6 College Football Coaches and Coordinators Poised for Breakout Year in 2014
With spring practice just weeks away, coaching staffs around the country are gearing up for what is sure to be yet another exciting college football season in 2014. With the introduction of the College Football Playoff, the opportunity to win a national title is greater than it has ever been.
This has coaches salivating at the mouth and busting their chops at a potential breakout season in 2014. But some guys are more poised to have that success than others.
Guys like Craig Bohl, the old North Dakota State head coach who took the job at Wyoming, could have the Cowboys out and running. There's also Hugh Freeze at Ole Miss, who's been bringing in highly touted recruiting classes and has the Rebels set to make some noise in the SEC.
Checkout those two coaches and four other coaches and coordinators around the country that are ready to take the college football landscape by storm in 2014.
Craig Bohl, Wyoming
Craig Bohl, fresh off an 11-year tenure at FCS powerhouse North Dakota State that saw the Bison win three straight national titles, is now the head coach of the Wyoming Cowboys.
And he's poised to hit the ground running at his new FBS gig.
Wyoming has played in a bowl game in just three of the last 10 seasons, but Bohl is a tremendous coach who knows how to recruit the right players into his system.
According to a Sports Illustrated report, Bohl signed 22 prospects to the Cowboys on national signing day, three of them quarterbacks. This is after he opted to stay with NDSU through its championship run, which prevented him from recruiting for the Cowboys.
It may take a few years for Wyoming to become a powerhouse in the Mountain West, but 2014 could see some significant steps taken by the Cowboys, and that should include a bowl berth.
Brent Venables, Clemson
The talk around Death Valley is how Clemson will replace quarterback Tajh Boyd and wideout Sammy Watkins.
But defense coordinator Brent Venables may be poised to have his best season yet for the Tigers.
With defensive lineman Vic Beasley returning to the Tigers for his senior year, Venables will have a senior class that includes Beasley, linebacker Stephone Anthony and defensive end Corey Crawford.
This recruiting class ranked eighth nationally in 2011, according to Rivals. Last season, the Tigers ranked No. 23 nationally in total defense. So this year could see the Tigers have one of the most dominating defenses in the entire nation.
Doug Nussmeier, Michigan
While Doug Nussmeier was the offensive coordinator at Alabama, it was hard for him to escape the huge shadow that Nick Saban casts.
But now Nussmeier is under the bright lights at Michigan as he's been tabbed to repair Michigan's sputtering offense.
His first order of business is to settle the growingly intriguing quarterback battle between Devin Gardner and rising sophomore Shane Morris, who started in place of the injured Gardner in Michigan's loss to Kansas State in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl.
There's no doubt that Nussmeier knows how to put together productive offenses. He was the architect of the offense that turned A.J. McCarron into a Heisman Trophy finalist.
So with the athletes that Michigan routinely gets in recruiting, you have to think that Nussmeier just needs to implement his system in order to salvage Michigan's offensive woes.
Josh Henson, Missouri
The Missouri Tigers are fresh off a renaissance season that saw them play in the Cotton Bowl as well as the SEC Championship game, and plenty of that success had to do with the success of running back Henry Josey, quarterback James Franklin and the Mizzou offense.
Now Franklin is gone. But thanks to Maty Mauk, who started midway through the season when Franklin went down with an injury, offensive coordinator Josh Henson has the perfect replacement to groom into an elite-level SEC signal-caller.
Henson, a former offensive line coach and recruiting coordinator at LSU, has plenty of experience in developing on-field talent. So don't expect the Tigers to skip a beat with a new quarterback in 2014.
Should Mauk turn into the type of quarterback he's capable of being in 2014, Henson could emerge as a potential head coaching candidate for open positions next offseason.
Hugh Freeze, Ole Miss
Since Hugh Freeze was introduced as the head coach at Ole Miss after the 2011 season, he's developed a reputation as one of the best recruiters in the country.
According to 247sports, his 2013 class ranked eighth in the country and his worst ranking was his first class in 2012, which ranked 46th. His 2014 class ranks 15th.
So now that the Rebels are starting to become full of mostly Freeze's players, the full effect of his recruiting will start to be felt. And that's great for Ole Miss fans.
The Rebels had one of the toughest schedules in a brutal SEC last season, with back-to-back road games against Alabama and Auburn, as well as matchups against Texas A&M, LSU and Missouri. But the Rebels still finished a respectable 7-5 in the regular season and won the Music City Bowl over Georgia Tech.
Ole Miss is clearly a program on the rise and Freeze should expect the Rebels to break through the ceiling and emerge as a top four team in the SEC in 2014.
Del Miller, Kansas State
Kansas State had a rough start to its 2013 season, with a loss to FCS North Dakota State followed by an 0-3 start in Big 12 play. But the Wildcats finished the season on a 6-1 tear, including a thumping of Michigan in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl.
A lot of K-State's impressive run down the stretch had to do with the development of quarterback Jake Waters—thanks to co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Del Miller.
Waters took a hold of the starting job over backup Daniel Sams as the season went on, finishing the season with a seven-game streak of a quarterback rating of over 133.
Now with another full offseason to work with Waters and with star wideout Tyler Lockett returning as well, Miller has plenty of weapons to make the Wildcats a contender yet again for the Big 12 title.