Mississippi State made the decision on Monday to move on from Zach Arnett just 10 games into his tenure at the school. The Bulldogs currently sit 4-6 (1-6 in SEC) on the year and must win out (with games left against Southern Miss and Ole Miss) to reach bowl eligibility.
Arnett, the program’s previous Defensive Coordinator, was in an almost impossible situation stepping in for the late Mike Leach. Arnett was also tasked with transitioning away from Leach’s Air Raid to a different style of offense, which was tenuous at best.
The Bulldogs offense faltered down the stretch, averaging just 8.25 points per game over their last four games. To make the job even tougher for Arnett, quarterback Will Rogers has now missed the last several games due to injury with his lack of availability raising questions about his future with the program.
Overall, Arnett was in a no-win situation at State, but many fans will tell you that it was time to move on. Arnett stepped in when Mississippi State needed a leader to see them through an impossibly difficult situation (their beloved Head Coach passing nearing the end of a football season), but it just wasn’t working with Arnett as the Head Coach.
Moving forward, Mississippi State now joins the fray of teams looking for a new Head Coach. There are a lot of candidates out there who make sense (not all who could be fit in here), but here are my top five predictions for Mississippi State’s next head football coach:
Predictions for Mississippi State’s next head football coach
Jamey Chadwell (Liberty Head Coach) – Chadwell seems to be a top candidate on most people’s boards for the Mississippi State coaching job. Chadwell has been a name in several mid-level Power Five openings the last two years, but has yet to really be a full-on finalist. I think that changes this year (and State moving on from Arnett during the season could give them a leg-up on getting Chadwell). Chadwell is an innovative offensive-mind who brings a unique almost hybrid Triple Option-RPO attack that has now worked well at two different places. Chadwell made a name for himself at Coastal Carolina where he helped quickly turn the Chanticleers into one of the most exciting and best Group of Five teams in the nation. Chadwell went 39-22 in his four years (2019-2022) in Conway, highlighted by back-to-back 11 win seasons in 2020 and 2021. Coastal’s offense averaged 37.2 points per game (18th nationally) and 449.8 yards per game (25th) in 2020, and followed that up with even better 40.9 points per game (5th) and 494.7 yards per game (4th) in 2021. Chadwell also worked wonders for QB Grayson McCall who combined for a 70.4% completion percentage, 8,061 passing yards, 77 passing TD’s, just 8 INT’s, 1,054 rushing yards, and 17 rushing TD’s from 2020-2022 (and he has struggled this year in a different offense without Chadwell). Chadwell then left CCU to go to Liberty this past offseason, where he has once again had a lot of success. The Flames currently sit 10-0 and are right in the thick of the Gof5 New Year Six bowl discussion in his first season at Liberty.