Threats to off-season coaching stability

It's almost November, and with many recruiting often demanding a quick change on coaching staffs to get a jump if it's going to happen at all, what are the possible changes for FSU during this transition period. FSU has been extremely fortunate from a continuity perspective with the same staff through three seasons, a huge advantage

Two parts to this - what are the logical next moves that an assistant is ready for, and is it time from a career perspective to make that move given the right opportunity. Second part is a quick look at BCS conference schools that may make major coaching changes, which may or may not include changing head coaches.

Starting on offense:

James Coley, TE and Offensive Coordinator (in name). Coley had been FIU's OC before coming to FSU, where he called the plays. Three years as an OC without play-calling duties and a strong recruiter, he could be tempted to take a head coaching for a smaller FBS school not currently in FCS conferences, or an opportunity as a BCS school's OC with play calling responsibilities. If the opportunity is strong, he should take it; but choose wisely. He can afford some patience career-wise at this time. And if Jimbo will give up at least some of the play calling duties, he should stay regardless.

Dameyune Craig, QBs/Recruiting Coordinator. It would be good for him to stay, though he could be tempted to take a lateral move to his alma mater. He recruits the state of Alabama well, and Auburn, if they change coaching staff or even just the offensive staff, may come after him. He shouldn't move, however, unless there is a change in staff. No point jumping to a staff where the head coach is on the hot seat, unless they change him. And Auburn would be out about $9 million on buyouts with a change after this season. Look for Craig to be back, and he should stay. He's not going to get better opportunities, yet.

Eddie Gran, Special Teams Coordinator/RBs. Gran's at the point of his career of just about resigning himself to being a career assistant, or making the attempt to be head coach at a mid-major. He could make a change for the right opportunity, but I would look for him to be back.

Lawrence Dawsey, WR/Passing Game Coordinator. Dawsey's choices are to stay or take a crack as a mid-major teams OC. Don't see the latter happening.

Rick Trickett, OL. Trickett will be at FSU until his son's college career is over. Then Trickett's next move is year to year until he retires. He's back next season.

Mark Stoops, DB/DC. Stoops is likely to stay at FSU until a head coaching opportunity of his liking comes up. It might happen this year.

Greg Hudson, LBs. Hudson's next move is mid-major head coach, or more likely a BCS level DC job. The latter might happen his year -- either replacing Stoops or moving on. I think it a likelihood that he changes positions this year, becoming a BCS level DC, maybe at FSU if Stoops moves on.

D.J. Eliot, DE. Some assume Eliot's career is married to Stoops' at this point, but I'm not convinced. I think he is at FSU next year, but if he moves, it may be to take over the entire DL of a school somewhere.

Odell Haggins, DTs. Haggins looks more and more like a career assistant at FSU with each passing year, the current coaching generation of that old FSU assistant Jim Gladden. Not seen any interviews with Haggins that indicates his career ambitions, so maybe that will be so. If he does want to make a move beyond being a college DT coach, at this point I think the logical move might be with the NFL as a DT coach. He had a long career of producing NFL ready DTs, and after a slump the last few years, that pipeline is about to reopen with Dawkins and McCloud headed up to the pros after this season, and the look of a steady flow for years to come. And Haggins did play in the NFL, so moving to coach there may jump start his career progression. However, I'd look for him to be back next year.

Where are the opportunities head coaching wise, and with it the assistant positions for those staffs? Already mentioned Auburn's $9 million obstacle, so at worst, there could be a change of coordinators. Without replacing the head guy ($7 million + buyout), I don't see the appeal to anyone on FSU's staff. Other SEC schools that might look at change are Kentucky, Arkansas, and Tennessee. Tennessee feels like a fit for Alabama's Keith Smart (former FSU grad asst). Could Arkansas appeal to Stoops, and would they pursue? Kentucky with a new staff could go for some assistants on FSU's staff, with certain head coaches with connections to FSU staff.

As for ACC schools, given most of the conference schools slowness to change coaches, only Boston College is likely to change head guys, with an outside shot at Paul Johnson asked to leave Georgia Tech. Given the recruiting territories they know, I don't see BC pursuing any FSU assistants for head coach or coordinators. But I could see GT going for a candidate like Greg Hudson as the permanent replacement for Al Groh. Virginia could also shakeup its coaching staff without replacing the head coach, and Hudson could be a candidate there as well for DC.

Big East - Charlie Strong could move on from Louisville - could that job appeal to Stoops? South Florida could dump Holtz, and the common recruiting territories make it interesting to see what happens there. Dawsey was a former assistant at USF, but the appeal would be only if they could offer more money, which is unlikely. Would Hudson consider either the head coaching position or DC post? Eddie Gran might be a name in the hat as well, giving his recruiting ability.

Big 12 - Stoops' brothers are there, so some Big 12 schools might give a though of giving Mark a call. Would Mark take the call when he has to face his brother that frequently? But looking at the Big 12 records this year, with Kansas having a first year coach, Baylor is the only one that might make a move, and that's only if they collapse the rest of the way (4-8 is a real possibility given their stretch run). Don't think Baylor would appeal to Stoops.

Big 10 - don't see the appeal to Stoops to any of the current candidates there likely to be looking. Hudson coached in the region with Cincinnati (his hometown), Notre Dame (grad asst), and Minnesota. It could be a kind of homecoming to return to that region as a DC.

Pac 12 - the struggling schools in the Pac 12 are the two Washington schools, Utah, and Colorado. I'm in Colorado territory and the AD there keeps giving lip service to sticking with their second year coach. However, a change of coordinators and other staff could be in order, especially on defense (last in FBS in scoring defense after today). Eliot played across the border at Wyoming - would a kind of homecoming appeal to him? Maybe Colorado would consider him for the DL. At Utah Whittingham has built up enough tenure to get another season, and the Washington area are such foreign territory (recruiting wise) that the appeal between the schools and any FSU assistant for any role is hard to imagine.

Overall, I think FSU loses one or two assistants this off-season. Hard to predict which ones, but top candidates are Hudson and Stoops, but not both. Unless Fisher hands over play calling, Coley needs to consider moving on this season or next or he could suffer a stalled career. Eliot, Gran, Craig and Dawsey could and should move for the right opportunities if they come but have the luxury of patience for those opportunities without worrying about careers stalling. Those four are also highly unlikely to see those opportunities come this year. Haggins and Trickett are likely to retire as FSU assistants.

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