College Football

College Football's Most Predictable Coaches

Sebastian LenaAnalyst IFebruary 13, 2014

College Football's Most Predictable Coaches

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    Spurrier can't resist the urge to troll.
    Spurrier can't resist the urge to troll.Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

    Some of college football’s most well-known coaches are also the sport’s most predictable.

    For some, it’s the tendency to call the same play calls over and over again. For others, it’s a case of poor time management. And for one particular coach, it’s the fact that bad news follows him wherever he goes.

    All in all, these coaches have become somewhat predictable in their actions.

    Join B/R as we take a look at some of the coaches who are more predictable than most.

Mike Bobo

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    Bobo needs to switch it up.
    Bobo needs to switch it up.Jason Getz/Associated Press

    What’s So Predictable: Baffling play calling

     

    The Skinny

    Mike Bobo has been the offensive coordinator for the Georgia Bulldogs since 2006.

    In that time he has run some pretty great offensive attacks. That includes tutoring top quarterbacks such as David Greene, D.J. Shockley, Matthew Stafford and most recently Aaron Murray.

    However, that doesn’t mean Bobo hasn’t had his fair share of predictable calls.

    More often than not, the 39-year-old seems to rely on the bubble screen. It’s gotten to the point where defenses know it’s coming.

    Sometimes, Bobo even runs it when it makes no sense.

    Another favorite of the Augusta, Ga., native is the power run.

    To his credit, any coach would be foolish not to rely on such a play with Todd Gurley in the backfield. But still—much like the bubble screen—it’s gotten to a point where defenses know what’s coming.

    Still, fans didn't hesitate to take to Facebook to let their feelings be known

    It’s hard to hate against Bobo when he has led Georgia to great offensive rankings during the years.

    However, one has to imagine those rankings could be a lot better if he was a little less predictable with his play calling.

Bobby Petrino

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    What's the next trick up Petrino's sleeve?
    What's the next trick up Petrino's sleeve?Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    What’s So Predictable: His dishonesty about his inability to stay in one place

     

    The Skinny

    Louisville Cardinals head coach—for now—Bobby Petrino must not like consistency.

    In fact, since he began coaching in 1985, the 52-year-old hasn’t remained in one place for longer than four years. That includes stops at 14 different schools and two different NFL teams. 

    But if that wasn’t bad enough, Petrino also takes it the extra mile by trying to lie about it.

    Back in 2001, he left his post as the offensive coordinator with the Jacksonville Jaguars to take the same position with Auburn. The only problem: Petrino never told then-Jaguars head coach Tom Coughlin.

    A year later, he leaves the Tigers to become the head coach of Louisville in 2003. But keeping up with his sneaky, back-stabbing habits, Petrino soon after secretly interviewed to be the head coach of Auburn, even though the team’s current head coach—and Petrino’s former boss—Tommy Tuberville still has the job.

    Trying to put his past behind him, Petrino signed a 10-year extension with the Cardinals in July of 2006, promising he wasn’t going anywhere. Six months later, he went somewhere, becoming the coach of the Atlanta Falcons.

    From 2007-13, Petrino had a total of three different coaching positions before he decided to return to Louisville.

    Whether Cardinals fans want to believe it or not, it won’t be long before he spurns the fan base again.

Bret Bielema

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    Nothing makes Bielema (right) happier than a good rushing attack.
    Nothing makes Bielema (right) happier than a good rushing attack.Rich Schultz/Getty Images

    What’s So Predictable: His love for running the football

     

    The Skinny

    Nobody loves running the football more than Bret Bielema other than teams that run the triple option. 

    Since he became a head coach in 2006, the 44-year-old has relied on the ground game. That includes his stop at Wisconsin and currently with the Arkansas Razorbacks.

    From 2007-2012, the Badgers ranked top 25 in the nation in rushing each year. That includes finishing in the top 15 from 2008-12.

