10 College Football Players Who Will Make Excellent Coaches Someday
College football players have many options for a bright future. Playing in the NFL, pursuing a career in the field of their chosen degree or coaching. Coaching is almost always an option, unless they spend more than a decade outside the realm of football.
What does it take to be an excellent coach? You have to be able to win national championships, raise up players with incredible integrity and moral character or both. No coach is going to be retained if he can't find success either on or off the field.
It takes intelligence, specific knowledge of football and the ability to lead in order to be an excellent coach.
Here are 10 players on 2013 rosters who will someday make great coaches.
Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville Cardinals
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Teddy Bridgewater just talked his coach into not launching a Heisman campaign on his behalf. Why is this relevant? The reason he gave for not mounting the campaign was that he felt that the team's success would create a platform all by itself.
He wants to focus on team success and let the Heisman land where people see fit. That is the type of man you want coaching a football team. That attitude is also an excellent start to whatever future he chooses for himself.
On top of that, he is one of the most successful quarterbacks in his draft class. He went 287-of-419 for 3,718 yards, 27 touchdowns and only eight interceptions last season. He picked apart most of the defenses he faced and earned a trip to the Sugar Bowl opposite the Florida Gators.
When he got to the bowl game, he treated Florida like a regular football team. He took the third-ranked SEC power down 33-23. Bridgewater knows offense, and he has more than enough character.
If he is unsuccessful in a coaching career, it will be a surprise to many. Even more fans will be surprised if he doesn't see some playing time in the NFL first.
Kain Colter, Northwestern Wildcats
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Kain Colter is one of the most intelligent quarterbacks in college football. Again, he's the starter for the Northwestern Wildcats heading into 2013, and it should prove to be another interesting season.
He led the Wildcats to a 10-win season in 2012 that culminated in a postseason victory over the Mississippi State Bulldogs.
Colter may or may not see time on the field in the NFL, but he has a major advantage if he wants to enter the coaching arena: He is a psychology major.
When it comes to leading people, there is almost no way to reach every single one of them with one standard approach. Some may respond better to different tactics.
Here is where the psychology major comes in handy. Without trying, he will have a special insight into the players under his tutelage. That will allow him to bring a tailored approach to each athlete under his command, and people respond much better to leaders that really understand them.
Colter won't even have to try very hard to make it happen, either. By the time he finishes his degree, this will be a sort of sixth sense. That, plus the fact that he's picked apart some of the country's better teams will provide him with a serious advantage over most coaches emerging from this graduating class.
Gabe Ikard, Oklahoma Sooners
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Gabe Ikard is an offensive lineman for the Oklahoma Sooners. As fans have been informed by Sports Illustrated, offensive linemen are some of the highest-scoring players when it comes to the football-standard Wonderlic test.
Ikard is potentially going to move around the offensive line in 2013, like he did in the Cotton Bowl against Texas A&M. He proved that he has what it takes to jump over to guard when he replaced the injured Adam Shead.
While this doesn't necessarily mean that he's the next Barrett Jones, it certainly proves that he's got more than a fair command of the intricacies of the offensive line.
As one of the best centers in the country (if not the best), he's proven that he knows what's going on. After all, the vast majority of a center's job takes place after he snaps the ball.
He's intelligent; he's good, and he plays on a team that contends for championships, on both the conference and national levels.
Ikard's ability to read defenses and orchestrate offenses will translate well to a coaching job. Whether he ends up as a head coach or a line coach, Ikard has a potential future with a clipboard and a coach's polo shirt.
Taylor Lewan, Michigan Wolverines
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Taylor Lewan is one of the best linemen in the country. He erased all doubt by holding South Carolina's Jadeveon Clowney to four total tackles (three solo) in the entire Outback Bowl.
Clowney is largely considered the best defender in college football, which makes Lewan, at the very least, the best offensive lineman.
Again, as the conductor of the offensive line, Michigan's success on that side of the ball can be directly attributed to Lewan's ability to line the men up correctly.
You may ask, "What about the game-changing hit by Clowney that was due to a breakdown of the offensive line?" That wasn't Lewan's fault.
Lewan's credentials stand against the nation's best defensive linemen, even on the play that blew the game up. Lewan made the right call, but another player missed the adjustment.
Lewan's talent will not take him straight into coaching; there's no way that the entire 32-team field of NFL teams will skip over him. After he's done with the pro level, he'll make an incredible offensive line coach. He might even be a great head coach.
Jordan Lynch, Northern Illinois Huskies
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Jordan Lynch led the Northern Illinois Huskies to the Orange Bowl in 2012. This was the first time that a Mid-American Conference team had made the cut for any of the five bowls at the top of the game.
Lynch has commanded an incredible offense, and he set many NCAA records during his historic run. Lynch is one of the best performers at his position since 1869, but that's not the biggest reason that he'll be a great coach.
He'll be an excellent coach because he has seen what happens when an offensive line breaks down. Whether he realizes that or not is a question for him, but the Orange Bowl against Florida State proved that the Seminoles were simply too much to handle on the lines.
Even with that gigantic mismatch, Northern Illinois stuck with FSU until the fourth quarter. Heading into the final period, the Huskies were down just 14-10.
