Today’s #DailyDose: Who was the most underrated coordinator hire off the off season?
Scott’s choice (@FootballScoop): Nebraska offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf
When Danny Langsdorf was at Oregon State with Mike Riley the two combined to create offensive game plans that few seemed to be able to defend. With a team of often unheralded stars, in a conference like the Pac-12 where they were often outmatched – at least on paper – Langsdorf and Riley scored points on top of points. Langsdorf went to the league to tutor Eli Manning for a year and Riley’s offense didn’t have the same success. As soon as Riley was hired, I thought to myself, if he can bring Danny back, Nebraska’s offense will be just fine.
Doug’s choice (@CoachSamz): Michigan State co-defensive coordinators Harlon Barnett and Mike Tressel
When Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi left for the head coaching job at Pitt, there was little doubt that he wanted to bring Harlon Barnett and Mike Tressel along with him to the Steel City, but Mark Dantonio had other plans. Dantonio may have lost the key architect behind the Spartans’ dominating defense, but by giving Tressel and Barnett a much deserved promotion (they’ve both spent all eight years in East Lansing with Dantonio) the Spartans are in great position to continue their defensive success.
Barnett is well known for the “No Fly Zone” moniker of his secondary, which has produced two corners picked in the top 24 spots in the last two NFL Drafts, and Tressel is well known for his attention to detail and knack for churning out All-Big Ten linebackers. Now the two will work together to pick up where Narduzzi left off, and continue to build.
It’s easy for a lot of people to overlook promotions like these because they aren’t necessarily “splashes,” but I believe it was among the best moves of the off season around college football.
I also considered Oklahoma’s hire of offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley from East Carolina.
Zach’s choice (@Zach_Barnett): Missouri defensive coordinator Barry Odom
This answer is so easy it actually feels like cheating because everything Gary Pinkel does somehow gets overlooked. One of Pinkel’s greatest strengths as a head coach is the continuity he’s fostered among his staff, which that was threatened – slightly – after longtime lieutenant Dave Steckel took the head job at Missouri State. No matter, Pinkel just grabbed Barry Odom away from Memphis.
In his first coordinator stint, all Odom did was transform a unit that ranked 105th nationally in scoring defense a year prior to his arrival into a group that placed 11th in the country and helped the Tigers post a 10-win season while claiming a share of the American Athletic Conference championship. As for continuity? Odom spent nine seasons on Pinkel’s staff before taking the Memphis job and prior to that spent two years as a Missouri high school football coach.
It was a perfect hire, and we should expect nothing less from Pinkel.