. It’s mind-boggling that the Cyclones have only generated six touchdowns on the ground through seven games. The big boys up front are struggling protecting young quarterback Hunter Dekkers. Iowa State has allowed 2.14 sacks per contest, which is eighth in the league. The Cyclones have scored a mere 41 points over their last three games. Manning needs to have the offense ready to shoot it out with Oklahoma.

8. Mike Bajakian, OC, Northwestern: Although he’s in his third season leading the offense, the numbers have been horrendous for the past two years. Northwestern finished dead last in the Big Ten, and 125th in the FBS in scoring offense last season. The offense hasn’t fared much better this fall, and a big reason why Northwestern has lost six-straight games. The Wildcats are currently 13th in the league and 118th in the country in scoring offense. Quarterback play has been spotty too. Bajakian benched Ryan Hilinski after he threw two interceptions against Wisconsin. Brendan Sullivan replaced him, but got picked off twice against Maryland. Four of the remaining five games will be against teams ranked in the top-15 in total defense. Not to mention Northwestern is 126th in the FBS in turnover margin.

7. Bill Musgrave, OC, California: The Golden Bears were ranked in the middle of the Pac-12 in defensive numbers last season. However, the production has worsened this fall, and it’s Musgrave’s third season leading¬† the offense. California is currently 11th in the Pac-12, and 101st in the FBS in scoring offense. The Golden Bears are currently on a three-game losing streak because their offense continues to be a liability. The 49 points California put up in the victory over Arizona is starting look more and more like a fluke. Washington State held California to nine points, and Musgrave’s unit only scored 13 against Colorado’s woeful defense. Potential shootouts loom for the remaining five games. The Golden Bears will face great quarterbacks, and Musgrave’s offense must be able to answer the bell.

6. Scottie Hazelton, DC, Michigan State: The Spartans had an identity on defense under Mark Dantonio, but that hasn’t been the case so far in Mel Tucker’s tenure. Hazelton is in his third season leading Michigan State’s defense, and the woes continue. The Spartans had the worst pass defense in the Big Ten last year, and are currently 13th in the league in 2022. Not mention Hazelton’s unit is 104th in the FBS in total defense this fall. Michigan State allowed 39 points in the loss at Washington, 34 to Minnesota and 49 to Ohio State. The Spartans haven’t been rock solid against the run either, ranking 78th in the nation in rushing defense. That’s not a good sign for Hazelton’s bunch, when the next two games are against teams that feature two of the best running backs and ground attacks in the country.

5. Lance Anderson, DC, Stanford: He’s the longest-tenured Coordinator on this list, and been orchestrating Stanford’s defense since 2014. Anderson’s first few years were really good. However, the Cardinal has struggled mightily on defense for the past two seasons. And that has played a huge roll in the program’s mediocrity recently. Last season Stanford finished dead last in the Pac-12 in scoring, rushing and total defense. There’s been improvement, but not much. The Cardinal is 11th in the conference and 93rd in the FBS in total defense this fall. Anderson appears to have turned the corner over the past two wins though. Stanford’s defense held Notre Dame and Arizona State to 14 points. The next three battles will be against UCLA, Washington State and Utah. All three have elite quarterbacks too.

4. Darrell Dickey, OC, Texas A&M: The Aggies have recruited some of the country’s best talent under Jimbo Fisher. So it’s a head-scratcher as to why Texas A&M has struggled on offense this fall. Life after Kellen Mond has been for the Aggies at the quarterback position. Not to mention injuries have played a factor, with Max Johnson and Ainas Smith out for the season. Evan Haynes King has missed time. Regardless, there’s no excuse as to why the Aggies are 13th in the SEC and 108th in the FBS in total offense. After all, Dickey is in his fifth season leading the offense, but the numbers are worse than last year. The Aggies are on a three-game losing streak because they can’t survive offensive shootouts. Now Dickey’s bunch is back at home against an Ole Miss team that has a great gunslinger in Jaxson Dart.

3. Jordan Lesley, DC, West Virginia: The Mountaineers have taken a big dip in defensive production in 2022. And that’s a surprise, considering Lesley is in his third season leading the defense. West Virginia is currently 95th in the country in total defense. Not to mention the Mountaineers are dead last in the Big 12, and tied for 117th in the FBS in scoring defense. After all, West Virginia allowed 38 point to Pittsburgh, 55 to Kansas, 38 to Texas, 40 to Baylor and 48 to Texas Tech. It’s obvious opposing Big 12 offenses smell blood in the water, and the flood gates have been wide open. The bad news for Lesley is four of West Virginia’s remaining five games are against teams with potent offenses and elite quarterbacks. If the Mountaineers suffer a second-straight losing campaign, Lesley’s defense will be the blame.

2. Pete Golding, DC, Alabama: Fans have been suspicious of his coaching for the past few seasons, and he’s in his fifth leading the Crimson Tide’s defense. Nick Saban cherry picks five-stars in recruiting, which means Golding has arguably the nation’s best talent to operate with. Although there’s a future NFL star on each level of Alabama’s defense, Golding continues to have those hiccup games. The 52 points Tennessee scored on Golding’s unit was flat-out embarrassing. It’s hard to forget about the 41 points Texas A&M scored on Alabama’s defense last year with a backup quarterback. Although the Crimson Tide are currently third in the SEC and 15th in the FBS in total defense, their fans feel they should be atop the statistics with all of the studs they have. And that means the coaching isn’t up to par.

1. Brian Ferentz, OC, Iowa: The Hawkeyes are having one of the worst seasons offensively in recent memory. The numbers don’t lie and Iowa is dead last in the Big Ten in scoring, rushing, passing and total offense. Not to mention the Hawkeyes’ offense is 131st in the FBS in total yards per game. And that’s mind-boggling, considering Ferentz is in his sixth season leading the offense. Everything has crumbled this fall though. Horrendous quarterback play, no rushing attack, overthrown balls to receivers, and poor blocking at the point of attack. Iowa’s offense hasn’t scored a touchdown for the past two games. The Hawkeyes have been held to single digits three times in 2022. Last week’s performance against the Buckeyes was disastrous, with a jaw-dropping, six turnovers. The fans are livid with the offense, but he’s still the coach’s son.