College Football: Five New Defensive Coordinators To Watch

by Kyle Hunter

Monday, Aug 21, 2023
College football is about to kickoff this coming weekend. Week 0 doesn’t necessarily feature the biggest matchups ever, but for college football to be back is a reason to celebrate! 

I hit 70% in college football last year. I hit 66% in college football two seasons ago. The preparation for this year has been going on a lot in the last couple months. 

One of the things I think bettors should pay more attention to is new coordinators on both offense and defense. These guys can completely change the way a team plays. Let’s take a look at five new defensive coordinator hires that I think you should pay close attention to as the new season gets underway.

Lance Guidry (Miami Hurricanes) Guidry was at Marshall last year and the Thundering Herd were dominant all season long. Marshall finished top ten in the nation in 12 different defensive categories. Guidry’s defenses are known for their aggressiveness. Miami was continually picked on last year on defense despite having loads of highly talented players at each level. The Hurricanes were 103rd in yards per play allowed. Guidry will help them improve. The question is how much will they improve in year one. 

Jay Hill (BYU) Jay Hill was the head coach at Weber State the last few years. He now takes the defensive coordinator position at BYU. The BYU Cougars moved to the Big 12 this year, and this is a massive step up in class for both Hill and the entire BYU program. The BYU secondary was particularly bad last year. BYU finished 112th in Total QBR allowed last year. They were 115th in passing play success rate allowed. I’m skeptical that BYU will be able to slow down the Big 12 passing attacks.

Charles Kelly (Colorado) Coach Prime is in at Colorado and it will be a lot of fun to see how the season goes in Boulder. He did a great job getting top notch offensive and defensive coordinators. Charles Kelly left Alabama to lead the defense in Colorado. I don’t think it will be easy for this team to just flip the switch immediately, but there should be significant improvements. The secondary has some high end talent in McClain and Hunter. Can Kelly help the run defense? Colorado allowed 6.06 yards per carry last season.

Troy Reffett (New Mexico) Why would I put New Mexico on here? There are two major reasons. First, I love under the radar college football, because I believe there is more value there. Second, Reffett has big shoes to fill in this spot. I know the Lobos have been really bad the last couple years, but it wasn’t because of the defense. Rocky Long has been the defensive coordinator here, but he very surprisingly left to become DC at Syracuse. Long is one the best defensive minds in the country. New Mexico’s defense was consistently put in terrible positions by turnovers and poor special teams play. Until I see otherwise, I will assume Reffett is a downgrade.

Greg Gasparato (Troy) Troy is coming off a magical season where they went 12-2 and 11-3 ATS. The Trojans lost DC Shiel Wood to Tulane. They hired Greg Gasparato. He was with Louisville and helped the linebackers a year ago. Louisville had a whopping 50 sacks, and the Trojans are hoping Gasparato’s work with the front seven could help them stay ultra aggressive on defense. Troy is talking about playing faster this year, so that could hurt the overall defensive numbers. I would look closely at the efficiency based numbers rather than the raw numbers. 

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