As the Jets begin their search for a new head coach, there are any number of directions in which they may go. College coaches typically have trouble adjusting to the NFL. College and the pros are two completely different games. The NFL demands much more time and is tailored to X's and O's instead of motivation. The last college coach to make the jump and experience any kind of lasting success was Tom Coughlin a decade and a half ago. There are Butch Davis and Dennis Erickson stories than those of Jimmy Johnson. Generally the only coaches teams hire from college at least have some NFL experience so that they have a taste of what they are getting into.
Kirk Ferentz, Head Coach, University of Iowa
Pros: Learned under Bill Belichick. NFL experience with the Browns and the Ravens. Took Iowa to a share of the Big Ten title and the Orange Bowl in 2002. Finished in the top ten in 2003. Handed Penn State only loss of 2008 season.
Cons: Record of success has fallen off precipitously since 2003.
Verdict: If Ferentz wanted to go to the NFL, he should have done so five years ago when he was hot. If he is struggling against the Big Ten, what will the AFC East do to him?
Jeff Jagodzinski, Head Coach, Boston College
Pros: Eight years of NFL coaching experience. Was Brett Favre's offensive coordinator in Green Bay in 2006. Helped develop Matt Ryan. Led BC to top ten ranking in 2007. Took BC to ACC Championship Game in both seasons as head coach.
Cons: Only two years of head coaching experience.
Verdict: Brett Favre's turnaround in 2007 really began in late 2006 with Jagodzinski as his offensive coordinator. The Packers went on a tear to end that season. This relationship with Favre would be a major positive. At Boston College, Jagodzinski has done nothing but win, including a division title in 2008 with a team that lost over twenty seniors and two first round picks. Should Favre retire, his work with Matt Ryan would be enticing, considering one of the three young quarterbacks on the roster would probably take over. He probably will not get the job with all of the other big names in the mix. However, Jagodzinski might be the guy who breaks the trend of college coaches being unsuccessful in the NFL. The last success story, Coughlin, also came from BC.
Charlie Weis, Head Coach, Notre Dame
Pros: Four Super Bowl rings. Learned under Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick. Developed Tom Brady and Brady Quinn. Coached Vinny Testaverde to a career year in 1998. X's and O's genius.
Cons: Notre Dame has been awful the past two seasons under him.
Verdict: Weis is no longer a desired choice for an NFL job. In reality, he might be better off in the pros, where it is more about scheming than teaching. He has a great football mind but seems to struggle teaching basics to young players. When he had a veteran team at Notre Dame his first two seasons, he had a lot of success. Regardless, the Jets are not touching a coach whose reputation is at an all-time low.
Tim Brewster, Head Coach, University of Minnesota
Pros: Improved Minnesota by six games in 2008. Developed Antonio Gates from basketball star into the best tight end in football as San Diego tight ends coach.
Cons: The reason Minnesota improved by six games was partially that they won once in Brewster's first year. The Gophers had gone to a bowl the year before. Spent all but five years of his coaching career in college and high school.
Verdict: This is a college guy. The Jets will have no interest.
Mike Sherman, Head Coach, Texas A&M
Pros: Had a winning record in five of six seasons as Packers head coach. Won three division titles. Has a relationship with Favre.
Cons: Left Green Bay with one of the league's worst records.
Verdict: It would be tough to see this happening. Texas A&M is Sherman's alma mater. He has a love for the school and probably would not leave after one year. He also had total control as head coach and general manager for most of his time in Green Bay. His resume is good, but not good enough that the Jets are going to bend over backwards to land him. There are plenty of other candidates with more impressive credentials.