Zach Arnett is out at Mississippi State after just one year as the head coach of the Bulldogs. After a 5-6 record as their head coach, the team lost 51-10 to Texas A&M, proving to be the final straw for Mississippi State’s administration.
Where could Arnett end up after this?
Where Could Zach Arnett Coach Next?
Arnett was a highly sought-after defensive coordinator when he was at Mississippi State and San Diego State. Only Alabama and Georgia boasted better defensive EPA numbers in 2022 than Arnett’s Mississippi State squad.
Many believe Arnett would have landed a larger Power Five job had the tragic passing of Mike Leach not happened so suddenly. Now, with him hitting the carousel, where could he land?
USC fired Alex Grinch after several abysmal defensive performances this season. Arnett spent years on the West Coast at San Diego State and ran a successful defense at both SDSU and Mississippi State. With his experience as a head coach and proven success with an SEC defense, he could help get the USC defense back on track.
Lincoln Riley has turned to the Mike Leach tree often in his career. With Arnett’s success under Leach, that could be another link prompting Riley to pursue Arnett.
LSU’s defense has been one of the worst in college football this season, holding back a historic offense. Arnett is already proven as a defensive coordinator in the SEC West while operating with a fast-paced offense under Mike Leach’s Air Raid, an important trait if LSU can sustain this level of offensive play.
South Carolina Gamecocks
South Carolina was heavily interested in Arnett as Shane Beamer‘s defensive coordinator when Beamer was hired, but South Carolina hired Clayton White instead. After two years of middling defensive play, it might be time for South Carolina to look elsewhere.
For the same reasons USC would be interested in Arnett, Washington should be as well. Arnett has proven West Coast ties with his experience at San Diego State. Washington hasn’t fired their defensive coordinator amidst a Playoff run, but the defense has been a clear weakness of the team so far, and that is why many are questioning their ability to make any Playoff game a competitive one.
San Diego State Aztecs
San Diego State announced that head coach Brady Hoke will retire at the end of the season after a 3-7 start to their season. Arnett was part of San Diego State’s best recent years on staff and developed many of San Diego State’s best players in the 2010s. Arnett has all the ties to the university and is almost 30 years younger than Hoke.
If SDSU can lure him away from the Power Five, this could be a coup for the Aztecs’ program.