Each offseason brings change to coaching staffs around college football as either successful coaches leave for bigger and better jobs or guys that (according to fans don’t know what they are doing. Just ask they guy in your section that knows everything) didn’t cut it get run off. Part one looks at three SEC hires that have caught the eye of the folks here at LOHD.
Hugh Freeze, Head Coach Ole Miss: The former High School coach has Ole Miss playing hard. Clearly there is a talent deficit in Oxford right now, but Freeze has the rebel black bears competing hard and that is a testament to his ability to get guys to buy in. Texas and Alabama have had their way with the first year head coach, but a bowl bid is in reach if Ole Miss can take care of business against Vandy and Arkansas and find a way to win one of A&M, Auburn, LSU, Georgia, and Mississippi State.
Lorenzo Ward, Defensive Coordinator South Carolina. Ellis Johnson’s defenses bailed water for many years at South Carolina while Steve Spurrier tried to get South Carolina’s offense on track. Southern Miss gave Johnson another shot at head coaching and Spurrier tapped Lorenzo Ward to run the Gamecock defense for the Capital One bowl and Wards efforts were rewarded with the full time job. Carolina returned proven play makers in Devin Taylor, Jadaveon Clowney, DJ Swearinger, and Devonte Holloman but Ward is due credit for getting the Gamecocks ready to play. Motivation and focus are as much a part of the job as scheme and blitz packages.
Brent Pease, Offensive coordinator Florida. The day Charlie Weis left for the Kansas job may well be the turning point in Will Muschamp's tenure at Florida. Weis was never popular with the players and by some accounts did not mesh with the current staff. Muschamp brought in Brent Pease from Boise State and after an underwhelming opener the Florida offense has gotten better each game. Quarterback has turned from a question mark into an asset. Driskel has thrown for 700 yards and is completing 69.6% of his passes and shown ability to get out of trouble and make plays with his legs. Pease has been able to find roles for players on the roster (Solomon Patton on the end around) that has most guys buying in. Florida should be very good in 2013.
Bryant Roberts is a life long SEC fan, has 2 autographed pictures of Steve Spurrier, is addicted to BBQ, and a graduate of Presbyterian College. Follow him on twitter here.
Get more great South Carolina sports analysis over at Leftover Hot Dog.