A pair of former Oklahoma assistant coaches topped USA TODAY Sports’ Paul Myerberg’s head coaching hires re-rank for 2021.
Josh Heupel is the last Oklahoma quarterback to lead the Sooners to a national championship with his epic campaign in the 2000 season.
Though Heupel’s tenure as Oklahoma’s offensive coordinator ended after a 40-6 loss to Clemson in the 2014 Russell Athletic Bowl, Heupel has carved out a great coaching career since.
Following stints as the offensive coordinator at Utah State and Missouri, Heupel took his first head coaching job at UCF in 2018. Heupel compiled a 28-8 record over his three seasons leading the Golden Knights.
Of course, Tennessee hired Heupel before this season. Now, Heupel earned the top spot in Myerberg’s head coaching hires re-rank for 2021.
Tennessee is 7-5 heading into the Music City Bowl against Purdue and, as expected, among the best in the SEC on offense: third in scoring (38.8 points per game), fourth in total offense and sixth in yards per play. Under Heupel, quarterback Hendon Hooker led the SEC in efficiency rating and finished fourth in touchdown passes. The Volunteers have taken a big step forward under Heupel and are ahead of schedule. – Myerberg, USA TODAY Sports
Joining Heupel at the top of Myerberg’s head coaching hires re-rank for 2021 is former OU assistant Shane Beamer in the No. 2 spot. Beamer served as Oklahoma’s assistant head coach for offense and tight ends coach from 2018-20.
Here’s what Myerberg wrote about Beamer.
The Gamecocks pulled off the most unexpected bowl trip in the Power Five in Beamer’s debut. Pulling off three wins in the SEC and six wins overall while digging deep to find quarterback play bodes well for South Carolina’s chances with Oklahoma transfer Spencer Rattler under center in 2022. Hiring an assistant who worked under Steve Spurrier, Frank Beamer, Kirby Smart and Lincoln Riley was a good idea. Who would’ve thought? – Myerberg, USA TODAY Sports
Texas head football coach Steve Sarkisian was originally ranked No. 3 in USA TODAY Sports’ head coaching hires rankings for 2021 last winter. Now, after the Longhorns stumbled to a 5-7 finish and failed to reach a bowl game, Sarkisian plummeted to No. 9 in Myerberg’s re-rank.
What should we make of Sarkisian’s first year? Texas had the program’s longest losing streak in nearly 70 years. Sarkisian became just the program’s second coach since World War II to post a losing record in his first year, joining Charlie Strong. But the recruiting machine is rolling, the roster is getting a huge influx of talent—including quarterback Quinn Ewers—and there is some hope that 2022 will yield something better. – Myerberg, USA TODAY Sports
Kansas’ Lance Leipold also checked in at No. 4 on Myerberg’s re-rank.
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