Yesterday must have been national “grade the coaching hires” day at the big sports sites. Both Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com and Stewart Mandel of SI.com handed out their grades and/or rankings for America’s newest batch of college football coaches. Their thoughts on Will Muschamp to Florida and James Franklin to Vandy? We thought you’d never ask:
* Mandel gave the hire a B with an asterisk. “Muschamp fits a similar profile to former Florida defensive coordinator Bob Stoops at the time Oklahoma hired him. He knows how to recruit and motivate.” The asterisk — and a downgrade from B+ — came because of “Muschamp’s bizarre hiring of Charlie Weis as offensive coordinator.”
* Dodd ranks Muschamp’s hiring as the #1 hire in the nation (out of 21). “Florida should expect to compete for the SEC title quickly and win a national championship eventually under Muschamp.”
Our take: We see nothing wrong with the hire of Weis as offensive coordinator. He’s a big name and he can recruit offensive players. He’s not the head coach, he’s the coordinator… and he’s always been pretty darn good in that role. We agree with Dodd that UF should expect to compete for titles under Muschamp. But with Florida’s money, facilities and recruiting base, we’d have said the same thing even if Jeremy Foley had re-hired Ron Zook.
* Mandel gave Vandy’s hire a B grade as well. “It’s hard to gauge much from his time at Maryland, but the school’s previous administration thought highly enough of him to name him Ralph Friedgen’s head coach in waiting.”
* Dodd ranks Franklin’s hiring #16 out of 21 coaching moves this offseason. “Just when you thought Vanderbilt had sacked up and decided to pretend like it was serious about football, it seems to be slipping back. I’d blame the athletic director, but Vanderbilt doesn’t have one.”
Our take: So Mandel grades Franklin’s hire as being equal to that of Muschamp’s? Muschamp was chased by Tennessee last offseason. His name has always been on the “potential next guy” lists of Georgia and LSU fans. His roots are deep in SEC soil. On the flip side, Franklin (and his staff) have few ties to the Deep South recruiting zone. And Maryland’s current administration let Franklin walk in order to go hire… Randy Edsall? Who knows who’ll be better in the long run, but on the front end, Franklin’s hiring does not rival Muschamp’s.