The 2023 college football season will introduce a number of new football coaches at new spots as schools look to improve upon their recent struggles.
With the current realignment in college football, some coaches will not only be tasked with guiding their new schools back to relevancy, but also doing so in a new conference. Some coaches are in great new spots and set up for success right away, but these five coaches may have trouble in their first year at their new programs.
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Matt Rhule, Nebraska
Despite his failure at the professional level with the Carolina Panthers, Rhule is a great hire for the Cornhuskers, having turned around both Temple and Baylor. Rhule is heading into another tough situation in Nebraska, which has continued to fall to the bottom of the Big Ten and is coming off its sixth straight losing season.
Hugh Freeze, Auburn
Freeze returns to the SEC after helping lead Liberty to four seasons of success following his departure from Ole Miss. This time, he’ll hope to do it without controversy after a string of NCAA violations at Ole Miss. Though Freeze has knowledge of the SEC and its recruiting, Auburn brings high expectations and a rivalry with Alabama that could make the job a stressful one.
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Kenny Dillingham, Arizona State
Although Dillingham attended ASU and spent time as an offensive coordinator at multiple spots, he returns as head coach of a Sun Devils team that is marred with issues. Dillingham is joining a program that is still awaiting word on its punishment for recruiting violations, while a boost in recruiting will be needed as well as the Sun Devils plan to join the Big 12 in 2024.
Troy Taylor, Stanford
Taylor joins Stanford after leading Sacramento State to an undefeated regular season. Though he has a background in the West and a successful offensive background, Stanford brings a different toughness to the job. Stanford still has strong expectations for success, but Taylor will have to rebuild the Cardinal’s roster with the added academic requirements as well.
Zach Arnett, Mississippi State
Arnett is taking over as head coach after the passing of Mike Leach, and despite working as a defensive coordinator under Leach for three years, his job still comes with many expectations. Arnett is making his head coaching debut and already moving away from the Air Raid offense, a decision that resulted in a number of players leaving the program. Arnett will now be tasked with replacing those players and scheme while continuing to win in the nation’s toughest conference, which will be a big ask.
There are many new coaches at new schools in 2023, and though a quick turnaround is typically hard to come by, expectations are always high when a new leader is brought in. These coaches have a tall order in their new positions, and whether they live up to the task remains to be seen, but don’t forget to make your college football predictions before the season kicks off in a few weeks.