Sidelines with John Clay

SEC football offensive coordinators for 2019 season

In my Kentucky football “in or out” column, I mentioned UK offensive coordinator Eddie Gran.

Here’s a look at the offensive coordinators for all 14 SEC teams heading into the 2019 college football season.


Florida — Billy Gonzales and John Hevesy. Gonzales coaches the Gators’ wide receivers. Hevesy coaches the Gators’ offensive line. But it’s head coach Dan Mullen who calls Florida’s plays. After all, Mullen was Urban Meyer’s offensive coordinator at Florida before becoming head coach at Mississippi State. Gonzales was with Mullen in Starkville from 2013 through 2017. Before that, he was wide receivers coach at Illinois (2012) and passing game coordinator at LSU (2010-11). Hevesy was Florida’s assistant offensive line coach (2005-07) and tight ends coach (2008) before following Mullen to Mississippi State.

Florida’s 2018 total offense ranking: 42nd.

Georgia — James Coley. Head coach Kirby Smart promoted Coley to offensive coordinator after Jim Chaney left for Tennessee. Coley was the Bulldogs’ wide receivers coach in 2016 and 2017 before working with the quarterbacks in 2018. Before coming to Athens, Coley had spent a decade in Florida. He was an offensive assistant wit the NFL’s Miami Dolphins in 2005-06, offensive coordinator at Florida International in 2007, then on Jimbo Fisher’s staff rom 2008 through 2012, the last three of those years with current UK coach Mark Stoops. Coley moved to Miami from 2013 through 2015 before being hired by Smart.

Georgia’s 2018 total offense ranking: 18th.

Kentucky — Eddie Gran. The longtime SEC assistant is starting his fourth year as Mark Stoops’ offensive coordinator at Kentucky. Gran served as Tommy Tuberville’s running backs coach at Ole Miss (1995-98) and Auburn (2008) before spending a year (2009) at Tennessee. He helped run Jimbo Fisher’s offense at Florida State (2010-12) before re-joining Tuberville to be offensive coordinator at Cincinnati in 2013. After parting ways with Shannon Dawson, Stoops hired Gran away from UC in 2016. There were reports that Gran was approached about Georgia’s OC job in 2019 but chose to remain at UK.

Kentucky’s 2018 total offense ranking: 104th.

Missouri — Derek Dooley. Skepticism greeted the former Tennessee head coach when he arrived in Columbia to coordinate the Missouri offense. The Tigers ended up with a top-15 offense behind quarterback Drew Lock, however. The son of legendary Georgia coach Vince Dooley, Derek coached with Nick Saban at LSU (2000-04) and the Miami Dolphins (2005-06) before becoming head coach at Louisiana Tech in 2007. He went 15-21 at Tennessee from 2010-12 before being fired. He spent five seasons as wide receivers coach with the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys before being hired by Mizzou Coach Barry Odom.

Missouri’s 2018 total offense ranking: 13th.

South Carolina — Bryan McClendon. The former Georgia wide receiver is heading into his second full season as Will Muschamp’s offensive coordinator in Columbia. After his playing days, McClendon was running backs coach at Georgia from 2009 through 2014. He switched to running backs in 2015 before joining Muschamp, himself a former Bulldog, at South Carolina in 2016. When Muschamp fired offensive coordinator and former UK assistant Kurt Roper before the team’s 2017 Outback Bowl game against Michigan, McClendon was promoted to play-caller.

South Carolina’s 2018 total offense ranking: 43rd.

Tennessee — Jim Chaney. The well-traveled Chaney is starting his second stint as the Volunteers’ offensive coordinator. He was the UT play-caller for first Lane Kiffin and then Derek Dooley from 2009-12. He spent two years (2013-14) as offensive coordinator at Arkansas and one year as offensive coordinator at Pittsburgh (2015) before joining Will Muschamp at Georgia in 2016. UT coach Jeremy Pruitt coaxed Chaney away from Athens after his former OC Tyson Helton was named head coach at Western Kentucky.

Tennessee’s 2018 total offense ranking: 122nd.

Vanderbilt — Gerry Gdowski. When Andy Ludwig left for Utah, Vandy head coach Derek Mason promoted Gdowski to offensive coordinator. The Nebraska native had served as Vandy’s recruiting coordinator and tight ends coach (2014-15) and quarterbacks coach (2016-18) before being handed the play-calling duties. Prior to his time in Nashville, Gdowski coached at Ohio U. (2005-13), New Mexico State (1998-2004), South Dakota State (1994-97) and Nebraska (1991-93).

Vanderbilt’s 2018 total offense ranking: 59th.


