SEC has 10 new coordinators this football season

SEC has 10 new coordinators this football season

SEC has 10 new coordinators

July 7th, 2017 by David Paschall in Sports - College

Randy Shannon is Florida's new defensive coordinator after serving the past two seasons as linebackers coach for the Gators.

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

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The only head-coaching change in Southeastern Conference football since this time last year occurred at LSU, where Ed Orgeron replaced Les Miles on an interim basis in late September before earning permanent status in late November.

If only things were so tranquil on the coordinator front.

The SEC will have 10 new coordinators for the 2017 season — five on each side of the ball. Among the newcomers is LSU offensive coordinator Matt Canada, whose Pitt Panthers averaged nearly two touchdowns more per game a year ago compared to what the Tigers were producing.

"He uses multiple shifts and formations, but he still wants to run the ball and can adjust to the skill sets of the quarterbacks on the roster already," Orgeron said after spring practice. "He wasn't tied to a pro-style offense or a dual-threat quarterback. He can do both, and we have both types of quarterbacks on our team.

"That made him a great candidate. That and averaging 41 points at Pitt and beating Clemson like he did. That was very impressive."

New SEC offensive coordinators in addition to Canada are Alabama's Brian Daboll, Auburn's Chip Lindsey, Tennessee's Larry Scott and Phil Longo of Ole Miss. The Rebels also have a new defensive coordinator, Wesley McGriff, who will be joined on the defensive newcomer front by Florida's Randy Shannon, Mississippi State's Todd Grantham, Kentucky's Matt House and Paul Rhoads of Arkansas.

Georgia, Missouri, South Carolina, Texas A&M and Vanderbilt, where head coach Derek Mason serves as the defensive coordinator, were the only SEC programs that did not experience change at one of the coordinator spots. Ole Miss is the lone league school with two new coordinators.

"It's the first time I've ever had to do this," Rebels coach Hugh Freeze said. "I have a comfort level with Wesley McGriff and love what I saw with the energy and system that he is putting in place. Phil Longo is someone I did not have a relationship with, but in our talks, he was exactly what I needed.

"It's going to be the same offense, because we've been very successful if you look at the numbers we've put up."

McGriff was Auburn's secondary coach last season and was cornerbacks coach at Ole Miss in 2012, which was Freeze's first year guiding the Rebels.

Auburn coach Gus Malzahn needed no introduction to Lindsey, who was an offensive analyst for the Tigers in 2013, when they won the SEC and played Florida State in the final BCS title game. Lindsey returned to the Tigers after serving as Arizona State's offensive coordinator.

"I trust him," Malzahn said. "I know a lot about him, and our philosophies are very similar."

Three of the SEC's new coordinators — Tennessee's Scott, Florida's Shannon and Kentucky's House — were on their respective staffs last year and received promotions.

"That was a very easy choice," Volunteers coach Butch Jones said. "I was able to evaluate him for a full year and what he brought into the offensive staff in terms of really managing personalities and his input on game day. Larry knew our current players, and he understands our expectations."

Said Florida coach Jim McElwain: "We didn't have to change the terminology or get to know guys, and yet Randy will bring his own flair to it."

The number of new coordinators in the SEC is actually down from the 13 last year, when Georgia, Missouri and South Carolina each had two new coordinators under new head coaches Kirby Smart, Barry Odom and Will Muschamp. Smart and Muschamp had been defensive coordinators at Alabama and Auburn, so changes had to take place at those schools as well.

Change is constant in the coordinating ranks, which Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen can attest. Grantham is his sixth defensive coordinator in nine seasons.

"Offensively we've been able to keep some guys as coordinators, and it's the same on special teams," Mullen said, "but I just think in today's world that there are all kinds of opportunities. We're in an instant-gratification world where we need to win right away, and that puts pressure on everybody to perform at a high level and do it immediately."

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.