Coaches on the Rise, Part 2

As I was watching the historically inept performance of the Pitt Panthers (6 fumbles in 5 minutes), this Saturday and realized that the roller coaster of Pitt just has taken too much of a toll on me and probably others, it hit me…I started focusing on assistant coaches on the rise because I am dreaming that one day Pitt would decide to make football a priority like it did for basketball years ago.
Last week I focused on a few head coaches on the rise and offensive coordinators and this week the defensive coordinators get their shot. A common theme for the several of the listed coaches are the big time salaries that they collect which ultimately may just keep them at their current locations until the head coaching position opens.
Kirby Smart, defensive coordinator, Alabama Crimson Tide: any list of defensive coordinators must start with Smart, who is in his seventh season at Alabama. He is the mastermind behind the defenses that have dominated not only the SEC but all of the college football. Smart is just waiting for the perfect job whether its if and when Nick Saban steps down or some other prize job.
Jeremy Pruitt, defensive coordinator, Georgia Bulldogs: Pruitt has been in coaching for only seven years but his star is definitely shining. He started as a support staffer at Alabama, moved up to defensive coordinator for a year, then spent once season as Florida State’s defensive coordinator where they won the national championship and now is at Georgia. The Bulldog fans better not get used to Pruitt staying put, buy enjoy watching his players run through the hedges for him. He will be a head coaching within the next couple years no question about that.
John Chavis, defensive coordinator, LSU Tigers: At the ripe age of 57 years old, Chavis’ head coaching window is at a crack but I think that his talent is unquestioned as he was the coordinator when LSU was top’s in the nation from 2010=2012 in defensive stats. His defenses are always good is the easiest way to phrase it. I don’t think Chavis would leave Baton Rouge for a mid major school but a Big 5 Conference team may get the steal of a lifetime.
Bud Foster, defensive coordinator, Virginia Tech Hokies: Foster has been the coordinator for 19 years and his chance at being a head coach may be fast closing, but I still think that Foster would be a fantastic head coaching bringing his schemes, recruiting prowess and dynamic defenses. Again, Foster like Smart might just be waiting for the head coach, Frank Beamer to step down.
Brent Venables, defensive coordinator, Clemson Tigers: The Tiger offense gets most of the accolades, but the defense is what keeps them going when especially injuries hit the Tigers like this year. Venables has the mind to be able to rebuild a defense or enhance an already stout defense. He is capable of adapting and adjusting which is the hallmark of a great coach.
Pat Narduzzi, defensive coordinator, Michigan State: Narduzzi was named the top assistant last year as his Spartan defense was ranked number I in the Big ten for the third consecutive season. His defenses make the opponents running game obsolete. He received interest from Texas A&M in 2011 as well as some interest from Texas and Penn State last year. I expect Narduzzi to be the top man on the sideline of a MAC school next year if he feels like leaving his big ever increasing salary.
Dave Aranda, defensive coordinator, Wisconsin Badgers: Aranda joined the Badgers staff last year and made an immediate impact as his squad was in the top 10 in the NCAA in scoring defense, total defense and rush defense. His schemes make it easy for his defense to dictate the plays to the offense rather than the other way around. He has been successful in Utah State and Hawaii so he is climbing the ladder and succeeding wherever he goes.
That is the list of defensive coordinators and wow is it impressive from top to bottom and there are still may others making their names on defense as well as offense. Keep an eye on these names and their teams and what how dynamic they really are.