Alabama — Steve Sarkisian. The former USC head coach is back calling plays for Nick Saban after a two-year side trip with the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons. A former college quarterback at BYU, Sarkisian was Pete Carroll’s quarterbacks coach at USC from 2001-03, then Lane Kiffin’s quarterbacks coach with the NFL’s Oakland Raiders in 2004 before returning to USC in 2005. He went 34-29 as Washington’s head coach from 2009 through 2013, then 12-6 as USC’s head coach before being fired during the 2015 season after taking a leave of absence of an alcohol problem. Saban hired Sarkisian as an offensive analyst with Alabama in 2016 and the coach called the plays in Bama’s national title loss to Clemson after Kiffin became head coach at Florida Atlantic. Sarkisian was Dan Quinn’s OC with the Falcons before returning to Tuscaloosa to replace Mike Locksley, who was named head coach at Maryland.

Alabama’s 2018 total offense ranking: 6th.

Arkansas — Joe Craddock. Just 33 years old, Craddock was a quarterback at Middle Tennessee State from 2005 through 2008. He began his coaching career at Briarwood Christian High School in Alabama in 2010. Clemson’s Dabo Swinney hired Craddock to be an offensive player development coach in 2012. He was a grad assistant Clemson (2013-14) before following then Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris to SMU. Craddock was the offensive coordinator for the Mustangs from 2015-17 before following Morris to Arkansas, where the Razorbacks were 2-10 last season.

Arkansas’ 2018 total offense ranking: 118th.

Auburn — Kenny Dillingham and Kodi Burns. Head coach Gus Malzahn has decided to return to play-calling duties after offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey left to succeed Neal Brown as the head coach at Troy. But to help coordinate the offense, Malzahn hired Dillingham, who was offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach the last three years under Mike Norvell at Memphis. Burns is a former Auburn quarterback/wide receiver who coached Samford’s running backs in 2014 and Middle Tennessee’s wide receivers in 2015 before joining the Auburn staff in 2016. He also coaches the Tigers’ wide receivers.

Auburn’s 2018 total offense ranking: 79th.

LSU — Steve Ensminger. The 60-year-old Ensminger is a former Tigers’ quarterback who has been with the program since 2010. Ensminger was offensive coordinator at McNeese State (1984-86), Louisiana Tech (1988-90), Texas A&M (1994-96) and Clemson (1997-98) before joining Auburn in 2003. He was hired as LSU’s tight ends coach in 2010. He also coached the quarterbacks before being elevated to offensive coordinator last year after head coach Ed Orgeron and former OC Matt Canada agreed to part ways.

LSU’s 2018 total offense ranking: 69th.

Ole Miss — Rich Rodriguez. The 56-year-old Rodriguez takes over the Rebels’ offense after being a head coach since 2001. A former offensive coordinator under Tommy Bowden at Tulane and Clemson, Rodriguez went 60-26 in seven seasons (2001-07) as West Virginia’s head coach. He left for Michigan in 2008, but was fired after going just 15-22 in three seasons. After spending a year out of football, Rodriguez took over at Arizona in 2012. He was 45-35 before being forced out over sexual harassment allegations. Rodriguez admitted to having an affair, but denied the misconduct allegations. He was out of football last season before being hired by Ole Miss Coach Matt Luke on a three-year contract to replace Phil Longo, who left to become Mack Brown’s OC at North Carolina.

Ole Miss’ 2018 total offense ranking: 9th.

Mississippi State — Joe Moorhead. That would be head coach Joe Moorhead, who was offensive coordinator at Penn State under James Franklin for the 2016 and 2017 seasons. Before that, Moorhead was an assistant at Georgetown University (2000-03), Akron (2004-08) and Connecticut (2009-11) before becoming head coach at his alma mater of Fordham in 2012. He was 38-13 in four years at the school before being hired by Franklin at PSU. AD John Cohen hired Moorhead to replace the departed Dan Mullen as Mississippi State head coach last year. With Moorhead calling the plays, The Bulldogs finished 8-5 overall and 4-4 in the SEC.

Mississippi State’s 2018 total offense ranking: 71st.

Texas A&M — Darrell Dickey. Head coach Jimbo Fisher calls the plays in College Station, but the 59-year-old Dickey is a valued assistant with plenty of college and SEC experience. Dickey played quarterback for his father Jim Dickey at Kansas State before becoming an assistant coach at Memphis, (1988-89), Mississippi State (1990), LSU (1991-93), UTEP (1994-96), SMU (1997). He was 42-64 as the head coach at North Texas from 1998 through 2006. He was offensive coordinator at Utah State (2007-08), New Mexico (2009-10), Texas State (2011) and Memphis (2012-17) before joining Fisher with the Aggies.

Texas A&M’s 2018 total offense ranking: 15th.

SEC football defensive coordinators for 2019 season

2018 SEC standings


Georgia 7-1

Kentucky 5-3

Florida 5-3

South Carolina 4-4

Missouri 4-4

Vanderbilt 3-5

Tennessee 2-6


Alabama 8-0

Texas A&M 5-3

LSU 5-3

Miss State 4-4

Auburn 3-5

Ole Miss 1-7

Arkansas 0-8

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