It didn’t take long after the last game of the season before Georgia Southern Head Coach Chad Lunsford started making drastic changes to the coaching staff. Offensive coordinator/QB Coach Bryan Cook, defensive coordinator/DL Coach Lorenzo Costantini, and Strength & Conditioning coach Dwayne Chandler got fired Sunday. Georgia Southern had lost to Coastal Carolina, 28-17 Saturday and finished with a 2-10 record, their worst record in the modern era.
These moves were widely expected among the Eagle fan base. The offense ranked 113th (out of 130) in the country in points per game, the defense wasn’t much better, ranked 100th. Chad Lunsford has to prove to the fans that Tom Kleinlein made the right choice in promoting him. The status quo just won’t do in Statesboro. He has to show people that he has a vision on how to turn the program around.
A widely circulated report claimed that Lunsford wanted Cook gone after the Georgia State loss and wanted OL coach Bob Bodine to replace him. One source told me about a shouting match between Cook and WR Coach Juston Wood in the press box during the heartbreaking defeat to the rival Panthers. The offense picked up in the last three games for the Eagles, but not enough to save Cook’s job.
Lorenzo Costantini was perhaps the worst defensive coordinator at Georgia Southern since at least Ashley Anders. Coach Zo I would argue was worse, because at least Chris Hatcher finished with a winning record at Georgia Southern. Costantini is closely tied to Tyson Summers. He’s been a position coach at half a dozen FBS schools; he will land on his feet.
Dwayne Chandler was perhaps the most significant disappointment to me out of all of them. The strength & conditioning program has always been the backbone of success at Georgia Southern. A lean, mean, and aggressive offensive line is a necessity to make the triple option offense work. Southern fans will tell you that it was the lack of a decent S&C program that led to Chris Hatcher’s downfall.
Chandler had come from Memphis where he had success; he also has stops at the Denver Broncos, Oklahoma Sooners, Minnesota Golden Gophers, and the Dallas Cowboys on his resume. I had high expectations for him to fix the S&C program, but alas, the results being what they are, it was probably necessary for a clean break.
RB Coach Chris Foster is safe, I would imagine Bob Bodine (OL) and Juston Wood (WR) are too. No reason to unnecessarily hamstring recruiting, especially with the early signing date being December 20 this year. The defensive staff may or may not change depending on who the new guy brings in. Olten Downs, Pat Bastein, and Jeremy Rowell are worth keeping in my humble opinion.
Let’s get to the juicy part.
I got rumors, for y’all to feast on. Those of you who saw my mini-tweetstorm last night are already ahead of me.
Who’s going to replace these fools?
Well we already have one name rolling in and he’s basically a Chad Lunsford clone, Samford DL Coach Vic Cabral:
This man needs very little introduction. Eagles fans already love him to death. They’ve basically been the Wolverine meme, quietly longing for Victor Cabral to come back to Statesboro, just one more time. Now they get their wish. He’s most likely coming in to be the DL coach, possibly even recruiting coordinator. Needless to say this is a huge boost to the staff.
Cabral coming to town is like that scene in Mighty Ducks where the bash brothers get together. Hide your folding chairs if you live in the greater Bulloch County area. Here’s his resume.
What about the coordinator spots?
Got news on that front too. Alex Atkins, offensive line coach at Tulane, is the frontrunner at the moment for the offensive coordinator spot. He was another fan/player favorite during his time at Georgia Southern on the Fritz staff. His OLs put up amazing numbers during his stint at Georgia Southern from 2014-2015. Tulane finished 20th in the nation in rushing this season. Georgia is also his recruiting area for Tulane.
On the defense, another familiar name is popping up, App State Co-defensive coordinator/recruiting coordinator/secondary coach/assistant to the regional manager Scot Sloan.
*takes a breath*
Scot Sloan coached secondary on the Mike Sewak staffs from 2002-2005. He’s basically App State’s recruiting guru and the reason they keep stealing talented Georgia boys and running off to the mountains with them, doing God knows what, with who knows which goat.
Jokes aside, getting Sloan on staff would be a major coup for Chad Lunsford. Not only do you add a quality defensive mind and recruiter, you pluck him away from your biggest conference rival, the eternal measuring stick, Appalachian State. Major news if true.
I’ve got five names for you there, especially if Paul Johnson gets fired at Georgia Tech:
Mike Clowney – Asst HC at Carson-Newman, followed by Lunsford.
Steve Spurrier Jr. – QB Coach at WKU. Much experience at major universities on the Offensive side of the ball. Followed by Lunsford and Big Frank.
Lou Conte – Offensive Coordinator/QB Coach at Citadel – followed by Lunsford on Twitter
Craig Candeto – QB Coach at Georgia Tech, name popped up earlier in the search, no word on if PJ is dead man walking.
Bob DeBesse – ex-Offensive Coordinator at New Mexico, just fired yesterday.
Strength & Conditioning and other possibilities
TJ Lynch – current DL coach at D2 Davenport University. Played at GMC and followed by both Cabral and Lunsford recently.
Greg Gasparto – ILB coach at Wofford. Played at Wofford, coached at App with Nate Woody. Followed by Lunsord and Chris Foster.
Ben Sowders – S&C coach at McNeese State. Followed by Lunsford, has followed and retweeted several GS related accounts recently.
Brandon Howard – Asst S&C coach at Utah State. Followed by Lunsford and 22 other former GS players and GS related accounts.
This will continue to play out. Twitter follows mean very little in reality. But might indicate interest, reading Twitter-ese is a perilous endeavor. Stay tuned to Forgotten5.com for news relating to the Chad Lunsford era at Georgia Southern, as well as other coaching searches around FBS.