San Diego State
Unlike their conference peers, the Aztecs went in a different direction to replace Jeff Horton as offensive coordinator. Ryan Lindley certainly has the cachet to make things happen on the Mesa, however: He owns the school records for career passing yards, passing touchdowns, career starts, and more as a four-year starting quarterback who played from 2008 to 2011.
That enabled him to get selected by the Arizona Cardinals in the sixth round of the 2012 NFL Draft, and he made six starts in four seasons before a one-year stint with the CFL’s Ottawa Redblacks in 2017 concluded his playing career. From there, he’d return to San Diego State as a graduate assistant until the Cleveland Browns hired him as a running backs coach under Freddie Kitchens in October 2018. He’d shift to coach quarterbacks the following January, though Baker Mayfield threw 21 interceptions in 2019, the second-most in the NFL, and Kitchens would be fired in December.
Lindley then spent a year as an offensive analyst at Utah and another as a defensive analyst at Mississippi State, working alongside Andy Ludwig and Zach Arnett, both of whom have a SDSU connection themselves. Brady Hoke brought him on as quarterbacks coach last October, and he deserves some credit for the emergence of Jalen Mayden, who averaged the most yards per attempt by an Aztecs quarterback with at least 100 attempts since… Ryan Lindley himself in 2010.
Michael Scherer hasn’t generated as much hype as the other new Rebel coordinator (more on him in a minute), but his quick rise makes him a coach that Power 5 programs could have their eye on in a year or two if he makes good on his potential. He played linebacker for new UNLV head coach Barry Odom when Odom was the defensive coordinator under Gary Pinkel at Missouri, then served as a graduate assistant under Odom in 2019 before the pair jumped to Arkansas.
His first role with the Razorbacks was as a defensive analyst, but that lasted only one year before Sam Pittman tabbed him to be linebackers coach in 2020. Though that stint lasted just two seasons, Scherer had a large impact: Grant Morgan won the Burlsworth Trophy as the nation’s top former walk-on athlete in 2021 and ended that year as one of three Arkansas linebackers with 100+ tackles, while Bumper Pool would set a new program record for career tackles and Drew Sanders became Arkansas’s first Butkus Award finalist in 2022.
Just 29 years old, Scherer could be a hot commodity in the very near future if everything goes according to play in Las Vegas. Of course, the same could be said of Brennan Marion, UNLV’s new offensive coordinator, as well. An all-conference wide receiver at Tulsa in his playing days, Marion didn’t waste much time at all developing a reputation as a turnaround artist, first as a high school coach in California and Pennsylvania and then as quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator at Howard beginning in 2017. Rebels fans got a taste of what’s known as the “Go-Go” offense when the Bison shocked UNLV as 45-point underdogs that year, the largest upset in college football history, but Marion’s offense ranked 13th and 25th by yards per play in 2017 and 2018.
When he jumped to the same roles at William and Mary in 2019, the Tribe saw a huge jump in production. After averaging 3.99 yards per play before his arrival, W&M improved to 5.09 YPP and nearly doubled their points per game for good measure. He then coached for Todd Graham as Hawaii’s wide receivers coach in 2020, where he helped Calvin Turner Jr. finish second in the Mountain West by all-purpose yards per game, and for Pat Narduzzi at Pitt in 2021, where Jordan Addison would win the Biletnikoff Award as college football’s top wide receiver.
Last season, Marion coached wide receivers and coordinated the passing game at Texas, guiding Xavier Worthy to nine receiving touchdowns, the most in the Big 12, and Jordan Whittington joined him as the first pair of Longhorns pass catchers with 50 receptions in the same season since 2018.