College football changes head coaches more than flashy athletes change sport vehicles. Programs are always looking for the next best thing, the guy who can lead them to the big dance. Shying away from tired and grizzled veterans, more schools are hiring young and energized coordinators.
These are guys with no head coaching experience, but they have paid their dues by putting in work on one side of the ball or the other. They have learned from some of the best and are ready to become the leader of a football program.
It won't be long before several coordinators earn head coaching jobs. Here's who's next in line.
Jeremy Pruitt hasn't even been a college assistant for long, but it is his quick rise and tenacity that demonstrates he will be a head coach sooner than later.
Although he began coaching at powerhouse programs in 2010, he did spend three years at Hoover High School in Alabama, which is as good as it gets at that level. Pruitt then spent two years coaching the Alabama secondary under head coach Nick Saban.
Now try and gather all of this. He went from years coaching a high school football team to coaching under one of the best college head coaches of all time. Two years later, he is the defensive coordinator for the Florida State Seminoles.
With his familiarity with the SEC and the way his name is buzzing, it is going to be interesting to see what big job he will land next.
It's somewhat surprising that Tennessee didn't decide to keep Jim Chaney and promote him to head coach. After Derek Dooley was let go, Chaney coached the final game against Kentucky and was able to help the Volunteers end the year on a high note.
Besides being an interim coach for one game, Chaney has great offensive experience. There are rumors that Chaney taught Urban Meyer a few things about the spread offense, but he also has experience working in the pro-style offense that Lane Kiffin wanted to run the one season he spent in Knoxville.
Chaney helped mold Drew Brees at Purdue, turned Tyler Bray into a solid quarterback and running back Tauren Poole went from a nobody to a 1,000-yard rusher under his guidance.
It was wise for Arkansas to snag him while it could, but Chaney needs a head coaching job fast.
James Coley is soaking in he can before somebody offers him a head coaching job. He spent two seasons under Nick Saban with the Miami Dolphins, a few years under Jimbo Fisher at Florida State and is now calling the plays for the Miami Hurricanes.
Growing up in Florida and spending much of his coaching days in the area, Coley knows the hot recruiting spots like the back of his hand. Because of this, he is widely considered one of the top recruiters in the country, which will be a reason why struggling program would offer him a hefty paycheck to be a head coach.
Coley is only 40 and would have no problem bringing in a top-10 recruiting class anywhere he ends up. Now he just needs a team to take a chance on him.
Jeff Mullen went from being the offensive coordinator at West Virginia to calling plays for the Charlotte 49ers. Huh? Don't let the bizarre change fool you.
Mullen is terrific at molding quarterbacks and getting guys to reach their full potential. Under his guidance, Riley Skinner was able to lead Wake Forest to an ACC title and a BCS bowl game as a freshman. Some guy named Pat White was one of the more decorated dual-threat quarterbacks ever working with Mullen at West Virginia.
The offensive numbers and success with quarterbacks are impressive, but the Charlotte offensive coordinator also knows how to work and mentor players. The way he handles his guys and gets players to reach new heights is something that can't be taught.
Mullen likely won't be coaching in the FCS for long.
The Georgia offense is breaking records and has a chance to top those numbers this season. The reason? Well, look no further than offensive coordinator Mike Bobo.
He has been on the Georgia staff since 2001 and the offensive coordinator since 2006. He was born in Georgia and actually played quarterback for the Bulldogs in the '90s. But with Mark Richt continuing to prove the doubters wrong, it is likely Bobo will have to find a head coaching job elsewhere.
Since Bobo became the quarterback coach and offensive coordinator, Georgia has put up unbelievable numbers and produced two quality quarterbacks in Matthew Stafford and Aaron Murray.
At 39-years-old, Bobo won't be calling plays from the booth much longer. In fact, he was already receiving serious head coaching consideration late last year.
Brent Pease is one of the more creative offensive coordinators in the country. From his days with Kentucky, Baylor and, of course, Boise State, Pease has always found ways to put his guys in a position to succeed and produce offensively.
Now with his first powerhouse program in the Florida Gators, people are starting to take a little more notice of how he does things. Because of this, Pease has been in the rumor mill for head coaching jobs after just one season with the Gators. He says he is committed to his current job, but made sure to mention that he is open to opportunities that may become available later.
With key guys returning and Pease having a full offseason to work with quarterback Jeff Driskel, the Florida offense should improve drastically. That's when the offers will become overwhelming, and the long-time coordinator will become a head coach for the first time.
Seriously, how in the world is Bud Foster still a defensive coordinator?
Maybe he is that committed to Virginia Tech. But if you are a program looking for a difference-maker, open up the checkbook and give the guy what he wants to make him a head coach. You almost get the feeling that Foster is the "head coach in waiting" similar to how Jimbo Fisher was when coaching under Bobby Bowden.
Foster has been with the Hokies since 1987 and was promoted to defensive coordinator in 1995. In all of those years, this program has had one of the top defenses nearly every season and made life difficult for its opponents. His consistency and high energy make him one of the best to do it at the college level.
Having already earned his stripes, can we please see Foster as a head coach?
Clemson is doing a fabulous job of holding onto offensive coordinator Chad Morris. Since the 44-year-old is making more than a million dollars to call the plays for the Tigers, there isn't any rush to leave for a head coaching position.
However, he will only stick around for so long. Eventually, a position will open up that sparks his interest. Considering he is a Texas guy, maybe he is the next Longhorns head coach once Mack Brown decides to hang it up?
Anyway, it is no secret what Morris has done over the years, as he has turned the Clemson offense into a scoring machine. The Tigers averaged 33.6 points his first season with the program, then led the ACC last year, averaging 41 points a game..
Creating mismatches on offense is his secret, and sooner or late he will be able to do that for a program of his own.
Bob Diaco put his name on the map last season by being the brain behind the Notre Dame defense that carried the Irish to the national championship. The truth is he had been putting together great units for years before at Virginia, Central Michigan and even Cincinnati.
Besides his defensive strategy and getting guys to play together, Diaco comes off as a player's coach. He approaches everything with high intensity and could motivate anybody to do anything by giving one of his famous speeches.
Diaco is a highly intelligent football guy, but also includes everything else that you look for in a head coach. As a complete package, Notre Dame fans should continue to cherish this guy while they can. It won't be long before some lucky program lands this future head coach with a bright future.
Why hasn't Kirby Smart left Alabama?
When you are paid what he's paid, there is no reason to leave Nick Saban's shadow. Call Smart overrated or give Saban all of the credit, either way the Alabama defensive coordinator is laughing all the way to the bank.
Even with that said, Smart will find a program of his own when he feels comfortable. He is still incredibly young at 37 and is still learning from one of the best to ever do it. Because of the numbers the Crimson Tide put up on defense, the endless national championships and learning under Saban, Smart will continue to be looked at as the next great head coach.
All we can do is sit back and wait for some team to convince him to leave the nest.