Countdown to kickoff: West best coaching staff?

Kickoff is fast approaching. To help count down the days to Aug. 28, the team is discussing one topic every day. Think of it as our countdown to kickoff. Today’s topic: West best coaching staff? See Tom Dienhart, Sean Merriman and Brent Yarina’s picks in this post.

See our other 2014 predictions:

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Tom Dienhart: Minnesota. Few staffs have the connectivity of this one. The cohesion was on full display last season, when the Golden Gophers didn’t skip a beat when Jerry Kill missed time to tend to his health. It all begins with coordinators Matt Limegrover (offense) and Tracy Claeys (defense), who are seasoned and proven assistants.


Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Sean Merriman: Iowa. Kirk Ferentz enters his 16th season and is the dean of Big Ten coaches. However, it doesn’t stop there, as defensive coordinator Phil Parker has been there every step of the way, first as a DB coach. The duo has posted a combined 108-79 record since arriving in 1999, including five winning seasons over the past six years. Offensive coordinator Greg Davis enters his third season and has an impressive resume, spending the previous 12 seasons as the OC at Texas. Add it all up, and the trio has a combined 35 years in Iowa City, to go along with a lot of wins.


Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Brent Yarina: Wisconsin. Yes, after one season. Gary Andersen is a hot name in the coaching ranks. He led Bret Bielema’s players to a 9-4 record last year – Wisconsin went 8-6 in 2012 – and he’ll continue to add more of his philosophies (3-4 defense last season; spread this season) as he gets the appropriate personnel. An Urban Meyer protege, Andersen also has an up-and-comer in defensive coordinator Dave Aranda and a vet in offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig.


Your Opinion?
Show Comments (16 Comments)
huskerfanbb on 8/18/2014 @ 2:36pm EDT Said:


Few have done as little when given so much. He’s a year removed from a four WIN season–and you guys have nothing but criticism for a Nebraska coaching staff who has never LOST more than that in a season.

I have no problem with Minnesota getting the nod. Kill and co. have done a great job there. I would probably put Fitzgerald and Co. ahead of Anderson with only one year of data.

But Ferentz??? No way.

bob on 8/18/2014 @ 4:11pm EDT Said:

Typical Husker fan! Iowa kicked your butt at home last year and listen to you squeal! 🙂

kylejpie on 8/18/2014 @ 6:30pm EDT Said:

He also has 2 big ten championships and coached some of the best Iowa teams of all time. Everyone goes through bad patches when you coach a team for over a decade. Look at Dantonio.

Ian Waters on 8/18/2014 @ 6:46pm EDT Said:

Huskerfancrybb just hates Kirk, not the staff, because the question was coaching staff, right?
Got to hate a coach that produces more NFL talent than Bo and his black shirts, lol.

Todd on 8/18/2014 @ 7:03pm EDT Said:

Hey Huskerfanbb…. Perhaps you forgot the spanking that Ferentz and Iowa put on you in Lincoln last year….

Oh..and how many BCS bowls has Nebraska been to since joining the B1G? How many B1G titles has Nebraska won since joining the B1G? Has a Nebraska coach been named National Coach of the Year in the past 30 years?

Yeah..that’s what I thought Huskerfanbb. Here’s reality for you. Iowa has performed at a far more consistent level than Nebraska has since 2000. All under the guidance–of Kirk Ferentz.

iahawkfan99 on 8/18/2014 @ 7:03pm EDT Said:

Go Hawks!

Scott Meyer on 8/18/2014 @ 7:33pm EDT Said:

We will see you on Black Friday huskerfanbb! At least Ferentz has class. GO HAWKS!!!!

Moonunit on 8/18/2014 @ 8:19pm EDT Said:

MY MY MY, but the hawkeye fans haven’t been laid lately. a little touchy about their coach and his underachieving. We’ll be waiting for y”all come black Friday. Don’t blink as the 3 Amigo’s run all over your sorry BUTTS Defense.MUAhahahahahahaha

jim on 8/18/2014 @ 9:57pm EDT Said:

Holy Smoke – How can you ignore Northwestern’s staff that has been together for about 6 years now.

larry on 8/18/2014 @ 11:25pm EDT Said:

Ferentz, has done more by accident to developing 1,2 and three star recruit than bo has done on purpose and has more respect. Bo is a train wreck of personality.

Ed Crawford on 8/19/2014 @ 12:45am EDT Said:

I am hoping Black Friday is a huge payday for IOWA again this year!

Doug on 8/19/2014 @ 10:03am EDT Said:

Nice call Tom, as obvious as it seems to me.

Tim on 8/19/2014 @ 11:25am EDT Said:

Coach Ferentz has done more with developing mediocre talent than any coach in college football. I won’t bore you with stats, but take a look at the company Iowa keeps as it relates to putting guys in the NFL over the last 10 years. I will give you a hint (OSU and the real USC). and these schools NEVER get the top talent in the country, haha! GO HAWKS!!!

Craig on 8/19/2014 @ 8:40pm EDT Said:

Iowa, seriously? Ferentz is THE most overrated and over compensated coach in Division One. I find it interesting how much you Iowa fans display your indignation. I guess average works for you if you can continue to support this staff.

huskerfanbb on 8/19/2014 @ 9:07pm EDT Said:

So, then you are saying Ferentz can’t recruit then. Got it.

BC on 8/20/2014 @ 4:39pm EDT Said:

Interesting…I started thinking how bad these choices were with one exception, but then I thought about the choices, and think maybe the writers were just having a hard time because there really isn’t a great staff. In the East, you have at least 3 staffs that would likely be considered great. In the West, pretty tough to pick a great staff. Good, yes…great, no. The MN staff to me is the best and should be commended for the job they’ve done with a traditionally down program. With respect to Ferentz and company, not sure I’d call a staff that can’t recruit great, although perhaps they would be the winners of “talent maximization.” Wisky’s staff hasn’t been around long enough to really say one way or another, but looking good so far. I have a feeling they are going to be down this year; not sure why, but just a gut feel. Fitz’ choke job last year was epic, although he’d probably be the “Kill” of the years prior. Pelini’s staff is like a teenager; manic and great one day, while depressing and terrible the next. NU is totally unpredictable game to game, although amazingly consistent season to season.