College Football – Evaluating Three First-Year Coaches – Saban, Erickson and Dantonio

When Mark Dantonio took over as head coach at Michigan State University this year, he was really a low-profile appointee and far less known than Dennis Erickson and Nick Saban outside of the college football fraternity.

Dantonio had made his biggest impression as an assistant coach at Ohio State rather than as a head coach at Cincinnati. Not that he did poorly at Cincinnati. He became only the second head coach in Cincinnati history to take the Bearcats to a bowl game in his first season in 2004, topping Marshall 32-14 in the Fort Worth Bowl to cap a 7-5 season.

His 2006 Cincinnati Bearcats played the second toughest schedule in the country and went 7-5 overall with four losses to ranked teams and also an upset victory over then-ranked No. 7 Rutgers, marking the highest-ranked opponent ever defeated in Bearcat history. While serving as the Defensive Coordinator at Ohio State, he helped the Buckeyes to a 32-6 record in three seasons, and Ohio State was 14-0 and won the national เว็บพนันสมัครฟรี ufabet championship in 2002. His national championship defense was 2nd nationally in Scoring Defense.

In the 2003 season his defense ranked first nationally in Rushing Defense and 9th in Total Defense, which led the Buckeyes to an 11-2 record and a No. 4 national ranking. Six Buckeye defenders were named first team All-Big 10 during Dantonio’s 3-year tenure and 13 were drafted into the NFL, including two first round picks.

Prior to becoming Michigan State’s head coach, he spent 6 years with the Spartans as the secondary coach and associate head coach. He was instrumental in Michigan State’s successful 1999 season when the Spartans were 10-2, won the Florida Citrus Bowl, and ranked No. 7 in the final polls.

Dantonio’s first season at Michigan State was the school’s most successful since 2003. His Spartans went 7-5, losing all 5 games by 7 points or less, and becoming bowl eligible for the first time in four years. The Spartans will play the Boston College Eagles in the Champs Sports Bowl on Dec. 28. Coincidentally, Michigan State defeated Boston College for the College Hockey National Championship in 2007. Dantonio, known for his defensive prowess, won 7 games this year despite his inherited players scoring Average in all major defensive categories: Scoring Defense, Total Defense, Rushing Defense, Pass Defense and Pass Efficiency Defense.