The Hot Seat: A Number of College Football's Players and Coaches Already Appear to be on the Hot Seat

By Andrew Ellis on September 12, 2017 at 1:20 pm
Damon Arnette and the Ohio State secondary have struggled against Indiana and Oklahoma.

We are just two weeks into the 2017 college football season and there are already several prominent players and coaches who are being heavily scrutinized – and each for good reason. Before getting into the national picture, let's hit on the elephants in our Scarlet and Gray-colored room.

There's no other way to put it: J.T. Barrett was abysmal on Saturday night. It's certainly fair to question the intricacies of Zone Six, but Ohio State's signal-caller is showing no signs of returning to his 2014 form—or anywhere even remotely close to it. With poor play comes the question marks and hooting and hollering for the next man up, but Urban Meyer appears to be having none of that. 

On the defensive side of the ball, Ohio State's pass defense currently checks in at dead last in America. A team like the Buckeyes ranking No. 130 in the country – or anywhere close to it for that matter – is certainly unacceptable for any statistical category. 

The secondary has been gashed by the Hoosiers and now the Sooners, and while no one has been exceptional in their play, Damon Arnette seems to be getting the bulk of the criticism. Arnette and Kendall Sheffield have both seen significant playing time opposite Denzel Ward, but some folks are clamoring for true freshmen Jeffrey Okudah and/or Shaun Wade to be more involved. 

Ohio State has two more games before getting back into Big Ten play, and its next conference matchup comes against a Rutgers team that is hardly a formidable foe. The next three contests may be a good time to experiment with a few things, though Army's option attack won't answer many questions in the secondary.

The chatter typically doesn't get too hot and heavy until the latter part of the season, but there are already some situations that deserve a bit of discussion. Depth chart changes happen throughout the season, but the big coaching shake-ups are a bit more rare in September and October.

That's why it was a bit surprising when Mizzou made such a drastic move following Saturday's loss to South Carolina.

In the Midwest, Notre Dame's Brian Kelly has been highly scrutinized for the last year. Following his 4-8 campaign a season ago, the Irish failed to take down a Georgia team that is being led by a backup quarterback in true freshman Jake Fromm. 

Obviously losing to an SEC power like Georgia wasn't totally unexpected, but when you combine that with the team's performance from last year, the pundits are going to keep talking. It's rather crazy to think that just a few short years ago Kelly's name was being thrown around in regards to the then vacant New York Giants' head coaching gig. 

To make matters worse, Kelly has gained the reputation of throwing childish temper tantrums when questioned about his team's performance.

Elsewhere around the country, Kevin Sumlin's seat may be the hottest in America. Since the Johnny Manziel Era, it's been a tale of mediocrity for the Aggies. In each of the three seasons since Manziel's departure, Texas A&M has failed to top the eight-win mark and has gone 4-4 in SEC play. Week one's disastrous loss to the Bruins of UCLA has only increased the chatter surrounding Sumlin's job security. 

Much like in Columbus, Jim Harbaugh has attempted to kill any rumors of a quarterback controversy for the Wolverines. Michigan is off to a 2-0 start, but Wilton Speight has hardly been impressive. The junior threw a pair of pick-sixes versus Florida, and while one of those wasn't exactly his fault, the Wolverine faithful can't feel all that comfortable with the offense right now. 

Senior John O'Korn lost the battle to Speight in 2016, but sophomore Brandon Peters appears to be the name that some fans are clamoring for in Ann Arbor. Through two games, Speight has thrown for three touchdowns and two interceptions, but his accuracy continues to be a concern. He's completed less than 52 percent of his passes. For comparison's sake, J.T. Barrett is just shy of 56 percent. 

It's not always easy to tell if the "hot seat" is merely a perception of the fanbase or if there's actually something to it in regard to the various universities and administrations. 

After all, there are actually some rogue fans questioning Urban Meyer's job security in Columbus.


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