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The Athletic: Breaking down the SEC coaches

Posted on: March 31, 2021 at 09:55:19 CT
TXStiger MU
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22.15 yrs
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They discuss SEC guys on the national list top open the story & then ask which if the new SEC hires has the best shot of being on the national list this time next year. Here’s the first paragraph & then the Mizzou-specific section:

The choices at the top seem obvious, and the next two coaches in line were the same as well, but there are plenty of different choices in the top 25 coaching rankings from Stewart Mandel and Bruce Feldman. To break it down, we asked four of our SEC beat writers, Seth Emerson (Georgia), Aaron Suttles (Alabama), Allan Taylor (Florida) and Brody Miller (LSU), to share their thoughts.

Of last year’s hires (Kiffin at Ole Miss, Eliah Drinkwitz at Missouri, Mike Leach at Mississippi State and Sam Pittman at Arkansas), who has the highest upside and why? Who has the lowest? And why?

Suttles: This is the toughest question on the board. I’m almost dead split between Drink and Kiff. Pittman is nipping at their heels as well. I’m going with Kiffin because of his proximity to talent. Kiffin can still field competitive teams recruiting mainly the state of Mississippi. Drinkwitz can’t say the same. I saw up close how fun Kiffin’s offenses can be. He was the Alabama offensive coordinator for three seasons, and he gave Alabama fits last season. The Leach era in Starkville is sure to be wild, filled with an unexpected win or two but not enough consistent success to move the needle comparatively. Pittman is the wild card here. He really impressed me last season. The record wasn’t great, and the four-game losing streak to end the season soured things. But three of the seven losses came by … three points (or fewer). He had the Hogs more competitive than I thought. If Kiffin is able to keep good coaches around him, he’s the answer here.

Miller: Kiffin has sky-high ceilings anywhere he goes, mixed with some brutal floors as we’ve seen from some prior stops. If we’re going off the most literal definition of upside, I pick him at Ole Miss for sure. But realistically, those possible lows need to be baked in. Meanwhile, Drinkwitz really wowed me in 2020. He seems like the kind of mind that’s going to get the most out of teams for a long time, and I’m fascinated to see what kind of program builder he is. In a vacuum as an athletic director, I’d put my money into Drinkwitz over Kiffin.

But like Aaron put well, Kiffin has better resources and talent at his disposal. Shoot, maybe I pick Drinkwitz overall at another school within the next few years. I’m sure he’ll get some chances. At their current schools, however, I’ll go with Kiffin. We’ve seen Ole Miss put itself right at the top of the SEC at times in the Hugh Freeze era. Missouri is just a more uphill climb.

Taylor: I can’t fathom any of these schools competing for national titles, yet Arkansas, Mizzou and Ole Miss each had AP top-10 finishes within the past decade and MSU closed at No. 11 in 2014. So when circumstances align with the right coach, player development and team chemistry, the upside for a special season is double-digit wins.

Kiffin can recruit an elite QB, Leach makes a no-name QB look elite, and Drinkwitz, the youngest of the group at age 37, might end up with the most career wins. But something about Arkansas being the only program in a passionate football state makes me lean toward Pittman. The Hogs can recruit Texas, Louisiana and west Tennessee — heck, Pittman has shown he can recruit anywhere — and I envision the 59-year-old coach retiring at Arkansas someday after lifting the program out of the doldrums.

Emerson: Dare I say all four seem like really good hires at this point? Unlike in the previous question, where neither of the four new hires seems like a home run hire. Or even a double.

Kiffin has the most upside because of his playcalling and recruiting abilities. He just needs to show he can consistently get out of his own way, and I don’t know if he’s capable of that. Leach also brings the offense and the personality quirks, but he’s the perfect coach for Mississippi State, where some years he’ll win 10 games but probably also have some very down years.

Drinkwitz and Pittman are harder to gauge. Both seemed a bit of a reach when hired but had good first impressions. Can they sustain that? Can they keep both programs respectable and occasionally contend for division titles? It’ll be easier for Drinkwitz in the short term because the SEC East is in shambles. Pittman is in the harder division but has more resources. Both coaches make you want to root for them, but ask me again this time next year.

Obviously a pay site but good (long!) column if you’re interested:

Nick Saban and … ? Kirby Smart, Dan Mullen, Ed Orgeron, Jimbo Fisher: Breaking down the SEC coaches

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The Athletic: Breaking down the SEC coaches - TXStiger MU - 3/31 09:55:19
     RE: The Athletic: Breaking down the SEC coaches - Ragarm MU - 3/31 16:22:02
          agree largely - AR will struggle to get to 7 wins IMO nm - Gamagrass MU - 4/2 17:09:35
          Could say the same for OM & MSU about the West - hogfan14 UA - 4/1 13:13:58
               doubt MSU will be much good this year - struggle to 6 wins - Gamagrass MU - 4/2 17:11:12
     Tougher job---Ole Miss or Mizzou? - Tigerfish MU - 3/31 10:37:13
          SEC West > SEC East - Roberts MU - 3/31 12:32:17
          Those writers are stuck in the 60's on Ole Miss - samclemens MU - 3/31 11:16:52
               No, they are stuck with Freize beating Bama - MoGold MU - 3/31 11:27:02
          Yeah that was written like Ol Miss is a perennial player - Diamond Dave MU - 3/31 10:39:32
               Much more talent in MS - JayHoaxH8r MU - 3/31 11:03:09
                    I disagree with this; MO has more talent that Mississippi - Gamagrass MU - 4/2 17:16:53
                         2021 Comparison - alwaysright MU - 4/2 20:35:27
                    Yes, but they have direct competition for the talent - MoGold MU - 3/31 11:29:31
                         Kiffins offense is pretty good - JayHoaxH8r MU - 3/31 12:25:16
                    RE: Much more talent in MS - sarasotatiger MU - 3/31 11:08:04
                         RE: Much more talent in MS - JayHoaxH8r MU - 3/31 12:24:49
                         Northwestern - DollarSigns MU - 3/31 11:14:57
     Good insights on all of them. Thanks (nm) - samclemens MU - 3/31 10:29:53
     Thanks for posting - eatatjoes MU - 3/31 10:22:37

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