Phil Steele considers first-year Big Ten head coaches

There are three first-year Big Ten football coaches for the 2012 season, headlined by Ohio State’s Urban Meyer, he of two national championships at Florida. How will Meyer, Tim Beckman (Illinois) and Bill O’Brien (Penn State) fare in 2012? Phil Steele recently offered his thoughts, placing Meyer and Beckman in the “Right Place Right Time” category and O’Brien in the “Tough Shoes to Fill” section. See what Steele says about all three guys in this post.

[PhilSteele.com: 2012 new coaches]

For what it’s worth, last year’s four first-year Big Ten coaches (not including Bo Pelini) compiled a 21-29 clip. Michigan’s Brady Hoke led the way, going 11-2. None of the remaining three finished above .500, with Ohio State Luke Fickell coming the closest (6-7).

RIGHT PLACE RIGHT TIME

Urban Meyer, Ohio State

“Last year OSU had their first losing season since 1988 (3rd s/’60). OSU was -45.5 ypg in B10 play (4th worst). While the Bucks will be ineligible for the Leaders Title due to their NCAA mandated 1 yr bowl ban, Meyer did bring in a great recruiting class and LY’s tm had 4 net close losses, has a +5.5 in my Stock Market Indicator and TY has 15 ret sts with no further susp looming over their heads. He has the perfect QB in Braxton Miller to run his offense and OSU makes both my Most Improved and Surprise Team lists!”

Tim Beckman, Illinois

“Last year the Illini were the first tm in B10 history to start 6-0 and finish the regular season 0-6. Beckman inherits 14 ret’g st’rs incl QB Scheelhaase. While the Illini were just 2-6 in the Big Ten, they were +31.4 ypg (4th best). They were -6 in TO’s and had a 15.7 off ypp Illinois should be able to make it to a 3rd straight bowl and improve upon LY’s 7-win total.”

[BTN.com: Dienhart: My preseason Big Ten bowl projections]

TOUGH SHOES TO FILL

Bill O’Brien, Penn State

“Joe Paterno was pushed out of the game by a scandal in Nov 2011, before passing away in Feb 2012. Paterno finished his career before the sanctions took them away with the most career wins (409), most bowl wins (24) and 2 Nat’l Titles. O’Brien was hired prior to the Patriots playoff games and stayed on as OC through the Super Bowl. PSU does have just 6 ret st’rs (fewest B10) suffered a lot of attrition due to the coaching change and off-field distractions over the summer. They also had 4 net close wins LY. This is obviously a rebuilding year and it will be a fight just to make it to 6-6.”

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