Taking one final look at the SEC assistants
Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low
My two lists of the top coordinators and position coaches in the SEC from earlier this week generated some interesting debate.
The one coordinator that was left off the original list that I heard the most about was Florida defensive coordinator Charlie Strong. That's a good call. He was extremely close to making the initial cut.
Kentucky defensive coordinator Steve Brown also got some votes, and there's no question he's done a good job of turning around a Kentucky defense that's been awful for much of this decade. This is Brown's second year as defensive coordinator after coaching the defensive backs from 2003-06.
Among the Georgia fans, there was considerable banter as to whether Mike Bobo was a good play-caller or an average play-caller. It should be pointed out that this is only his second full season of calling the plays for the Bulldogs after taking over those responsibilities from Mark Richt.
Auburn running backs coach Eddie Gran was another name that came up. Gran wasn't on the original list, but seven of his former running backs are currently playing in the NFL. Gran also oversees Auburn's special teams.
A South Carolina fan wondered how Shane Beamer could be included. Here's how: His cornerbacks are playing lights out this season, and the areas of special teams he was over in 2007 actually played pretty well. While at Mississippi State, he tutored three defensive backs to Freshman All-SEC honors. Only 31, Beamer has coached everything from cornerbacks, to outside linebackers, to running backs during his career while also holding down recruiting coordinator duties at Mississippi State. The other impressive thing about Beamer is that he hasn't just ridden his father's coattails. The younger Beamer played at Virginia Tech for his father, but has gone out and made his own way in the coaching world with stops at Georgia Tech, Tennessee, Mississippi State and South Carolina.
A few Tennessee fans were grumbling about defensive coordinator John Chavis being on the list of top coordinators. Granted, the Vols are off to a dismal start, but they're ranked fifth nationally in total defense and getting better each week with a bunch of younger players showing promise. Chavis' defense was also the backbone of Tennessee's 1998 national championship team.
Somebody mentioned that Alabama offensive line coach Joe Pendry was known only for all the NFL jobs he's lost. Who hasn't lost a job in the NFL? Furthermore, talk to anybody in the NFL who's coached with Pendry, and they'll tell you that he's as good as they come. You don't spend 19 years coaching in the NFL if you're even a marginal coach. And the last time I checked, the Alabama offensive line has been pretty stout the last two years.