Our series examining coaches ready to take on more responsibility — at their current school or somewhere else — rolls on to the Big 12.
As always, this list is presented in no particular order and is not comprehensive.
Sonny Cumbie, TCU co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach: In a game that so often boils down to the play of the quarterback position, Cumbie has a good a half-decade run as anyone. He turned Trevone Boykin into a Heisman Trophy candidate in 2014 and has now harnessed Kenny Hill’s talents into leading a Big 12 championship-caliber quarterback.
Sonny Dykes, TCU offensive analyst/consultant: This is to primarily serve as a reminder that an accomplished head coach is a free agent ready to help someone get better on offense immediately.
Tony Gibson, West Virginia associate head coach/defensive coordinator/linebackers coach: Gibson stabilized things during a touch-and-go time in Dana Holgorsen’s tenure. Gibson’s defenses play with a physicality other programs would be wise to emulate.
Collin Klein, Kansas State quarterbacks coach: A former All-Big 12 quarterback for K-State, Klein began his career as a defensive GA for his alma mater, spent a year coaching quarterbacks for Northern Iowa and then returned to Manhattan in the same capacity. At just 28, Klein will be a name to watch in this business in the years to come.
Curtis Luper, TCU co-offensive coordinator/running backs coach: Luper is one of the most accomplished assistants in the game today. He was a member of Mike Gundy’s original staff at Oklahoma State and helped Auburn win a national championship in 2010 before joining TCU’s staff in 2013. (Luper also owns experience as a recruiting coordinator and special teams coordinator.) Luper was a strong candidate for the UTSA head job and will draw interest as a head coach this offseason.
Tom Manning, Iowa State offensive coordinator/offensive line coach: In many ways, Manning is the epitome of what this entire series is about. Selected by his peers as the FootballScoop Offensive Line Coach of the Year in 2015, Matt Campbell gave him more responsibility upon moving to Ames and Manning has rewarded that faith with an offense that put up 38 points in a win at Oklahoma.
Todd Orlando, Texas defensive coordinator/linebackers coach: There’s no defending the Maryland debacle, but Texas has put together a defense that allows 16.7 points per game (second in the Big 12), 4.99 yards per play (3rd), 2.54 yards per rush (2nd) and 2.57 sacks per game (2nd). Orlando wins the Big 12’s honor as this league’s Brent Venables — both in being the conference’s best defensive coordinator and its assistant most likely to become a head coach.
Dennis Simmons, Oklahoma outside receivers coach: Simmons played linebacker at BYU but made his name in coaching embedding himself in the Air Raid coaching school. Simmons worked with Lincoln Riley at Texas Tech and East Carolina — with a stop at Washington State in between — before OU, and his list of all-conference wideouts can match anyone in the game. Guys who can coach the Air Raid are rarely well-kept secrets in this business, but Simmons is.
Zac Spavital, Texas Tech linebackers coach/recruiting coordinator: Spavital has thrived professionally as a defensive coach in two of the most difficult conferences to coach defense — the American and the Big 12. The Red Raiders’ share the Big 12 lead with 17 takeaways.
Mike Siravo, Baylor linebackers coach/recruiting coordinator: Selected by his peers as the FootballScoop Linebackers Coach of the Year last season, Siravo turned Tyler Matakevich into the best linebacker in college football last season. Siravo has served as Matt Rhule’s recruiting coordinator at Temple and Baylor, where he helped pull together a recruiting class that had all of one commitment upon the new staff’s arrival in Waco. With experience at Temple, Columbia and Boston College, Siravo would be a natural defensive coordinator choice for any school in the Northeast.
Mike Yurcich, Oklahoma State offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach: Oklahoma State is top four nationally in total offense, yards per play and scoring offense. Mike Gundy on the other Mike this September: “Mike is as good as anybody that I’ve had. I know a lot of people might debate that or whatever. I have no reason to tell you anything other than he’s really good. He deserves everything he gets. He’s a hard worker. He’s loyal. Dealing with me on offense is not fun, and I’m wrong a lot. He just says ‘Yes, sir’ and goes on down the road, then does what he wants to do a little bit later. I cannot say that he’s not a good (head coaching) candidate for somebody.” What other endorsement do you need?