An early look at the top head coaching candidates for Colorado football

Something has been brewing for a while now and coming off a disappointing 0-5 start to the 2022 season, head coach Karl Dorrell and defensive coordinator Chris Wilson, have been let go.

The writing was on the wall, not only with the play on the field being historically bad but with leadership within the university voicing their concern over the state of the program.

With this news will come a wave of optimism and excitement over who could be the next lead man at Colorado. Instead of waiting around, the Buffs joined the likes of Georgia Tech, Arizona State and Nebraska in identifying an issue and rectifying it.

Here are some early names I believe we should keep an eye on for the head coaching job at Colorado:

Nick Saban's offensive coordinator: Bill O'Brien

[Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.]

Current Alabama offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien flamed out as a head coach in the NFL. But, he has jumped back into the pool of college head coaching candidates with his work on the offensive side of the ball at Alabama. O’Brien was previously the head coach at Penn State for two years where he compiled a 15-9 record before making the jump to the NFL.

The prodigal son returns: Ryan Walters

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Ryan Walters was a hard-hitting safety at Colorado who famously led the defense that shut down Sam Bradford and the high-flying Oklahoma offense in 2007. Walters has now made quite the name for himself in his coaching career. He currently leads the No. 1 scoring defense in all of college football at Illinois as its defensive coordinator.

But, there’s also this:

The king of Colorado football: Troy Calhoun

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Troy Calhoun has owned the state of Colorado for several years now and was part of the candidate pool when Mel Tucker left the program. Calhoun would need to make the move away from the triple-option, but he could still utilize some of those principles along with a pro-style attack he would have picked up from his time with the Denver Broncos.

However, his recent recruiting violations are concerning.

Poaching from Sin City: Marcus Arroyo

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Marcus Arroyo is probably more of an unknown name and his record won’t jump out at you (6-17 so far at UNLV). But with his start this year (4-1) and his knowledge of the Pac-12 — he was Oregon’s offensive coordinator for three seasons — look for Arroyo’s name to come up frequently.

The FCS king: Matt Entz

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Matt Entz comes from the Football Championship Subdivision powerhouse that is North Dakota State. Entz already has two national titles to his name and could be the next NDSU coach to make the jump to Power Five football.

The offensive guru: Todd Monken

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Todd Monken has done wonders for the Georgia Bulldogs’ offense, largely by turning Stetson Bennett into one of the best quarterbacks in all of college football.

Another defensive option: Alex Grinch

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USC sent Colorado into a swirl this offseason when the Trojan announced they would be leaving for the Big Ten. How sweet would it be to poach one of their top assistants on their way out? Alex Grinch is in his first year as USC’s defensive coordinator and he has turned around a defense that gave up more than 30 points a game into a unit that is only allowing 19.6 a contest.

A prime candidate: Deion Sanders

Jackson State football coach Deion Sanders on the sideline during a game against Mississippi Valley State in Jackson, Mississippi on Sept. 24, 2022.
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Deion Sanders has already shown that he can recruit the best talent down to Jackson state, but what could he do with the flatirons in his backyard? This would be another flashy hire that would need significant backing by the administration at every level to make it work, but what Buffaloes fan wouldn’t want to see Prime Time roaming the sidelines?

Legend gets a second chance: Eric Bieniemy

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Eric Bieniemy was the offensive coordinator for the Buffaloes during the short Jon Embree tenure. Bieniemy has since moved into the NFL and is currently the offensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs and Andy Reid. Could Colorado give Bieniemy another shot at turning around the football program?

Story originally appeared on Buffaloes Wire