Coaching changes are brewing at a number of schools as this season comes to a close, and a number of NFL coaches are high on coaching short lists. Some coaches make the jump while others don’t, but if there was a perfect scenario these six coaches would land in college.
Offense is a big focus for a number of teams as they try and keep up with conference foes that are lighting up scoreboards.
Defensive coaches are also ones to watch with a number of defensive-minded coaches landing head coaching jobs consistently in the past few years.
Taking a look at the NFL coaching ranks here are the six coaches that we’d love to see walking a college sideline next season.
There is no hotter name in NFL coaching right now outside of Josh McDaniels. McDaniels is leading the New England Patriots offense and is doing work from the sideline.
The Patriots are top five in passing and rushing yards. They also lead the NFL in points scored and yards per game. This is the hottest offense in the NFL right now.
McDaniels has some head coaching experience in his past as he guided the Denver Broncos for two seasons. He had mediocre success with Jay Cutler as quarterback, but after a 3-9 run in 2010, he was fired by the Broncos.
The most impressive piece of coaching that McDaniels can stamp his name to has to be the 11-5 2008 season. The Patriots lost starting quarterback Tom Brady to injury in Week 1, and Matt Cassel stepped in to guide the Pats to 11 wins under McDaniels' instruction.
As the coaching seats come open across the college landscape, expect to hear this name often.
Koetter is no stranger to the college coaching game. He started his career as an offensive coordinator with San Francisco State and stayed in college until the 2007 season.
In 1998 Koetter was hired as head coach at Boise State, and he remained there until 2000. He then took his services to Arizona State as head coach before joining the Jacksonville Jaguars staff in 2007.
When the Auburn Tigers were looking for an offensive coordinator this past offseason, Koetter was one of the first names to surface. He landed with Atlanta just over 100 miles away and has done a great job with the Matt Ryan-led Falcons offense.
Currently the Falcons are undefeated and ranked in the top 10 in passing, scoring and total yards this year.
Even though Koetter didn’t seem interested in jumping to the college ranks for a lateral movement before last season, he would undoubtedly listen to head coaching offers.
This is a pipe dream for every college football fan right now. Sean Payton is currently suspended from the Saints thanks to the “Bountygate” scandal that struck earlier this year and is basically a free agent in the coaching circles.
Payton can move to any team he wants as the league voided all extensions in his previous contract with his suspension from the game. ESPN.com is reporting that the Saints can now renew talks with Payton to discuss a contract extension. If no deal is reached, he may not be in New Orleans for the 2013 season.
While that seems highly unlikely, there is still a chance that he may jump ship. If it could be done, the Payton hire would shake the foundation of the college football world.
Jim Leavitt is a great defensive-minded coach that has one of the more impressive head coaching resumes in the college game.
Leavitt started the South Florida football program from the ground up starting in 1997 and guided the Bulls to only two losing seasons in his 13 years there—the Bulls' first season was a one of two losing seasons.
A scandal that involved the striking of a player and attempted cover-up by Leavitt led to his dismissal at South Florida. He sat out of coaching for one year before being hired by the San Francisco 49ers in 2011 to coach linebackers.
The 49ers linebackers unit is one of the strongest in the NFL under the guidance of Leavitt.
As the memory of the USF firing floats away, expect Leavitt to make it back into a head coaching gig in college. Any program would thrive under the guidance of this intense and passionate coach.
If Sean Payton can’t be convinced to come to the college ranks possibly Jon Gruden can.
Gruden has been out of coaching since the 2008, but he is still a hot name in college coaching searches. He is now an analyst for ESPN on Monday Night Football and also contributes to the college coverage for bowl games.
There have been a lot of rumors in the past few years tying Gruden to vacant college jobs, but so far he remains committed to his position with ESPN.
Gruden was offered the offensive coordinator position at Oregon in 2009, and in 2010 he met with Miami (FL) athletic director Kirby Hocutt about the vacant Hurricanes head coaching positon.
Earlier this year Gruden spoke at the University of Tennessee to coaches during the annual Tennessee coaching clinic. The Chattannoga Times reported that Gruden told the clinic, "I love football, probably at some point I'll coach again. I just need the right opportunity."
Speculation is now swirling that Gruden is the hot name for Tennessee if Derek Dooley were to be fired after this season.
Teryl Austin may not be a name that jumps out and says “hire me” to the masses, but he is a darn good coach. Austin has spent half of his coaching career in the college ranks as a defensive assistant and coordinator.
He spent the 2010 season as the defensive coordinator of the Florida Gators where he helped guide the No. 7 total defense in the country. The Gators were also No. 13 against the pass that same season.
After Urban Meyer departed from Florida for his one-year hiatus, Austin returned to the NFL ranks with the Baltimore Ravens where he currently coaches the secondary.
Austin is a name that will fill a head coaching position at a mid-major and do wonders. Look for him to land back on a college sideline soon.