    Whether it was P.J. Hill, John Clay or Montee Ball, Bielema ran an offense that guaranteed each back success.

    When he moved to Arkansas for the 2013 season, Bielema brought that rushing prowess along with him.

    The Razorbacks finished the season ranked No. 21 in rushing. In comparison, the team finished No. 107 the year before.

    Relying on the running of freshman Alex Collins and sophomore Jonathan Williams, Arkansas racked up a total of 2,504 rushing yards. Both backs topped 900 yards and found the end zone four times.

    Given his love for slowing the game down, it's no surprise that Bielema is a big supporter of the NCAA's proposed 10-second rule

    Whether or not the Razorbacks will turn things around in 2014 still is up in the air.

    But one things for sure: The team will sink or swim via the ground game.

Mike Leach

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    Judging by Leach's face, somebody must have just tried a running play.
    Judging by Leach's face, somebody must have just tried a running play.Elaine Thompson/Associated Press

    What’s So Predictable: His love for passing the football

     

    The Skinny

    We just discussed Bret Bielema and his love for running the ball. Well, meet his counterpart, Mike Leach, who loves passing the ball just as much.

    He also happens to be pretty darn good at it.

    From 2000-09 the 52-year-old coached Texas Tech. In those 10 years, the Red Raiders finished No. 11 or better in passing every single year while ranking in the top three eight times.

    Now, at Washington State, Leach has brought his passing prowess along for the ride. During the last two seasons, he has led the Cougars passing attack to ranks of No. 9 and No. 4 in 2012 and 2013, respectively.

Brian Kelly

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    Kelly can't make up his mind at quarterback.
    Kelly can't make up his mind at quarterback.Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    What’s So Predictable: Flip-flopping quarterbacks

     

    The Skinny

    Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly has struggled to make up his mind at quarterback during his time in South Bend, Ind.

    That became especially evident during the 2012 season when it came to quarterbacks Everett Golson and Tommy Rees.

    At several points during the season, Kelly would replace one quarterback for the other at the first sign of trouble. More often than not, he would undo that switch moments later.

    It got so bad that Kelly was called out by different media outlets.

    Thankfully, Golson’s suspension for the 2013 season left Kelly with only one option at quarterback. However, the same cannot be said for next season, when he will have several options to choose from.

    Will Kelly resort to old tricks?

    Maybe. After all, it did lead him to a national title appearance in 2012.

Lane Kiffin

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    Will misfortune follow Kiffin to Alabama?
    Will misfortune follow Kiffin to Alabama?Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    What’s So Predictable: Driving a program to the ground

     

    The Skinny

    Lane Kiffin has been a black cloud for whatever team has taken a chance on him.

    In 2007, the 38-year-old became the head coach of the Oakland Raiders. In a season and a half, he put together a laughable 5-15 mark before being fired.

    Kiffin’s tenure featured several mishaps—including attempting a 76-yard field goal—leading Al Davis to claim, “I think he conned me like he conned all you people.”

    It wasn’t long before the Lincoln, Nebraska, native found himself another job, becoming the head coach of Tennessee in 2009.

    But just like with the Raiders, Kiffin’s tenure with the Vols was controversial. He called out Urban Meyer before even coaching a game, was involved in a hostess recruiting scandal and was a victim of a Steve Spurrier jab.

    Oh, and there was the fact that he bolted from Knoxville after one year to the dismay of almost everyone in the state.

    Next up was USC in 2010. And although Kiffin spent a little more than three seasons at the helm, that didn’t mean it was positive.

    Things began on a high note, as he led the Trojans to a 10-2 record in just his second year and had them ranked as the preseason No. 1 heading into 2012. But that’s about as good as it got.

    From there, all that followed were embarrassing losses, players only meetings and getting fired in an airport parking lot after midnight.

    We can only hope and pray—unless you’re an Auburn fan or Alabama hater—that his bad luck streak doesn’t continue as an assistant in Tuscaloosa.

