Coaching shakeup at MSU 

November, 2, 2006
John L. Smith is, by all accounts, a heckuva guy, but it was one of the worst-kept secrets around that he wasn't going to last the season at Michigan State. I did a few radio shows yesterday and the questions came up about how good of a job is the MSU opening. I don't think it's on the level of Ohio State, Michigan or Penn State, but it's not Indiana or Northwestern either. In fact, I think it's closer to the top than the bottom. MSU has a storied tradition and it sits in a pretty fertile recruiting area. However, the program needs to break its cycle of underachieving or, as what sounds like, the culture of losing. John L. should've succeeded at MSU, but he never could overcome that mind-set.

It's going to be fascinating to see how this coaching search shakes out. The names I've heard as possible successors are Tom Izzo's pal, Steve Mariucci; Eagles QB coach Pat Shurmur (a former MSU player and coach); Cincy's Mark Dantonio (a former Nick Saban assistant) and Ron English, Michigan's first-year D-coordinator, who I got to know a bit from working on that Myron Rolle recruiting story a while back. That guy is a recruiting machine and hiring him might be seen as addition by subtraction in regards to taking him away from the Wolverines.