Unfortunately, the Seminoles would outlast and outperform the Huskies in the last 15 minutes. However, this provided Lynch with firsthand experience that some successful quarterbacks don't get to see.
He saw his line get tired, so he knows the importance of strength and conditioning. He saw his line get outmaneuvered, so he knows the importance of drills. He also knows the importance of leverage. That's the only way to equalize the situation when you are against bigger defenses.
Lynch also saw what happens when everything is going right. The Huskies finished the 2012 season 12-2 with losses as bookends around a 12-game winning streak. A 12-game winning streak is admirable no matter what conference your team plays in.
Lynch will make a great offensive wild card in the NFL, especially behind stellar lines. Whether he gets a shot at quarterback remains to be seen, but he'll be a great coach if he ever decides to go that route.
Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M Aggies
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Johnny Manziel is the flip side of the Jordan Lynch quarter. Manziel has not seen a terrible breakdown in his offensive line, and he nearly took the Texas A&M Aggies to the national championship. Losses to Florida and LSU by a combined eight points kept them from the title game.
Manziel has extremely rare instincts, and whether he ends up in the NFL or not, those instincts will take him far if he ever coaches.
Manziel has an uncanny ability to stretch plays longer than most teams prepare for, and he's seen the results of a stellar offensive line. The unit around him allowed him to do everything he did, not by stopping defenders in their tracks, but my directing them exactly where Manziel needed them to go.
Once the line got the defense behind the quarterback, Manziel proceeded to rip off 1,409 yards via 201 carries. That's just a hair over seven yards per attempt.
Manziel has the ability to see holes in the defense, and he is fully aware of the offensive line's contribution to the equation. As the country's first freshman Heisman winner, he will likely be in the NFL before he assumes a coaching role.
After that, though, he'd be a valuable quarterbacks coach, offensive line coach or head coach.
Jake Matthews, Texas A&M Aggies
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Jake Matthews is the replacement All-American for the drafted All-American Luke Joeckel. As mentioned in the previous slide, the Aggies' offensive line made everything Johnny Manziel did possible.
Matthews was a big part of the 2012 success, and he'll be an even bigger part of Texas A&M's 2013 run. With Joeckel gone, Matthews will shoulder the most responsibility of anyone on offense not named Manziel.
Matthews' has the same credentials as Taylor Lewan, but without the dominance over South Carolina's Jadeveon Clowney. If 2013 brings some unexpected magic, Matthews will face Clowney in the 2013 SEC title game.
Even if he doesn't dominate Clowney, he'd still make a great coach someday. Just because one player in his entire career may be better than he is doesn't take him off this list.
Taylor McHargue, Rice Owls
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Taylor McHargue is pursuing a degree in sports management at the country's No. 17 institution, and that means that he already has a decided advantage over his peers that are also intelligent quarterbacks for FBS teams.
McHargue finished an improbable 2012 season on a four-game winning streak after starting off 2-6. After qualifying for the Armed Forces Bowl, he then led Rice to a 33-14 victory over the Air Force Falcons.
He overcame a large amount of adversity to reel off a four-game streak when the postseason looked like a hopeless pipe dream. He nearly didn't beat the Tulane Green Wave, but the Rice Owls won by just two points.
He will finish college as a successful quarterback with a degree in sports management. He has on-field experience overcoming setbacks, both self-induced and otherwise. He will be ready to take on a little responsibility as soon as he's got his papers.
Whether he signs on as a graduate assistant or pursues a career as a full-fledged apprentice, he'll make a great coach when the time comes.
Tanner Price, Wake Forest Demon Deacons
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Tanner Price is the signal-caller for the Wake Forest Demon Deacons, and he was named to the Academic All-ACC Team for the second year in a row in 2012.
As an aspiring NFL player, he has some work to do before he will get drafted, but his work ethic and mindset could land him a shot as a free agent.
Ultimately, he's already got the mentality of a winner. He knows the mindset that's needed to come home with wins, and he knows from experience what needs to be done physically to compete with the top teams in his conference.
Whether Wake Forest can band together and do that in 2013 is another question, but Price certainly has a winning attitude. He's already set records at Wake Forest, and he has a season left to raise the bar higher before he leaves.
He has the intelligence, experience and attitude to be a great coach. With his degree (and a minor in entrepreneurship and social enterprise), he may not take an interest in coaching. If he does, you can bet that Wake will take an interest in him again.
Cyril Richardson, Baylor Bears
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Cyril Richardson is a great offensive lineman for the Baylor Bears. Through the past few years of unprecedented Baylor success, Richardson has been in the trenches helping make every bit of it possible.
Richardson's work ethic has led him to bench the most weight of anyone on the team, and his 2011 offensive line blocked for a crew that ranked nationally in the top 10 of all four major categories (rushing, passing, scoring and total offense).
Richardson was selected to the second string of the AP All-America Team, and he led Baylor to its third bowl in a row. That was a first for the Bears.
Richardson has helped Baylor see success that it has never seen before, and he plays one of the most physically and intellectually demanding positions on the field.
With a brain and a work ethic like his, it won't be a surprise to see him as a coach. Of course, with his success, he'll be seeing the NFL first. There is little reason to doubt that.