Four More Candidates to Replace Dave Wommack
Ole Miss announced on Saturday that defensive coordinator Dave Wommack will be retiring at the end of the season. Here are four more candidates to replace Wommack.
Last month I wrote the article, Four Candidates to Replace Dave Wommack. While it was before the “retirement” was announced, these four candidates still stand as potential DCs for Ole Miss.
While most fans are screaming big time names, there is only one big-time candidate for the job that I think is possible.
Forget names like Dave Aranda or Derek Mason, both of them will most likely retain their jobs through next season.
Mason has won enough games to earn his job back, and Aranda will be held on by Ed Orgeron.
So here are the four candidates Ole Miss needs to target in the offseason.
Remember, there is still an ongoing NCAA investigation and that will hamper the attempts at hiring a big name hire.
Nate Woody – Defensive Coordinator – Appalachian State
Nate Woody took over at Appalachian State in 2013 and immediately improved the defense of the Mountaineers.
Here is what the Appalachian State website says about Woody and the defense.
In three seasons, Woody oversaw the transformation of a defense that ranked eighth out of nine teams in the NCAA Division I FCS Southern Conference in total defense the year prior to his arrival (2012) to the top-ranked unit in the Division I FBS Sun Belt Conference in 2014 and 2015 and a top-ranked unit nationally in 2015.
After yielding just 347.5 yards per game in 2014, the defense clamped down on opponents even further in 2015 to allow just 314.5 yards per game, good for the No. 1 defense in the Sun Belt and 11th nationally.
The Mountaineer defense is currently ranked 18th in the nation in total defense, while Ole Miss is ranked 102nd in total defense.
One of the most important stats surrounding Woody in my opinion is the havoc rating of his linebacking corp. The linebackers for App State cause a havoc play 6.0% of the time, which is ranked 18th in the nation.
Woody is currently earning $175,000 a year according to USA Today. Wommack was making $725,000 a year at Ole Miss.
Obviously the upgrade in pay would be a big time asset for Ole Miss when looking to hire Woody.
Wesley McGriff – Secondary Coach/Co-Defensive Coordinator – Auburn
Ole Miss fans are familiar with this name. McGriff was the co-defensive coordinator and cornerbacks coach at Ole Miss in 2013. He left the Rebels for an assistant coaching job with the New Orleans Saints.
McGriff is currently the secondary coach and co-defensive coordinator for the Auburn Tigers.
Auburn is currently ranked 19th in the nation in total defense. The secondary for the Tigers give up an average of 216.8 yards a game through the air, compared to the 224.5 allowed by the Rebels.
McGriff’s defensive backfield is a monster according to the all important havoc rating. The defensive backs for Auburn make a havoc play 8.9% of the time, which is ranked 6th in the nation.
While I would rather see Ole Miss go a different direction than McGriff, I won’t be upset with the hire. He knows the coaching staff and the recruiting territory.
I think Ole Miss needs to hire someone different from they have been, and McGriff feels like Freeze hiring one of his buddies again.
Tosh Lupoi – Co-Defensive Coordinator/Linebacker Coach – Alabama
Lupoi is a name not many have mentioned with the Ole Miss coaching search, but he is the perfect fit for the Rebels.
The Alabama defense is always one of the best in the nation, and it is no different this season. Alabama is ranked 2nd in the nation in total defense this season, only allowing 11.4 points per game.
The linebacking corp for the Crimson Tide is also one of, if not the best in the nation. They make ahavoic play 9.8% of the time, which is ranked 1st in the nation.
Lupoi has been a big time recruiter wherever he goes, including California.
If I am on the hiring committee, Lupoi is at the top of my list from day one. He is the first call on my list, followed by the final guy on this list.
Charlie Strong – Former Head Coach – Texas
Charlie Strong was fired by the Texas Longhorns on Saturday before hiring Houston head coach, Tom Herman.
Strong has been in Oxford before, serving as the wide recievers coach in 1990.
While I think this candidate is a bit unrealistic, Ole Miss has to attempt to hire Charlie Strong. He is the #1 coordinator on the market right now.
While I could see Strong taking a head coacing job at another school, he would be smart to take a coordinator position and levy that into a head coaching job, like Will Muschamp did at Auburn.
Ole Miss will look to beat out Arkansas and most likely more schools for the services of Strong.
If Ole Miss can hire Strong to coach the defense, and establish a strong coaching staff to go along with Charlie, the Rebels would have an improved defense from day one.
A big name like Strong will also help in recruiting, as kids hear the name and immeadiately know who he is.
While I do not think that Strong comes to Oxford, and to be honest, I would put the odds at like 50-1, he has to be a candidate for the position.