When Head Coach Sam Pittman mentioned that there were about 100 coaches that had messaged him to come to Arkansas and join his staff there was a good idea that it would not take long to get some coordinators on the staff. Therefore we now have a hot board of candidates for both offensive and defensive. We will start with offensive.
The leading candidate in many of the media’s eyes is Rhett Lashlee. The Springdale, Arkansas native has been around the power 5 conference for nearly a decade now. He started his career as a GA at the UofA, then jumped to Auburn, Samford, Arkansas State, Auburn 2.0, Uconn, and now has been at SMU the past 2 seasons. Where they have been ranked this season and finished with a record of 10-2.
The next candidate that I believe should be getting a lot of attention is Rich Rodriguez. He has been in and out of the power 5 as well. Did not have a great stint in Michigan but overall has not had bad stops other than that. Since Kiffin is coming into Ole Miss, I would almost bet that he will be leaving Ole Miss in the near future. Look for his name as a possibility moving forward.
A name that has been thrown around a lot because of his relationship with Pittman is Jay Johnson. I would not mind Johnson at all, he was with Pittman at Georgia and right now he is at Colorado as their offensive coordinator. Makes things interesting if he does in fact join Pittman because some say he may not fit in with what Pittman is wanting to do on offense.
The last name worth mentioning to me is Jim Chaney. The former offensive coordinator at Arkansas with Bret Beilema. Another close friend of Pittmans but that is all I am mentioning of him because I do not believe it will be a good hire. At least not for Arkansas.
Now it is time for the Defensive Coordinator position.
The leading candidate for me is Barry Odom. I would love this hire, I think he did not get enough credit for his job at Missouri and even leading them to bowl eligibility in a year that they can’t even qualify because of NCAA penalties. Think about having to get a team motivated for a season where there is not a happy ending. Their bowl game was basically beating Arkansas in War Memorial and then firing him. Barry Odom for Defensive Coordinator in my book, although there have been reports linking him to the Memphis head coaching job since Norvell has left for Florida State.
Second on this list is another former head coach who has been in the power 5 for a good while, Charlie Strong. The former Louisville/Texas/South Florida head coach is looking for his next stop since being fired from South Florida. Charlie Strong is 59 years old… yes, you read that right, because I thought he was much younger. He may be a job or 2 away from retirement but what better way to retire than helping the Razorbacks from his home state get back into the winning ways. I’m all for it but will Pittman see him as a candidate and will Strong want to come to NW Arkansas. I guess we will see.
Next to last we have Randy Shannon who I think may go with Kiffin to Ole Miss but lets just give it a chance to see if he would return to the UofA. Shannon was the LB coach under Bret Beilema for a season before returning to the state of Florida. I for one would love to see him back. He had a great 2 years with the hogs when he was here and had some fantastic players before heading to the Gators. The question would be is how long would he stay because he has for the most part stayed in Florida his entire career except for a 3 year span at TCU and Arkansas. I guess he likes the beach.
Lastly I would throw out Tray Scott, the George defensive line coach. There has been some speculation that he could come with Pittman a the same position but I don’t think so. I think it would have to be a promotion for him to leave Georgia. He would probably be making less money for a horizontal move from Georgia to Arkansas, but if it was a vertical move up the chain then I would say there is a chance.
The ball is in Pittmans hands at who he wants to fill his staff out with but these are just some options. Let me know what you think or if you could see it being someone else. Have a great and blessed day and GO HOGS!!! YES-SIRRRRRR!!!