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10 Offseason College Football Moves that Flopped in 2014

Steve Spurrier

Steve Spurrier

Optimism abounds every preseason. Every move is going to work and every team is going to get better.

Logically, we know this won’t be the case. Not every hire or quarterback change or transfer is a stroke of genius.

Some moves are duds. Some moves take time to develop. Some decisions require an about face after only a few weeks.

These are the big decisions that didn’t work out as intended or at least haven’t produced the desired results through the first month of the season.

10 Offseason Moves that Flopped

Michigan hires Doug Nussmeier

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The Wolverines don’t have Al Borges to kick around anymore, but the offense has still taken a step backward. Michigan is still turnover-prone with 14 giveaways — the Wolverines lost 21 all of last season. The offensive line can’t protect the passer. And neither quarterback, when heathy, can’t sustain a drive. A hire that Brady Hoke hoped would turn the program around may be the end of his tenure.

Jake Coker transfers to Alabama

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Blake Sims’ emergence as Alabama’s quarterback has been one of the biggest surprises of the season so far. That surprise comes at the expense at Coker, who was expected to ease right into the starting job. If he doesn’t claim the starting job during the remainder of this season, he’ll have a shot in 2015 when Sims leaves. But had he stayed at Florida State, he’d have at least one start under his belt when Jameis Winston was suspended.

South Carolina tries out the 3-4

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Without Jadeveon Clowney and with an excess of linebackers, South Carolina planned to spend more time in the 3-4, especially opening against a team like Texas A&M. Those plans were dashed in an embarrassing Week 1 loss to the Aggies. Coach Steve Spurrier said no defensive scheme would have stopped the Aggies in the opener. That may be true as Texas A&M racked up 511 passing yards, but South Carolina has allowed better than six yards per play in every game this season. The exception was a loss to Missouri.

Clemson starts the season with Cole Stoudt at quarterback

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Dabo Swinney probably didn’t want to start his highly touted true freshman in the opener in Athens against Georgia, especially with a senior on the roster. Stoudt struggled against Georgia (16-of-28, one interceptions) before giving way to freshman Deshaun Watson early against Florida State. Watson is 46-of-64 for 701 yards with seven total touchdowns and one interception since becoming the primary quarterback.

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LSU starts Anthony Jennings at quarterback

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Similar to Clemson, LSU went with a veteran instead of a freshman in an opener against a ranked team. Jennings helped LSU defeat Wisconsin the first game of the season as freshman Brandon Harris didn’t throw a pass, but Jennings wasn't the long-term solution. Les Miles made a change before the end of the first month of the season in time for a road trip to Auburn this week.

Texas Tech runs off backup quarterbacks

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Davis Webb took over the starting QB spot, leaving former starter Baker Mayfield and longtime backup Michael Brewer holding clipboards. Mayfield ended up at Oklahoma and Brewer at Virginia Tech, but not until Texas Tech attempted to pose limitations on their transfers. Given that Webb was hurt against Oklahoma State and is uncertain to start this week, Texas Tech could use an extra QB right now.

Wisconsin names Tanner McEvoy quarterback

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Neither of the Badgers’ options are Russell Wilson, but quarterback may be a liability for Wisconsin. McEvoy has looked at times like a converted defensive back playing QB, but Gary Andersen may not have had much choice as Stave has been dealing with a “mental block” that has made his throws unpredictable.

Kurt Roper's plans to remake the Florida offense

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Roper has a fine track record, but the latest coach to attempt to fix the Florida offense hasn’t made a ton of progress so far. Jeff Driskel continues to struggle against SEC competition, completing only 56 percent of his passes this season for 5.6 yards per attempt.

Jeremy Pruitt's plans to remake the Georgia defense

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Like the hire of Roper at Florida, this may be in the “hasn’t worked yet” category rather than the “backfired” category. Georgia’s pass defense remains one of its biggest problems as South Carolina completed 70 percent of its passes for nine yards per attempt. The Bulldogs may have lost last week’s game against Tennessee had quarterback Justin Worley played the entire game. 

Assuming Florida State was invincible

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Florida State was a near-unanimous pick at No. 1 this season — not that there many other viable candidates — but by the end of the first month, the Seminoles are starting to look vulnerable. Thanks to an ACC schedule, Florida State (and perhaps the Big 12 champion) may have the best chance of navigating a Power 5 conference to go undefeated. But other teams might be more trustworthy in a Playoff situation. The Seminoles’ offensive line has struggled to give FSU a consistent run game, and the pass defense has gone from allowing 14 touchdowns to 26 interceptions to six touchdowns and one interception.