If nothing else, the Southern Miss Golden Eagles have been able to stay in the news during a time that the NFL and recruiting normally dominate. The search to replace the recently departed Todd Monken has seen several candidates mentioned, but very few taking part in official interviews.
From what has been leaked, Chip Lindsey and David Duggan have officially been interviewed for the open position. Lindsey has since declined the job, instead focusing on his responsibilities as the offensive coordinator at Arizona State. Duggan, the current interim head coach and defensive coordinator, seems to be the common sense choice.
Doug Meacham of TCU has been reported by Bruce Feldman to be in the running, even meeting with Southern Miss for an interview. No one else has reported it, so that should be taken with a grain of salt.
Another name that has recently been mentioned as a possible successor to Monken is Florida offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier. He recently met with Southern Miss and, from all indications, seems to now be the frontrunner for the opening.
Sources tell us Florida offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier is a strong candidate at Southern Miss. The Scoop... https://t.co/ppxU2CWIrn— FootballScoop Staff (@FootballScoop) January 28, 2016
Please do not hire Nussmeier to replace Monken.
I will give you a three reasons why Nussmeier is not the option at Southern Miss: changing the offense, coaching changes, and his track record of leaving programs.
Changing The Offense:
Changing the offense at Southern Miss would be a devastating blow for the 2016 season. Rising senior quarterback Nick Mullens thrived in the offense last season in part because of the system. He was comfortable with his responsibilities and know what to do. Mullens is talented at quarterback, but going away from what made him successful is not going to help the offense. A coach that understands what Mullens and company are good at is needed.
Despite the fact that Gators did use shotgun quite a bit under Nussmeier in 2015, I don't see Mullens and the entire offense thriving in the Florida offense that we saw last fall.
There is no guarantee that Southern Miss would turn into Florida in a year, but look at Florida's offense last season. He was there one season and Florida finished that season ranked #111 in total offense, #112 in rushing offense, #87 in passing offense, and #100 in scoring offense. Does Southern Miss really want that?
No head coach comes into a new job and keeps the entire coaching staff. If Nussmeier came in an took over the program, there is a certainty that he would replace at least some of the coaching staff. As of right now, the Golden Eagles have a very impressive staff as a whole that are comfortable with one another. If that dynamic is changed too much, things could fall apart quickly.
Nussmeier has been in the professional coaching industry since 2001. During those 15+ years as a coach, he has been with nine different programs. He spent a year with the Canadian Football League's BC Lions, a year with the Ottawa Renegades, three years with Michigan State, two years with the St. Louis Rams, a year with Fresno State, three years with Washington, two years with Alabama, a year with Michigan, and a year with Florida. That is quite the journey.
Yes, coaches change jobs over time, but it is a worry when a coach has lasted no longer than three years at any destination. Loyalty can be overrated and is more for the fans than coaches or players. Even so, Southern Miss would like to hire a coach that will not bolt the first time anything at all is thrown his way. It's hard to believe Nussmeier would stay any longer than it would take to find him a "better job."
Nussmeier may end up hired as the next head coach and spend 20 years turning the program into a dynasty, but there are too many warning signs that he is not the best choice for the program. If he ends up hired and proves to be the next great Southern Miss coach, I would happily eat my words.