Hello again, all! After what has been a pretty busy last semester for me, I’m hoping to be back writing a good bit more for the website, and I wanted to come back with something that I absolutely love writing about: SPECULATION!!! Yay!!
In case you didn’t hear, the Georgia State Panthers dismissed head coach Trent Miles earlier this season, following his 2-8 start. He finished with a 9-38 record, which was highlighted by his 2015 season, where the Panthers finished fourth in the Sun Belt with a 6-7 (5-3 Sun Belt) record, which featured a victory over the Georgia Southern Eagles and the program’s first ever bowl game appearance.
Unfortunately for Miles, that’s really the only good season that the Panthers had under his coaching.
Next year is going to be a big year for the Panthers as they will be (at the very least be beginning to) move to their new home at Turner Field. And just as the Braves are building for that first year in the new ballpark, I think the Panthers want to have a similar plan, though the timetable isn’t quite as large. But that is why this coaching choice is so important. It could be the perfect opportunity for the Panthers to finally show some of the potential that they have in the recruiting hotbed of metro-Atlanta.
So now that I have said all of that, what the heck does that have to do with Georgia Tech? Well, similar to what Kennesaw State did once their football program was started, I could very well see the Panthers keeping their search for a new head coach inside the state of Georgia. There has been some speculation that Georgia Defensive Coordinator Mel Tucker could be a potential option for the Panthers, and that got me thinking, “Is there anyone on Tech’s coaching staff that could be an option?” Let’s take a look at just what Tech’s coaching staff has to offer.
Ted Roof - Defensive Coordinator
Out of the coaches on this list, I think Roof is the only one who could be considered a “safe” hire, and I think even that would be a bit of a stretch. Roof is a Georgia Tech alum with a good bit of coaching experience under his belt, though mostly as a coordinator. He did have a brief stint as the head coach at Duke from 2004-2007, but that was mostly a disaster.
So why would he be a good choice for the Panthers? Well, for one, he does have experience as a head coach. If the Panthers were to hire him, I think they would be similar to what many saw Bill Curry as when he was coaching the Panthers: someone to guide them through the transition. Curry was the first ever football coach for the Panthers and stayed until the Panthers made the transition to FBS and Trent Miles was hired.
Roof could also bring in some much-needed recruiting help to the Panthers. As I mentioned above, the Panthers are in metro-Atlanta which is a recruiting hotbed. Roof already has plenty of connections to high schools in the area, which we have seen the fruit of in recent years.
Overall, I don’t really see this as a very likely possibility. For starter’s, I really don’t think Roof would take the job, even if the Panthers offered it to him. I personally believe he’s very invested in his job at Tech and wants to stay here as long as he can. I feel like he also believes he may be a candidate to replace Paul Johnson, were he to retire soon.
Looking at it from Georgia State’s side, this hire wouldn’t really make sense either, as they’ve done the whole “let’s hire someone to guide the transition” thing before, and it didn’t work out very well.
Mike Sewak - Offensive Line Coach
And here we have the only other option on Tech’s coaching staff that could be considered a “safe” option, though I think Sewak would actually be a better option for the Panthers than Roof would be. Unlike Roof, Sewak’s experience as a head coach actually came with a very good bit of success.
Sewak spent 2002-2005 as the head coach of the Georgia Southern Eagles, where he was the successor to our very own Paul Johnson. Sewak finshed with a 35-14 record with the Eagles, but what led to his firing was lack of postseason success and a falling out with Erk Russell.
The Panthers would also get the famed option offense brought to the Sun Belt, where I could see it being pretty successful once they get the right personnel in. Sewak has been alongside Paul Johnson for a long time, and no doubt has picked up quite a few pointers on how to run the offense effectively. Having the talent he could draw in at State, Sewak could turn the Panthers into a very effective team.
I don’t really see Sewak as much of a possibility for State’s head coaching position, though I could definitely see him hired on as the offensive coordinator there, if it came with a pay raise. The main reason for that is that recently, he just hasn’t been as good of a coach as he has in the past, so I feel like his stock has dropped. He definitely performed better this year, as opposed to last, but I still don’t see the Panthers pulling the trigger.
Likelihood - 3/10
Tevin Washington - Graduate Assistant
This is a complete wildcard, and there is no reason at all to believe that Tevin Washington will be the next head coach of the Georgia State Panthers. He’s definitely a guy with a bright coaching career ahead of him, though, and I could see the Panthers giving him a shot to work with quarterbacks or running backs.
Likelihood - 0.0000000000000001/10
Lamar Owens - Slot Backs Coach/Special Teams Coordinator
This was a bit of an interesting choice to me. Owens is definitely one of the younger guys on staff, but it seems like he’s proven himself quite a bit as a coach in his time here at Tech, where he has been coaching A-backs for seven of the nine years he has been here.
Owens has always been a good developer with the A-backs. Under his tutelage, we saw Robbie Godhigh into one of the better players in the Paul Johnson era at Georgia Tech. With the exception of the anomaly of last year, Owens’ A-backs have always been a highlight of the team. And even last season, we were able to see the emergence of Clinton Lynch, who went from a good player to a great one this season.
His best year as a coach, though, would definitely have to be the 2014 group of A-backs, which featured seniors BJ Bostic, Deon Hill, Charles Perkins and Tony Zenon. The group as a whole combined for 2,100 yards and 14 touchdowns that season.
This season, Owens had the title of Special Teams Coordinator added, and while it’s possible that it may just be a nominal title, I believe that he has definitely had a hand in the improved special teams play we saw this season.
Owens is a good, bright, young coach that the Panthers could be willing to take a shot on. He has definitely proved that he is capable of developing talent, and right now, I think that’s what the Panthers really need. Like others on this list, Owens also has plenty of connections to high schools around the area and has the potential to bring in some overlooked talent.
Likelihood - 5/10
Bryan Cook - QB/BB Coach
Just like how Kennesaw State took former QB/BB coach Brian Bohannon a couple years ago, I see QB/BB coach Bryan Cook as the likeliest possibility of the Georgia Tech staff to head over to the Panthers.
In Cook’s first season on the Flats, we saw the emergence of some guy named Justin Thomas. Maybe you’ve heard of him? In that same season, we also saw the dynamic duo of Zach Laskey and Synjyn Days at B-back.
While last year was a bit of an anomaly, Cook seemed to get both groups back on track this season. Thomas looked more and more like his 2014 self with each passing game, and the combination of Marcus Marshall and Dedrick Mills proved to be merciless.
Cook, like Owens, is a younger coach with a bright future who could do a lot of good at Georgia State. Like most of the coaches on this list, I think he would bring over some variant of Paul Johnson’s offense, though it might look a little closer to what he ran at Cal-Poly back when he was the co-offensive coordinator.
Likelihood - 7/10
While I don’t think it’s very likely at all that Georgia State’s next head coach will come from Georgia Tech’s staff, I think the Panthers will at the very least entertain the idea of doing it, and hoping for the success Kennesaw State had with it. As it is with this crazy time of year, though, a lot of rumors and speculation will come forth, which always makes it a fun time of year.
Who from this list do you think Georgia State would pick to be the head coach?