How Dan Lanning, Mario Cristobal, Joe Moorhead graded as head coaches on new teams in 2022




 

While every head coach in college football takes stock at the end of each season and looks back to see where they can improve the most, that is especially true for coaches on new teams, and in particular, first-year head coaches, like Dan Lanning.

The Oregon Ducks' first-year head man had a solid start to his coaching career, leading his team to a 9-3 finish. The upside was certainly there, with the Ducks at one time vying for a College Football Playoff spot, but the season ended on a low note, losing to the Oregon State Beavers on the road just two weeks after losing to the Washington Huskies at home, derailing Oregon's postseason plans.

So how did Lanning's first year go as far as the national media's opinion is concerned? How did Oregon's head coach fare compared to the likes of Mario Cristobal, who was in his first year with the Miami Hurricanes? Or perhaps Joe Moorhead in his first year with Akron? What about Lincoln Riley at USC?

Let's take a look at the coaching grades according to USA TODAY:

Mario Cristobal - Miami Hurricanes (5-7)

 

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Coaching Grade: D+

It was a fun year for pettiness in Eugene, to say the least. As Oregon fans were angry that Cristobal would leave the Ducks for his alma mater in Miami, they had a lot to poke fun at as Mario struggled mightily to right the ship in South Beach, suffering embarrassing blowout losses and a lot of turmoil. It's worth noting that Cristobal is the lowest-graded head coach on this list from USA TODAY. However, things will surely change for Cristobal going forward, as a couple of top-notch recruiting classes in 2022 and 2023 come to save the day. Here's what USA TODAY had to say about Cristobal:

Ken Wilson - Nevada Wolfpack (2-10)

 

Coaching Grade: D

It sure is a bleak outlook for coaches who chose to leave the Ducks and try to find success elsewhere, isn't it? Add Ken Wilson to the list of guys who is struggling to get another program up and running after winning in Oregon. Wilson's Nevada Wolfpack was uncompetitive this season, but there's hope that they can turn things around in his second season. Here's what USA TODAY had to say about Wilson:

Joe Moorhead - Akron Zips (2-9)

 

Coaching Grade: C-

Joe Moorhead, the former offensive coordinator for the Oregon Ducks, had a tough time getting started at Akron this year, but that's to be expected when taking over a small program that hasn't found much success in the past. Here's what USA TODAY had to say about Moorhead:

Jake Dickert - Washington State Cougars (7-5)

 

James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Coaching Grade: B-

After a strong showing as an interim coach in 2021, Jake Dickert kept things rolling in the right direction with the Cougars this season and has them set up for some success going forward. They may not be Pac-12 Championship-worthy just yet, but things are heading that way eventually. Here's what USA TODAY had to say about Dickert:

Dan Lanning - Oregon Ducks (9-3)

 

Coaching Grade: B-

If you want to look at Dan Lanning's first year with the Ducks in a positive light, you can. If you want to see it in a negative light, that's easy to do as well. What once looked like a promising season with a potential College Football Playoff or Rose Bowl appearance quickly turned into disaster, with a pair of losses against Oregon's biggest rivals. Now they will likely play in the Holiday Bowl or Las Vegas Bowl, and have a lot of questions to answer going forward. Here's what USA TODAY had to say about Lanning:

Lincoln Riley - USC Trojans (11-1)

 

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Coaching Grade: A

It was quite the turnaround for the USC Trojans in 2022, and it's mostly thanks to the addition of Lincoln Riley and QB Caleb Williams. The Trojans are playing for a Pac-12 Championship on Friday night, and a win over the Utah Utes will send them to the College Football Playoff. Considering where this program has been for the past decade or so, that's a massive win for the head coach. Here's what USA TODAY had to say about Riley:

Kalen DeBoer - Washington Huskies (10-2)

 

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Coaching Grade: A

Much like USC, Washington saw quite an impressive turnaround under head coach Kalen DeBoer. Not only were the Huskies able to upset the rival Ducks in Eugene and beat Washington State in the Apple Cup, but they are likely in line to make it to the Rose Bowl as well. Here's what USA TODAY had to say about DeBoer:

Story originally appeared on Ducks Wire

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