College coaches don't always work in the NFL. College football is all about macro-scheming, coming up with massive new schemes or retreading ancient schemes that completely throw off opponents and work to your strength. The NFL is all about micro-scheming, taking the same basic persennel that is available across the NFL and making small adjustments to maximize your talents and create mismatches. College coaches, to succeed in the NFL, must have the ability to incorporate elements of their macro-scheme into the firmly established pro football offense. The one caveat is that the spread offense is increasingly becoming usable in the NFL as rule changes enhance offensive opportunities.
So what coaches have what it takes? Let me suggest four:
1. Kirk Ferentz-Iowa
Ferentz is the picture of stability, respect, and football smarts. His offensive line knowledge and NFL background give indication that he could run a traditional style NFL offense quite well. He has managed to build a successful program over a 12 year time period, showing that he values longevity--something Colts fans should covet.
2. Lane Kiffen-USC
Lane Kiffen is probably not leaving USC. However, if he was willing, Indy may seem to be a perfect fit. Indy already has the basic elements of a Cover-2/Tampa-2 defense, something that he and his father/traveling Defensive Coordinator Monte K would love. Lane has NFL pedigree. Lane's biggest negative is the Tennessee situation, something that does not sit well with many midwestern football fans.
3. Chip Kelly-Oregon
Chip Kelly has an offensive concept that, if connected with an NFL team, could be lethal. Kelly relies on speed, not scheme, to confuse and outwit the defense. His system is very similar to that developed by Tom Moore for Peyton Manning. The key difference is that Kelly's no huddle runs out of the spread, and is run without audibles. His system, tied with a top tier QB (Manning or Luck?) could be a really cool fit in Indy.
4. Mike Dantonio-Michigan State
This is my favorite fit. He is a defensive guru who led his team to top 10 in 7 statistical catagories defensively this season. MSU has the best record in the Big Ten over his tenure, and most of that success is built off of his defense. His scheme is built on pressure and forcing turnovers, the key for NFL defenses. He uses lots of corner blitzing and double A gap blitzing (something Grigson would be familiar with from his time in Philly). This guy may be hard to pull from MSU, but I think the payoff could be fantastic
It would take something very dramatic to get Chip Kelly out of Oregon. I'm pretty sure he would want more control than our new GM is prepared to give.
@kasey_junk dramatic...like money? A Oregon blog believes he will go pro, but only for the right position. He wants to be a guy who builds a legacy with one place. Indy would have to convince him that he has that opportunity. I don't know if they can do it.
I've said it before - Kelly would be a great fit (inasmuch as college guys can transition). As a Tennessee native, Lane Kiffen makes me puke :) but I appreciate your interview distinction.
Really think the Chip Kelly idea is worth exploring - innovative and smart football guy. Also has experience maximizing speed defensive schemes like the colts run (or ran) He and PM could make some real waves boucing ideas off each other on offense. Also like Dantonio, but I just don't see him leaving MSU
Kiffin and Manning...that would be fun
But seriously...if we are going to get a college guy...how about a guy with over 220 wins, 5 bowls, 6 Big-Ten championships and that only left his team because of some (rather dumb) rule about the players not trading their own memorabillia for cash or other stuff?
@ivanprado Because Tressel is horribly conservative, runs an offense that stopped working in the NFL 15 years ago, and has not shown any imagination in his coaching style...ever.
I want a new commodity.
@mattshedd We have Manning, possibly (?) Luck...I'm not worried AT ALL with our offense..I get the fear of being too conservative but lets face it...we kicked a 50 yard FG with Stover in the SB...it's not like we were a wild team
And I'd definitively take him over the madness that could be Carmichael...considering the sort of stuff that Payton does every sunday.
@mattshedd I would hate to have a coach that does what Sean Payton does (both in loving using a reverse and in running up the score)
But I would love to have someone that would go for a 4th down once in a while, though
And again...offense is not what I'm worried about...
@ivanprado Yes, because I would hate to run an offense as exciting as the Saints! You and I just want to watch two different types of teams my friend.
Hey site admins- who wrote this? Maybe it's just my ad blocker, but I have no byline.
Anyway, Lane Kiffin is about the worst idea I've heard... but those other three are all excellent.
Definitely worth trying to talk to them.
@WillyDuer i wrote it up, and I don't like Kiffin, but with his cover-2 knowledge it wouldn't hurt to interview him.