Half of the SEC will have new defensive coordinators in 2015 as teams and coaches and fans search for ways to slow the crazy fast offenses.
Most eyes will be on Will Muschamp at Auburn, but John Chavis moved from LSU to Texas A&M, Manny Diaz is back at Mississippi State and Derek Mason will be calling the defensive plays at Vanderbilt.
Let’s take a look at the new defensive minds. Here’s an timeline of how the defensive changes happened.
Will Muschamp, Auburn — He’s already been on the job for more than a month, so Muschamp has seen enough to believe Auburn will have a top-10 defense — in the nation — next year. The Tigers were ninth in the SEC in yards and 10th in points allowed, so that kind of improvement will mean Muschamp is earning his salary.
Geoff Collins, Florida — The talent and swagger already is in place at Florida. Collins, who left Mississippi State after leading the Bulldogs through an excellent defensive season in 2014, brings a reputation for being slightly crazy. He’s known as the “Minister of Mayhem” who consumes massive amounts of energy and sugary drinks.
Kevin Steele, LSU — He’s good friends with Chavis, who he’s replacing and who encouraged Steele to interview for the job. He’s considered a strong recruiter and will add some frills to the strong defense that Chavis built at LSU.
Manny Diaz, Mississippi State — He went from a hot name to being dumped at Texas. Now, Diaz is back at Mississippi State, where he’ll miss out on having potential first-round NFL picks LB Benardrick McKinney and DE Preston Smith.
Barry Odom, Missouri — Odom is heading home. He played at Missouri and coached there until heading to Memphis a few years ago. He helped turn around that program as the Tigers went from 117th nationally in total defense before Odom got there in 2012 to 27th this season.
John Chavis, Texas A&M — Reports out of Baton Rouge say Chavis was tired of having his defenses carry LSU while waiting for some offensive spark. “I’m excited to play with a great offense,” he said at his introductory news conference at Texas A&M. If he can add some bite defensively, the Aggies could be tough to beat in 2015.
Derek Mason, Vanderbilt — Mason seems to be excited about calling his own plays after firing David Kotulski in December. That’s what he did at Stanford. “No one knows our defense and what we can accomplish with this defense more than I,” Mason said.
Which coordinator is coming into the best position? Which SEC team will have the best defense in 2015?