Gus Malzahn

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    This guy has mastered the no-huddle offense.
    This guy has mastered the no-huddle offense.Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    What’s So Predictable: Running a successful no-huddle offense

     

    The Skinny

    Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn has risen to fame after leading the underdog Tigers within a minute away from being crowned national champions. 

    A lot of that success is due to his trademarked “hurry up, no huddle” offense. Something he’s been running since his days as a high school football coach.

    From 1992-95, Malzahn coached Hughes High in Arkansas. In just his third season with the team he led them to the state title game.

    Following that stint, Malzahn moved on to Shiloh Christian where he turned the team into one of the most dynamic offensive squads in the nation. That includes setting a national record of 66 passing touchdowns in 1998.

    Malzahn led the Saints to back-to-back titles in 1998 and 1999.

    He finished off his high school coaching career by spending five years at Springdale High. Malzahn led the team to an appearance in the state title game in 2002 and won the title in 2005.

    Since then, he has spent time with Arkansas, Tulsa, Arkansas State and Auburn. Malzahn was the offensive coordinator for the Tigers’ 2010 national title run.

    From day one, Malzahn has put his style of offense on display.

Les Miles

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    Les Miles is not the biggest fan of clock management.
    Les Miles is not the biggest fan of clock management.Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    What’s So Predictable: Horrible clock management

     

    The Skinny

    LSU head coach Les Miles’ birthday still is nine months away. But it’s never too early to start planning his wish list.

    At the top of that list: a watch…or two or three.

    During his time at Baton Rouge, there have only been a few things that have stumped the 60-year-old. Unfortunately, one of those things is clock management skills.

    Miles first drew criticism for a heart-breaking loss to Ole Miss, 25-23, in 2009 where the Tigers had the ball at the Rebels’ 5-yard line and failed to get off a play before time expired. That wouldn’t be the only time he was called out for poor time management, as more criticism followed after the team’s 19-17 loss to Penn State in the Florida Citrus Bowl.

    The next season, his blunders almost cost LSU another game against Tennessee. However, the Vols bailed Miles out by having 13 players on the field at the time. 

    If it only happened once, it would be excusable. But for it to happen repeatedly—most recently last year versus Ole Miss—is uncalled for.

    Time just so happens to be the one foe Miles just can’t figure out.

Steve Spurrier

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    Spurrier is always a treat when the mic is in his hand.
    Spurrier is always a treat when the mic is in his hand.John Raoux/Associated Press

    What's So Predictable: Entertaining press conferences

     

    The Skinny

    South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier has had a career that has featured as many must-see press conferences as must-see games.

    Regardless of his mood, the question being asked or whom the play or team involved is, it’s almost guaranteed that the 68-year-old will give a response worth quoting.

    Going back to his early days of roaming the sidelines for Florida, Spurrier has put together quite the catalog of witty retorts, zingers and punchlines. The list of victims include “three-time Citrus bowl star” Peyton Manning, Florida State—or Free Shoes University—and Dabo Swinney’s intelligence.

    As we found out this year, Spurrier’s not afraid to crack jokes about his own players as well.

    Even those who hate the guy have to admit, his press conferences are always worth a listen.

Nick Saban

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    Saban is not a fan of delivering press conferences.
    Saban is not a fan of delivering press conferences.Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    What’s So Predictable: Giving mundane, monotone press conferences

     

    The Skinny

    By now, it’s a well-known fact that Alabama head coach Nick Saban served as an assistant under Bill Belichick back in the day.

    It would appear that Saban also took classes from the "Hooded One" in how to give press conferences.

    Whether the Tide win or lose a game, the 62-year-old appears to be the same in each of his pressers. That is, he delivers his answers without a smile in his face nor emotion in his voice.

    With Saban, it’s almost evident that he only partakes in pressers because he is required too.

    But that’s not to say that he never shows emotion. Just take a look at what happened when the media repeatedly asked Saban about allegations involving D.J. Fluker.

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