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The Good, the Bad, the Ugly: Mountain West Coaching

Taking a look at Mountain West coaching performances in 2018

Fresno State v Boise State Photo by Loren Orr/Getty Images

Coaching is often a thankless job. They don’t get enough credit for winning and take too much blame for losing. Coaching college football is one of the toughest gigs there is, it can take at least four years to get your own recruits in and get the entire team to buy into you philosophy. However, some schools do not give their coaches that much time. Let’s take a look at how the Mountain West coaches fared in 2018 and who needs to step it up in 2019.

The Good:

Matt Wells

One of the easier choices, Wells put together one of the best seasons in Utah State history. The Aggies finished the season 11-2 with an impressive bowl victory over North Texas. The impressive 2018 campaign resulted in Wells accepting a Power 5 coaching gig at Texas Tech. Utah State is bringing back a familiar face in Gary Anderson. The Aggies bring back a talented quarterback in Jordan Love, but the rest of the offense is fairly inexperienced. It will be interesting to see how the Aggies fair with a new coaching staff and a tougher schedule.

Jeff Tedford

The Tedford hire got a lot of criticism at the time. Boy, do those people look foolish. Tedford has taken a program that was in shambles and has brought it back to its glory days. It will be interesting to see how Tedford and the Bulldogs respond to all of the losses they had this offseason, but I’m confident he will have the Bulldogs in the thick of the title race.

Bryan Harsin

The expectations are clear for the Boise State football program and its fans, win a championship or the season is a failure. The Broncos did not win the Mountain West Championship game, but they did win the division and managed to do it with a ton of injuries. For that reason, I have placed Harsin in the “good” category. Harsin will have his hands full in 2019, replacing his defensive coordinator, along with a new quarterback and running back.

Nick Rolovich

Similar to Tedford, Rolovich inherited a program that was a complete mess. The Warriors are now a respectable program with a dynamic offense that is can’t miss television. The question now lays with defense, can Hawaii fix their issues on that side of the ball?

Jay Norvell

Norvell has done some great things in Reno. Last year I would have put him in the “bad” category, but taking the Wolf Pack to a bowl game was a major accomplishment. Norvell will have a tough task in 2019, as he replaces Ty Gangi at quarterback and lost a number of players to transfer.

The Bad:

Troy Calhoun

Calhoun is a great football coach, there is no doubt about that. But the Air Force football program has regressed the past few season. Coaching at Air Force is one of the toughest jobs in college football. You can’t redshirt players and the schedule is rigorous. I expect the Falcons to have a bounce back season in 2019.

Craig Bohl

Like Calhoun, I think Bohl is one of the best coaches in the Mountain West. Bohl went to a school that is difficult to recruit to and has built a respectable program. Wyoming recovered nicely at the end of the season to finish 6-6, but it could have been even better if they would have made a quarterback change sooner.

Rocky Long

The conclusion of the Aztecs season was a headscratcher. SDSU was a complete mess and that was apparent during the bowl game. This might have been one of the most disappointing seasons during Long’s tenure as head coach. I expect the Aztecs to have a bounce back season in 2019, but one question remains: Will they find a reliable quarterback?

The Ugly:

Bob Davie

Davie has had an interesting tenure in New Mexico. He took a mess of a program and made it respectable again. Yet it has now become a mess again. Davie would likely be out as coach of the Lobos if the school wasn’t in financial trouble. I think it is fair to say that he has the hottest seat of any coach in the Mountain West.

Tony Sanchez

I honestly thought that Sanchez was going to lose his job at the end of the season. This was an odd hire from the beginning. Sanchez was a high school football coach that used his success at Bishop Gorman to land the hometown gig. His ties to the area have not panned out like they had hoped. Like New Mexico, UNLV has its own financial troubles and will always be more loyal to basketball. Hopefully the arrival of an NFL team can provide a boost to UNLV and its athletic programs.

Brett Brennan

SJSU might be the worst FBS program and that is no fault of Brennan. If he can pull the Spartans out of the cellar, it will be a phenomenal achievement. SJSU showed glimpses last season. They will need to find some consistency at the quarterback position and improve defensively. If they can manage three or four wins, it will be a step in the right direction.

Mike Bobo

I feel a little bit guilty about this one. Bobo had some significant health problems that made his job even more difficult this past season. He has done a great job recruiting for the Rams and they have a beautiful new stadium. However, that defense was awful last season and their run game was never much of a threat. Both of those issues will need to be addressed if they are going to reach bowl eligibility again.

That’s it for this edition of “The Good, the Bad, the Ugly.” Be sure to tune in next week, as we will be breaking down the state of each football program. Thanks for reading and please leave your thoughts in the comments below.