Coaches to Watch this fall Part 1: The A List
Since everyone has Spaz on the Hotseat List, now is as good a time as any to look at future BC head coaching candidates. Unlike our past profile series, the timing and style on these posts will be a little different. Instead of being weeks or days away from a potential change, we have the benefit of a whole season to evaluate these guys. Some stocks will rise, while others will fall and it will make our usual scoreboard watching that much more interesting.
The first series of names are guys BC should call regardless of what happens in 2012. This is the A List. They are all high-profile and could probably wait on bigger or better job. But there is a chance that this season could make BC seem that much more appealing in December.
Head Coach, Mississippi State
If you were to make a list of all the attributes you would want in a BC coach, Mullen has them. Major college head coaching experience, innovative offense, fiery personality, local ties, experience working at a school that takes academics seriously, aggressive recruiter, youth and a winning record are all there on paper. The challenge with approaching Mullen is that he doesn't need BC right now. He's got an SEC job. He's getting paid well (more than BC pays Spaz) and he can probably wait on a bigger better job than BC or Mississippi State.
What to watch in 2012: Potential losing. Mullen's name has floated for enough jobs in the past few years that you know he or his agent has a wandering eye. He knows that Mississippi State is not a destination job. No one wants to battle LSU, Alabama and Auburn just to win the division. If the Bulldogs stumble a bit this year -- say 5-7 -- Mullen is not going to be a hot name for the big jobs. However, we would still be interested. BC could offer him a few years security, a chance to rebuild again and do it without having to buy off the next Cam Newton. Mullen's mentor Urban Meyer has shown that he likes the climb to greatness better than trying to maintain it. Maybe Mullen is of the same mold. And maybe BC will offer that chance at the right time. It's a long, long shot, but BC has to make that call.
Head Coach, Air Force
Calhoun shares many of the same qualities we would desire in Mullen, only with a slightly longer track record and with the added benefit of NFL experience. The big difference from Mullen -- who is from New Hampshire -- is that Calhoun has no local ties. Plus he's coaching at his Alma Mater! If this guy is going to leave his school, why would it be for the BC job? It's a long shot that he would end up at BC, but there are some things in our favor. Calhoun wanted the job when Jags got it and BC never even called him. He wants a shot at a big conference job, but without putting up with the nonsense that might go into most BCS programs. He's worked at Wake Forest, so he knows it can be done in the ACC and done the right way.
What to watch in 2012: What other schools have interest. Calhoun's enough of a name that he should appear on most teams' short lists. Oregon State will come calling. I could see Cal being interested too. BC's hope would be catching him at the right time with the right pitch. Another season above .500 isn't going to make him unattainable to BC, but it will make him seem like a solid hire to all the programs that have money and openings.
Pete Carmichael, Jr.
Offensive Coordinator, New Orleans Saints
Right now he's probably the most popular name among the speculators. Even if you ignore the lack of head coaching experience, his minimal time in college, or the questions surrounding how much of his success is tied to Payton and Brees, if BC were to land a young, Super Bowl winning offensive coordinator -- who happens to be a BC grad -- as our next coach, most parties would find the result more than satisfactory. When it appeared that Carmichael would serve as the Saints Interim Head Coach, I thought that the new position would prevent him from being a BC candidate in 2012. Like all things with the Saints and the NFL, the situation remains complicated, but I don't think we can rule out a return to the Heights.
What to watch in 2012: How Carmichael handles himself calling the plays. There is enormous pressure on him this year. If the Saints don't miss a beat, everyone in football will want him. If they struggle, he might be one of the scapegoats. For him to end up at BC and not being damaged goods, I think we have to hope for the Saints to miss the playoffs but not due to the offense. Things are enough of a circus that they could easily go 7-9 while still being one of the top 10 offenses in football. And if that happens, maybe the idea of being a head coach for the first time at a place he knows will be an appealing escape from New Orleans.
Offensive Coordinator, San Francisco 49ers
Roman was already being talked about as a good fit even before Bruce Feldman dropped his name as a potential Spaz replacement. Gossip says that he wants to return to college, return to the northeast and coach at a program "where things are done the right way." How much of that is true is anyone's guess, but his mix of recent college success and NFL credibility are very appealing. If he wants to be a college coach, he will get a shot soon.
What to watch in 2012: How his profile rises among NFL teams. The 49ers surprised everybody last year. The defense carried the team, but Roman's rehab project on Alex Smith was equally impressive. If Smith improves this year, Roman will be a very popular name on NFL short lists. Timing will be a factor again. If BC makes a move, we will still be hiring before most NFL teams. We will have a chance to talk to Roman before he even knows his NFL options. If he really wants a college job, BC should make the call.