Did Michigan State Get It Right By Hiring Jonathan Smith?
For the first time in three months, Michigan State has a football coach without an interim tag.
The Spartans officially hired Jonathan Smith away from Oregon State, his alma mater, over the weekend. Smith is the 26th head football coach in MSU history. He'll be formally introduced at a press conference on Tuesday.
Smith, 44, went 34-35 in six seasons at Oregon State, including an 18-7 mark over the last two years. OSU topped out at No. 10 nationally earlier this month and finished the regular season ranked 21st.
A native of Pasadena, he played quarterback for the Beavers from 1998 to 2001, including during OSU's 11-1 run in 2000 that culminated in a Pac-10 championship and Fiesta Bowl blowout of Notre Dame.
So, what can we expect out of Michigan State in the Johnathan Smith era? Physical, explosive offense that maximizes usage of tight ends, for one, as well as nasty, hard-to-diagnose defense.
It might take a while for Smith to get things going, though. He didn't post a winning record until his fourth season in Corvallis, and he didn't get over the .500 mark for his career until Week 11 this year. That above-.500 status lasted for just one game, too. To be fair, Smith inherited an absolutely awful situation at Oregon State, one far worse than what he's stepping into now. The Beavers had won just seven games over the three seasons prior to Smith becoming head coach, which included two 0-9 campaigns in Pac-12 play.
Here's what MSU athletic director Alan Haller had to say about the man he chose to lead the football program he played for:
Jonathan has a proven track record of success, building the Oregon State program from the ground up by implementing a plan resulting in sustained historic success for the Beavers. He's been a part of championship staffs, coached in the College Football playoff, and understands what's required to be successful at the highest level, learning from some of the game's most successful coaches. On the field, his teams are tough and physical, yet innovative...
He's shown not only the ability to recruit talented student-athletes who fit his system, but also to develop and maximize players once they're in the program. At his core, he's a quarterbacks coach, and throughout his career he's been instrumental in the development of young quarterbacks, which is essential in today's college football landscape.