Holding on to coordinators for more than a couple of years doesn’t happen often anymore in college football. Replacing your offensive and defensive coordinator after Year 1, though, is less than ideal.
Mario Cristobal is dealing with that at Miami after defensive coordinator Kevin Steele left to take the same position at Alabama over the weekend. The Hurricanes are the only FBS program without an offensive or defensive coordinator, and spring practice begins in less than a month.
Steele’s departure follows the firing of offensive coordinator Josh Gattis late last month. This hasn’t been the kind of start Cristobal was hoping for from a staffing perspective. Not only did Miami spend the most money in the ACC on coaches, but critics have also gone from singing Cristobal’s praises for the group he put together to questioning whether he knows what he’s doing.
Should Miami fans be concerned three assistants are no longer around? It’s not a good thing on the surface but could turn out to be a positive down the road. Cristobal showed in previous stops at FIU and Oregon that as he beefed up the roster with talent, his new coaches did better than the previous ones.
Cristobal is the only Power 5 head coach among the 13 hired in 2022 who fired a coordinator after the first season, and this is the first time since Howard Schnellenberger took over the program in 1979 that a head coach at Miami has had to replace both coordinators after Year 1. Still, it’s hardly time to panic.
Not after the class Cristobal just signed, and not if he makes all of the necessary changes to his staff to maximize the talent he does have on the roster. Change was needed. More still could be.
Amid the point-starved 5-7 season, Gattis probably drew too much blame for Miami’s scoring woes. As one staffer pointed out, the 2021 Broyles Award winner didn’t forget how to coach.
He just rubbed some people in the building the wrong way. There was friction between Gattis and staffers, including quarterbacks coach Frank Ponce, who left for his old job as Appalachian State’s offensive coordinator before Gattis’ firing was announced.