Coaches dish on all 14 C-USA teams
It's not easy getting college football coaches to honestly comment on another coach, player or team. Most coaches don't want to give opposing teams bulletin board material, which is why there is a lot of coach speak or overused cliches used during the year.
In order to get an accurate assessment of teams heading into 2019, Athlon asked coaches in Conference USA to talk anonymously about their opponents.
Note: These scouting reports come directly from coaching staffs and do not necessarily reflect the views of Athlon's editorial staff.
C-USA Coaches Talk Anonymously About Conference Foes for 2019
“Brad Lambert’s firing surprised a lot of people."
"Will Healy is going to have a tough time at first because he needs to build a new identity with those kids.”
"Curious what (coordinator) Alex Atkins will do on offense. There’s a lot of youth so they can blow it up and do their own thing."
"There’s no pressure on them yet. They should be consistent, but in a year or two."
“They have talent in the right places."
"They have the most team speed in C-USA, especially on defense. But that offense got messy last year.”
"It’s kind of a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde situation now."
"Devin Singletary was the single best player in our conference last year, but that offense got messy. They didn’t find a way to replace what (offensive coordinator) Kendal Briles was doing and it really looked confusing down the stretch."
“The best-coached team in the league. Every unit, special teams, all of it."
"They have more discipline and awareness on the field than any other team.”
"They really show a level of legitimacy in how they develop their guys. Very detail-oriented and they’ve got fantastic ball control on offense. They don’t make mistakes, they can grind on you with a lead and don’t have to shoot it out."
Related: Conference USA Predictions for 2019
“Always a talented roster, always competitive with some size and speed."
"I think what’s held them back is the assistant coaching turnover.”
"They lack cohesiveness on offense, but they played really damn well on defense, now that guy is gone too."
"They’re an offense away from being right back at the top of the league."
“They swing back and forth more than any other C-USA school. But when they’re on, they’ve got P5 talent at a lot of places."
"This looks like a big year.”
"The quarterback (Isaiah Green) has some real talent and a great arm and you see some freaks on the roster again."
"They’re cycling back up in terms of talent; that non-qualifier prop program they use is either feast or famine."
“The loss of (Brent) Stockstill at QB is huge."
"That kid (Stockstill) was a complete baller. With him, they showed more poise and leadership than any other team in that division."
"It’s gonna be a hard year. They cycled out a ton from graduation, and they’re not naturally talented.”
"Very blue-collar. And they can ride the right quarterback."
“They live and die on the quarterback play, more than any other team. He just makes great things happen with a mediocre cast.”
"They’ve been creative scoring points; it’s not really the Air Raid that you think."
"Getting their head guy back (Seth Littrell) is obviously a huge benefit."
“There’s a culture issue there, and they haven’t been able to deal with their early success."
"A lot of roster turnover here, too. This could be a long season.”
"Always the best-looking team in C-USA during warm-ups. You always see really athletic-looking defensive players. They must grow defensive linemen a special way in the Tidewater."
“It’s been interesting to watch (Mike) Bloomgren try to install the specific Stanford model that deep in Texas — it doesn’t fit the region.”
"You can tell they’re changing their offensive philosophy because of what’s available to them in recruiting."
"The biggest improvement needed is quarterback play."
“They’ve got war daddies on defense; they have real SEC size at some spots."
"If they get the offense going, they could win the conference.”
"The receiver (Quez Watkins), he’s unbelievable. He’s the real deal for them."
"Outside of maybe UAB and their circumstances this is the team in the conference that shows the most raw talent, but the coach hasn’t figured out how to really push them to that next level."
“Last year you saw a really deep, really mature team that was just more experienced than anyone else."
"They’re really solid in their schemes.”
"They’re solid in their schemes but nothing stands out. It will be interesting to see how much they drop off once they cycle through those guys."
“They’ve got a long road ahead of them."
"Last year they didn’t really seem to be an organized team... That roster is bare.”
"They played a lot more cohesively in (Sean) Kugler’s last year, which tells me they haven’t bought in yet."
"They have the toughest challenge in the conference by far. If they’re going for a K-State/Snyder type model they have to run the ball a lot better."
"They’ve got some transfers that stood out in terms of talent."
“Frank Wilson is one of the best recruiters in the game, but the product has never really matched the talent they’ve brought in.”
"They need an offensive identity immediately."
"Still really scary on defense because they’re athletic and long, but you have to score more in this league."
"Cordale Grundy has a lot of talent but they’ve got no idea what to do with him. They need to overhaul their play calling."
“All of a sudden this is a hard job with expectations, but if Tyson (Helton) can figure out a quick fix for the offense, they could compete next year.”
"They’re returning almost all of what (Mike) Sanford rebuilt."
"The quarterback play will be interesting in another new system, but they have more experience on the line than they’ve had since (Jeff) Brohm."