One thing I factor into my projections when I compose my SEC preseason prediction post in August is staff turnover. The odds are, at least in my judgment, that new head coaches and coordinators are going to have their teams progressing through a learning curve that at best will have a steep arc en route to a high plateau and at worst will never really climb at all. By and large, though, you have to figure that somewhat rocky times are ahead in the short run as systems have to be learned and players have to buy into the changes.
This all passed through my head reading this AP piece about the five (!) new head coaches in the conference. Moreover, some of these programs, like Arkansas and Florida, are making dramatic changes in coaching philosophies from the prior staffs. Add to that coordinator changes at Alabama, LSU, Missouri, South Carolina and Vanderbilt (apologies if I’ve left somebody out) and you’ve got a lot of uncertainty being introduced into the system.
No doubt some programs will handle these changeovers better than others — don’t cry for me, Tuscaloosa — but you have to figure some won’t fare so well. Is SOD, who’s never been an offensive coordinator before, going to transition Missouri’s offense successfully? Is Will Muschamp really prepared to live with the consequences of a hurry-up offense run by another rookie coordinator? Does Orgeron have a clue what he wants offensively? Does Chad Morris have the personnel left over from Bert’s regime to run his kind of offense? How about Dan Mullen?
If you had to bet on programs to succeed sooner than later with their new coaches, which would you pick?