Grading the new coaching hires (cont.)
Florida State (Jimbo Fisher, FSU offensive coordinator): B-
Mind you, this move was decided two years ago, and FSU desperately needed Bowden to go ahead and pass the torch -- but I'm not fully convinced he's the right guy for the job. We know Fisher can develop quarterbacks (JaMarcus Russell, Christian Ponder). And he's recruiting like mad (FSU could land a top 10 class). But is he qualified to be a program CEO? Time will tell.
Tennessee (Derek Dooley, Louisiana Tech head coach): C
It's no secret Tennessee whiffed on several more qualified candidates, most notably Utah coach Kyle Whittingham. It settled instead for a 17-20 WAC coach who happens to be the son of an SEC coaching legend. Dooley has the pedigree. He spent six years working for Nick Saban and helped win a BCS title. But he's also an entirely unproven commodity who went 4-8 last season.
USC (Lane Kiffin, Tennessee head coach): D
In an attempt to replicate the Pete Carroll era, USC hired an immature 34-year-old who's gone 12-21 as a head coach. Football insiders seem to respect Kiffin, but it says something when the new coach's biggest calling card is the assistants (his father, defensive coordinator Monte, and defensive line coach/recruiting czar Ed Orgeron) that came with him. It feels desperate and shortsighted.
Best of the rest
Akron (Rob Ianello): Weis' recruiting coordinator at Notre Dame, Ianello has a diverse background (Arizona, Wisconsin) and chaired the AFCA's assistant coaches committee.
Marshall (Doc Holliday): The longtime West Virginia assistant and South Florida recruiting titan could turn the Thundering Herd back into a player for the first time since Byron Leftwich left.
Memphis (Larry Porter): You'd be hard-pressed to find someone who wants to be at Memphis, but this eight-year Les Miles assistant, 37, was once a star running back for the Tigers.
San Jose State (Mike MacIntyre): MacIntyre, 44, has largely flown under the radar while gaining extensive experience as an assistant with Georgia, Ole Miss, Duke and the Dallas Cowboys.
UNLV (Bobby Hauck): UNLV has traditionally been a dead-end job, but Hauck, who went 80-17 in seven seasons as Montana's head coach, is as suited as anyone to reverse the trend.
NOTE: East Carolina and Louisiana Tech hires still pending.
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