Coaches Who Could Meet With The Bobs Before Season’s End

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Fired on Friday

The Bobs adhered to a policy that firings should wait until Friday because of “less chance for an incident.” Coaching firings generally occur at season’s end, thereby avoiding the hassle of an interim head coaching tenure and further tumult to an already bad situation. But sometimes, that hammer gets lowered early.

Mike Stoops became the second mid-season coaching casualty, two weeks after New Mexico dismissed Mike Locksley. Stoops wasn’t the first, and may not be the last.

Joker Phillips, Kentucky

Rich Brooks retired following his fourth consecutive bowl-bound season at Kentucky, a commendable achievement from the perspective of a 1990s college football fan who saw UK play in just three from 1989 to 2005. Joker Phillips extended that streak to five last season, but the run is almost assuredly over. It’s not so much that the Wildcats won’t reach the postseason as the fashion in which they’re losing. The UK offense is anemic, ironic given Phillips was promoted for his offensive chops. Through four outings vs. BCS conference competition, UK has scored a combined 37 points and its output has fallen each of those games (17, 10, 7 and most recently 3). Those losses have been by a combined 130 points.

In its two wins, UK broke the 20-point threshhold only once in an ugly win over Central Michigan, and against Western Kentucky did not reach 100 yards of total offense until the fourth quarter. And the combined record of UK’s two wins a season ago? 4-20.

The Wildcats’ offensive ineptitude under a former offensive coordinator begs the question:

UK is on bye this week, so seemingly if the boom were to have been lowered, it would have following a 54-3 dismantling vs. South Carolina. But should the Wildcats return Oct. 22 to lose to Championship Subdivsion member Jacksonville State, Phillips could be gone by Halloween.

Houston Nutt, Ole Miss

A road victory over Fresno State prior to the bye week may have bought Houston Nutt until season’s end. A bye week is the proverbial Friday of which the Bobs spoke, a week to give an interim time to prepare and acquaint himself with the roster. Furthermore, the defeat of the Bulldogs improved Nutt’s Rebels to 2-3; while not an impressive mark, certainly not the worst record.

Yet like Phillips at Kentucky, the Rebels have struggled mightily offensively, scoring a combined 34 points in their three defeats. Only five offenses average less time on the field than Ole Miss and its 26:25 time of possession per game, and the same number are all that are less successful gaining first downs. A 30-7 shellacking against typical SEC cellar dweller Vanderbilt suggests Ole Miss is headed to the depths of the West division for a second consecutive season. While a return to sixth place would be enough to seal most SEC coaches’ fates, Nutt’s last successful season may actually be more damning than the Rebels’ current 6-11 run.

The 2009 team peaked at No. 4 in the polls and was predicted to compete for the SEC championship, but underachieved tremendously with four conference losses. It was the second Nutt-coached team to not reach its potential, much like the 2007 Arkansas team that boasted Felix Jones, Darren McFadden and Peyton Hillis yet managed only a ho-hum 8-4 record blemished by scandal.

Larry Porter, Memphis

By virtue of defeating one of the worst teams in the Championship Subdivision (Austin Peay), Larry Porter will avoid the dubious 0-12 mark. But if he lasts the season, his combined record as Memphis’s head coach could very well total 2-22. That was the mark Locksley began this season with at New Mexico, and in some ways the Memphis and UNM program are similar. Porter hasn’t faced the myriad off-field issues of Locksley, but like Locksley inherited a program with a recent bowl game track record.

Memphis had reached five bowls in six seasons prior to Porter taking over the program; now, the Tigers have yet to win a Conferenece USA game and seem to lose by increasingly ridiculous margins. This season’s five defeats average 32 points, and as one might expect the Tigers rank at the bottom of virtually every statistically category. One Tiger that showed promise was quarterback Ryan Williams, who threw for nearly 2100 yards and scored 13 touchdowns as a freshman starter in 2010, but now is at the University of Miami.

Frank Spaziani, Boston College

One of the nation’s longest runs of consecutive bowl games is headed to a screeching halt. Boston College entered 2010 with several key components back on a defense that ranked top five last season in numerous categories, but this season has worn down. The Eagle offense isn’t suffering a multitude of turnovers — in fact, BC ranks in the top quarter of teams for turnovers lost, and is right in the middle for time of possession, yet have little to show for it. The injury of star running back Montel Harris certainly hurts the Eagle offense, but quarterback Chase Rettig has not taken off, perhaps due to tumult at offensive coordinator.

Whatever the reason, BC’s offense cannot muster points and the Eagles have suffered embarrassing defeats at UCF and Duke, and with an increasingly difficult schedule may not get a win over an FBS opponent.