The 2017 regular-season in college football is quickly coming to an end. There’s teams that have surprised fans, while others have disappointed. Having quality coordinators can have a positive impact on a program, but sometimes a hire doesn’t always work out like it was expected to.
Yahoo’s Pat Forde ranked the coordinators that were hired prior to the season that have panned out and the others that have looked like questionable hires. The B1G has an assistant on both lists.
Wisconsin’s hiring of former player Jim Leonhard as defensive coordinator was considered one of the four-best coordinator hires. Leonhard is in his first season leading the Badgers defense, after Justin Wilcox and Dave Aranda left each of the last two years. But despite the turnover, the Badgers defense has been even better under the first-time coordinator.
Actually, the Badgers have gotten better — despite a season-ending injury before the year to standout linebacker Jack Cichy. Wisconsin leads the nation in total defense and is on pace to allow the fewest yards per game since Alabama in 2011. He’s technically a promotion, not a hire from the outside, but clearly an inspired choice by Paul Chryst.
Appearing on the five worst hires list was Nebraska defensive coordinator Bob Diaco. The highest paid assistant in Nebraska history, Diaco’s defense has been a disappointment and a major reasons why the Huskers will likely not make a bowl game.
Diaco and the rest of Mike Riley’s staff are playing out the string in Lincoln. Replacing the fired Mark Banker, Diaco is being paid $825,000 to coach a unit that is on pace to be the worst at Nebraska since Bill Callahan’s last season in 2008. Giving up 500 yards to Oregon and 600 to Ohio State is bad — but giving up 54 points to mediocre Minnesota — on just 61 snaps — is a sure sign of a team that is packing it in.