SCOTT: The Revolving Door of Coordinators

It's almost not worth memorizing the current lineup of SEC offensive and defensive coordinators.

It could change next week. Or tomorrow. Or in the next hour.

While there's only one new head coach in the SEC with the hiring of Bobby Petrino at Arkansas (Houston Nutt isn't a new head coach; he just has a new job), SEC programs have hired nine new coordinators over the past two months, and both LSU and Arkansas still had openings for defensive coordinators as they entered the final week of recruiting.

By the time it's all over, eight of the SEC's programs will have at least one new coordinator, while 25 of the coordinator positions (Florida has co-defensive coordinators) in the SEC will be filled by 11 new offensive or defensive coordinators.

SEC East schools have to be enjoying the way the tilt-a-whirl is spinning in the SEC West: Two programs have new head coaches, while every program will have at least one new coordinator and some programs will have two new coordinators (Auburn, Ole Miss and Arkansas).

This is not a perfect timeline – more of a cause-and-effect exercise – so see if you can handle the ride without getting too dizzy:

--Nutt leaves Arkansas the Monday after the Razorbacks' final regular-season game and hires on at Ole Miss. He brings offensive coordinator David Lee with him, but Lee soon leaves for the Miami Dolphins. Nutt does not bring along his defensive coordinator, Reggie Herring, who stays on as the Razorbacks interim coach for the bowl. Herring eventually lands at Texas A&M. Nutt hires South Carolina defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix, who was on the outs with Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier anyway.

--LSU DC Bo Pelini leaves to become the head coach at Nebraska. As of Feb. 3, he has not been replaced.

--Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville takes stock of his offense and fires OC Al Borges. He replaces Borges with Troy OC Tony Franklin, who installs enough of the spread offense in just nine days to help Auburn beat Clemson in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.

--Texas coach Mack Brown takes stock of his own staff, makes some changes, and on Jan. 11 steals DC Will Muschamp from Auburn – just three years after he took DC Gene Chizik off the Auburn staff. One week later, Brown convinces Major Applewhite to leave his job as Alabama's OC and become the running backs and assistant head coach at Texas.

--Tuberville hires Pittsburgh DC Paul Rhoads to run Auburn's defense. Tuberville originally tried to hire Rhoads in 2000, but Rhoads turned him down at the time so he hired Chizik.

--Tennessee OC David Cutcliffe takes the head coaching job at Duke. Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer eventually hires Richmond head coach David Clawson to replace Cutcliffe. Meanwhile, John Chavis is preparing for his 14th season as the Vols' DC. Talk about continuity.

--Petrino takes over Nutt's spot at Arkansas and hires his brother, Paul, to run the offense and convinces veteran defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson to leave Mississippi State for Arkansas.

--Mississippi State's Sylvester Croom wastes little time in promoting safeties coach Charlie Harbison to DC.

--Spurrier replaces Nix with former Georgia DC and Atlanta Falcons linebackers coach Brian VanGorder. Three weeks later, VanGorder returns to the Falcons as defensive coordinator. Spurrier then hires Johnson away from Arkansas and admits he should have hired Johnson in the first place.

--Nutt finally hires an offensive coordinator, bringing in former Rebels' quarterback Kent Austin. Meanwhile, Austin is relieved he will no longer have to spell out "Saskatchewan Roughriders," where he was the head coach.

--Alabama coach Nick Saban hires Fresno State OC Jim McElwain to run the Crimson Tide's offense. Instead of celebrating the new hire, Saban deflects attention away from McElwain and rips into local sportswriters for speculating on who the new OC might be. And for buying the wrong Little Debbie snacks. And causing global warming. And the struggling economy. And ...

As of Feb. 3, Petrino had not hired a new DC.

All of which leaves .... Vanderbilt as having the most stable coaching staff in the SEC, with head coach Bobby Johnson, OC Ted Cain and DC Bruce Fowler all entering their seventh season with the Commodores.

As Dizzy Dean used to say, "Who'd a thunk it?"

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Richard Scott is a Birmingham-based sportswriter, author and Tiger Rag's SEC expert. Reach him at rscottsec@yahoo.com.


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