Fortuna Files: Staff changes have begun, which means more are likely imminent
Indiana and Georgia Tech made staff changes as the calendar flips to October. Northwestern is stuck in no-man's land. And plenty of other on- and off-field action dominates the discussion this week.
Shake me up when September ends.
That was the motto for two Power 5 programs on the first day of the new month, as Sunday gave way to a coordinator firing in the Big Ten and a coordinator demotion in the ACC.
Indiana boss Tom Allen fired play-caller Walt Bell after a 44-17 loss at Maryland dropped the Hoosiers to 2-3, with one of those wins over FCS Indiana State and the other a four-overtime victory over an Akron team that won two games last year. Rod Carey, the former Northern Illinois and Temple head coach, will take over as OC the rest of the way.
First-year Georgia Tech head coach Brent Key demoted Andrew Thacker to safeties coach, elevating Kevin Sherrer to defensive coordinator after a head-scratching 38-27 home loss to Bowling Green.
Start with Indiana, which is now 8-21 overall and 2-18 in Big Ten play since its charmed 2020 run to a 6-2 record. Bell, the former UMass head coach, was brought in last year — after the program lost Michael Penix Jr. — to fix an offense that finished 124th nationally in total offense and 127th in yards per play.
The returns had been much of the same, with the Hoosiers finishing 110th in total offense last year and 126th in yards per play. Through five games this fall, they were 109th and 111th, respectively, in each category, and this is a team that enters its open date having yet to play Michigan, Penn State or Wisconsin.
At 20.8 points per game, Indiana’s offense ranks 113th nationally in scoring, behind even Iowa — which, of course, remains stagnant at the OC spot, even after its special teams bailed it out yet again. (The Hawkeyes have two non-offensive touchdowns among their 12 this year.)
Carey, who had been in a quality control role, takes over as a position coach for the second straight season, as Allen had fired offensive line coach Darren Hiller six games into last season, with Carey then taking over O-line duties.
Allen’s buyout is in the $20 million range, which is less prohibitive in the Big Ten than it is elsewhere. Still, that’s a lot of dough, and he’s done a lot of tinkering, none of which has seemed to strike the right chord across the past three seasons.