10 Coordinators Who Will Be Prime Head Coach Candidates After 2013 Season
Being the head coach of a major university's football program is a coveted position, especially if you turn out to be good at it.
While some teams poach NFL coaches to come to town, others look around the college football landscape to see who sticks out the most.
This is where the coordinator positions come into play. Whether you're an offensive or defensive coordinator at a major or minor school, the Information Age has made every coach highly visible at all times.
If a coordinator stands out above his peers, he will be tabbed for interviews for various head coaching positions around the nation. Performance is key, and national rankings are always readily available.
Here are the 10 coordinators that will be ready to move up at the end of the 2013 season.
*All national rankings are from CFBStats.com
Dave Aranda (Defensive Coordinator, Wisconsin Badgers)
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After one short season as the defensive commander for the Aggies, his turnaround at Utah State earned him a job at a high-profile Big Ten program.
In 2011, the Utah State Aggies finished 22nd nationally in scoring defense and 14th in total defense. Aranda took over for the 2012 season, and Utah State ranked third in both categories.
If he can do anything close to the same thing for Wisconsin, he will be deemed worthy of nothing less than an interview for a head coaching slot.
Wisconsin finished 2012 ranked 16th in scoring defense and 15th in total defense. All Aranda will have to do to be considered for a major program is get the Badgers into the top 10 in both categories.
It may seem unlikely, but it was also unlikely that he would take Utah State to No. 3, too.
Dana Bible (Offensive Coordinator, NC State Wolfpack)
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NC State's Dana Bible is arguably ready for a head coaching position right now, but another good year with the Wolfpack will solidify his candidacy.
He was the quarterbacks coach that developed Mike Glennon, the current No. 6 passer in the 2013 draft class. He's projected to go in the late second or early third round in late April.
Bible has coached a few prominent names throughout his career, and his most notable product is Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan. Bible coached him at Boston College.
If Bible can develop yet another good quarterback in the ACC next season, there will be plenty of schools willing to give him a shot at running a program.
Mike Bobo (Offensive Coordinator, Georgia Bulldogs)
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Georgia's offensive coordinator, Mike Bobo, has been in charge of Georgia's potent offense since 2007. He has been the quarterbacks coach since 2001.
Georgia has progressed over the years, and the Bulldogs have become a staple near the top of the SEC. In each of the past two seasons, Georgia has been one win away from claiming the conference title.
Georgia finished 34th in scoring offense back in 2007, 29th in 2008, 30th in 2010 and 18th in 2012. There was a period between 2008 and 2011 that looked like Georgia had plateaued offensively, but Bobo stuck to his plan and came through in 2012.
Provided that he continues the improvement in 2013, Georgia may be looking at a national championship. With or without the crystal football, Bobo will be on the short list of coordinators to be interviewed for a top-tier position.
Jim Chaney (Offensive Coordinator, Arkansas Razorbacks)
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Both Tennessee and Arkansas are losing star quarterbacks and are under new head coaches. Given the state of both programs, Chaney has a much better chance of making a good impression with the Razorbacks.
Arkansas had one of the worst seasons possible in 2012, and the only major difference between 2011 and last year was that Bobby Petrino was not there.
Arkansas may be breaking in a new quarterback, but the team as a whole is only in need of good leadership to take it back toward the top of the SEC in the coming years.
If Chaney can make a solid turnaround at Arkansas in 2013, which is likely, then he's a lock for head coach interviews.
John Chavis (Defensive Coordinator, LSU Tigers)
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John Chavis has been fielding elite defenses for the Bayou Bengals for years now, and he may or may not even be interested in a head coaching position.
LSU is once again losing a lot of major players to the NFL draft, and the majority of them are on defense. Chavis overcame NFL losses in 2012 to field the nation's 12th-ranked scoring defense.
His unit finished second in 2011 and 11th in 2010. Chavis has fielded lethal defense after lethal defense, and his unit has rarely been responsible for an LSU loss.
If he can do it again after the 2013 draft losses, then he's going to be at the top of the potential head coach list by a large margin.
Tony Franklin (Offensive Coordinator, California Golden Bears)
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While Franklin expressed his lack of interest in becoming a head coach, that won't stop him from receiving phone calls.
Most recently, he was the offensive coordinator at Louisiana Tech. The Bulldogs finished 2012 ranked first in the country in scoring offense, and Franklin has had his eyes on California (the state) for a while.
It would take a lot to pull him away from the offensive coordinator position at California, but if it's really the state he's in love with, there are plenty of schools that may be able to coax him into the head coach position.
USC may be looking for a new head coach soon, and Franklin's offensive style would definitely suit the Trojans. If Franklin can turn Cal around, his phone will be ringing off the hook between December and February.
Pete Kwiatkowski (Defensive Coordinator, Boise State)
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Kwiatkowski was the Broncos' defensive line coach before 2010, and he was promoted to defensive coordinator in January that year.
His first scoring defense ranked second in the country for the 2010 season, and his second unit was listed at No. 12.
He's clearly ready for more responsibility right now, but fourth great season in a row will absolutely put him on every major program's radar. Teams that need defense will definitely be looking at him, especially if their current offensive coordinators are the ones handling the offense.
Philip Montgomery (Offensive Coordinator, Baylor Bears)
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Philip Montgomery is an offensive co-coordinator at Baylor, and he's the quarterbacks coach as well. He was Robert Griffin III's coach during Griffin's Heisman-winning season, and he developed RGIII's replacement, Nick Florence.
Baylor earned the No. 4 position in scoring offense in both of the past two seasons, which means that the offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach had just as much to do with the Bears' success as the players.
If Montgomery can repeat this performance with a third quarterback in 2013, then his fate is sealed. He will be called up to the head coaching position at any number of major programs.
All he needs is one more successful season, and it doesn't seem like it will be a problem for him.
Chad Morris (Offensive Coordinator, Clemson Tigers)
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Chad Morris has helped Clemson return to prominence in the ACC, and it's only a matter of time before he's snatched up by a major program to take command.
Clemson won the ACC in 2011, and the Tigers went to the Orange Bowl that season. In 2012, the Tigers dropped the Florida State game and couldn't claw their way back in, despite not losing any other conference games that year.
What makes that so impressive is that Morris became the offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach in 2011. In both of his seasons, Clemson has been near the top of the ACC.
If he does it again in 2013 (highly probable, as Florida State's starting quarterback from 2012 will be in the draft), then he's headed for the big time in 2014.
You can only be so successful before life hands you a promotion on a silver platter. Morris will get his shot after the 2013 season's Orange Bowl appearance.
Kirby Smart (Defensive Coordinator, Alabama Crimson Tide)
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Kirby Smart has consistently put together some of the most lethal defenses int he country year after year at Alabama.
Kirby Smart's scoring defenses have ranked 27th (2007, Smart and Saban's first season), seventh (2008), second (2009), third (2010), first (2011) and first (2012) in the nation.
Smart has steadily developed Alabama into a defensive masterpiece that has lost only seven games since the beginning of the 2008 season. Smart's defenses have brought Alabama three of the last four national championships, and it's already gotten him interviews with both college and NFL programs.
Smart is a priceless asset for the Crimson Tide, but sooner or later he's going to be offered a position he can't turn away. Maybe he's thinking of sticking around and replacing Saban, but he can build a head coaching resume elsewhere just as easily.
Smart will be in prime position to take over a major program after Alabama's fifth-straight legendary defense takes the field in 2013. With or without a national championship, Smart's accomplishments will net him an annoying number of phone calls starting in December.