3. Mike Tressel
Sometimes to move forward, you have to look back.
If I were to tell you that I want Jonathan Smith to bring back a former Mark Dantonio disciple, you might get nervous. But looking back, our anger was towards Dantonio for not replacing his offensive coaches, and blamed the offense for a lot of issues.
Let’s take the 2018 season for example. While the team went 7-6, the defense was 13th in the nation in points allowed per game, was the only Big Ten school to allow less than 1,000 rush yards, and saw Kenny Willikes, a former walk-on, win Big Ten Defensive Player in the Year.
Smith wants player development and there’s no better example than Mike Tressel-led defenses of the 2010s.
Also, in those six losses, the defense held the opposing offense to under 30 points in every single one. Three of those losses were by three points or less and the offense was completely to blame. The losses include 16-13 to Arizona State, a 9-6 loss to Nebraska, and who could forget the legendary Red Box Bowl, where the defense held the Justin Herbert-led Oregon Ducks, who were averaging 27 points per game, to just seven points. Lucky for Herbert and Oregon, Dave Warner was calling plays for the Spartans and that’s all they needed to win 7-6 in the worst college football game ever played.
Tressel already has ties to the school obviously, has stayed in the area (currently the DC for Wisconsin), and has a history of turning low-rated recruits into stars. Smith can just call Dantonio and I’m sure he’ll get a glowing recommendation.