Constructing the Ultimate College Football Coach
How many times have you said: "If only our coach was better at defense or recruiting or special teams, etc. etc. etc., we would have an unbeatable team"?
It's unrealistic to expect one man to have all the perfect qualities necessary to be the best (except for my husband, of course).
But if we could combine qualities from several of today's top college football coaches, we could build the "Superman" of coaches.
Here are my picks.
Nick Saban's Defensive Prowess
A good case in point of the old college football adage "defense wins games" is Nick Saban. His teams are always sound defensively.
Saban is known to embrace the 3-4 scheme: three defensive linemen and four linebackers. According to Saban, the beauty of this defensive scheme is that everyone thinks it's designed to stop the run, but it really helps a defense cover the pass because it allows for split-safety coverage.
My question is: Yeah, it's a brilliant scheme, Nick, but how do you get your players to execute it so perfectly nearly all the time? That's where the Superman part comes in, I think.
Jimbo Fisher's Recruiting Skills
Sure, it's easy to recruit if you're Brian Kelly and have the Notre Dame tradition behind you. Or if you're Lane Kiffin and you've got USC's glory days to hype.
Or even if you're Les Miles and Nick Saban and have access to all those big bodies who don't want to get too far away from their momma's cooking. Not to mention that they play in the SEC, which happens to be on a pretty good run these days.
But Jimbo Fisher and the Florida State Seminoles don't have those advantages. In fact, FSU is a non-SEC school (ACC) trying to recruit in the heart of the SEC while that conference is at its peak.
But yet again, Fisher has landed a great recruiting class. According to Rivals.com, the Seminoles have the No. 6 ranked recruiting class in the country this year, outdistancing several prominent SEC programs.
Fisher stole four hot recruits, including No. 1 QB prospect Jameis Winston, from right under Alabama's nose. In all, FSU landed three 5-star, 10 4-star, and five 3-star recruits.
In your face, SEC.
Chip Kelly's Offensive Mind
The summer after Oregon's appearance in the BCS National Championship game against Auburn, the Ducks were deluged with requests from high school, college and pro coaches who wanted to come to Eugene to talk about offense.
Whether you think Kelly is an offensive genius or you think he just runs a good scheme with good players and execution, there is no denying the innovation he has brought to the game.
The Ducks' tempo and no-huddle scheme have forced defenses to prepare differently when they play Oregon. Opponents of the Ducks have to learn how to compete when their defense is fatigued. Some have even been known to fake injuries—ring a bell, Cal?—in a sorry attempt to slow down the Ducks.
Teams have studied Oregon's offense under Kelly, but most have been unable to solve it. Until opponents come up with the answer, the Oregon Ducks will still be tons of fun to watch.
Frank Beamer Special Teams
Frank Beamer (no relation to the car) is entering his 26th season as the head coach at Virginia Tech. In November, 2011, when Joe Paterno was fired, Beamer became the winningest active coach in Division I with 251 victories.
All that is very impressive, but what I find the most impressive about the guy is that his expertise and style on special teams has coined its own term that's been added to college football lexicon: Beamerball.
As close as I can figure it, Beamerball essentially means scoring non-offensive touchdowns. In Beamer's tenure at Virginia Tech, a player at every defensive position and 35 different players on special teams have scored TDs for the Hokies.
That's not luck, people; that's coaching skill.
Mack Brown's PR Skills
Mack Brown is as smooth as silk sheets when you get out of a bubble bath. What, you don't take bubble baths?
This man has never said one wrong word at any point in his professional career. He's always got something good to say about his opponents, and somehow, it always sounds sincere. He loves referees, his boss and everyone at the University of Texas.
His press conferences always seem to impart something new and brilliant, even though a few hours later, you realize he said exactly the same thing he always says. He's the Chinese food of head coaches.
Brown is also, not coincidentally, the highest paid coach in college football. This despite having what some would generously call "rebuilding years." The University of Texas regents voted unanimously in January 2012 to extend Brown's contract until 2020.
Smooth, I tell you.
Best Life/Work Balancing Act
Brian Kelly? No, that was my little joke on you. Anyone whose face is continually purple and yelling cannot possibly be a well-balanced human being.
My real vote goes to Chris Petersen, head coach at Boise State. Petersen, with his wife and two kids, are active members of the Boise community. He seems very happy with Idaho, his job and his lifestyle.
It must be true. Why else would Petersen stay in Boise when he doesn't have to?
The Perfect College Football Coach
So, if we could combine Saban's defense, Fisher's recruiting, Kelly's offense, Beamer's special teams, Brown's PR skills and Petersen's life/work balance, we would have the perfect college football coach.
Of course, he would still get fired if he had one losing season.
Unless he's Mack Brown.