Chuck Cook -US PRESSWIRE
Days after Southern Miss concluded one of the biggest collapses in college football history, Ellis Johnson is out as head coach. Time to bring back a piece of Larry Fedora's staff? Follow @SBNationCFB
In 2011, Southern Miss produced maybe its best team ever, winning 12 games and the Conference USA title. In 2012, Southern Miss produced maybe its worst team ever, losing 12 games in a down Conference USA and becoming one of only two winless teams in all of Division I (being associated with FCS Rhode Island: unfortunate). Thus, Ellis Johnson has reportedly been fired as head coach one year after replacing Larry Fedora, who left for UNC, according to Patrick Magee.
#SouthernMiss football coach Ellis Johnson will not return for the 2013 season— Patrick Magee (@Patrick_Magee) November 27, 2012
Johnson will receive the buyout as called for in his contract, about $2.1 million for the three remaining years— Tim Doherty (@TdohertyTim) November 27, 2012
It's not often you see a program opt for a one-and-done head coach, but it's very hard to make a case for retaining Johnson. The Golden Eagles suffered from bad injury luck and dropped a handful of close games, including one in overtime to possible Big East champ Louisville, but the results are the results, and USM fans began expressing mass discontentment around the 0-4 mark, with 0-7 hitting "unprecedented disaster" territory according to Matt Hinton ... let alone 0-12. Somebody's got to buy tickets.
As for replacements, the Golden Eagles could look to restore what Fedora built -- like, exactly what Fedora built. Pete Roussel reports Tar Heels offensive coordinator Blake Anderson could be the target. Anderson was in Hattiesburg from 2007 through 2011, and could conceivably reinstall a system very similar to Fedora's.
This was Johnson's first gig as a FBS head coach, and very likely his last. He should be able to land a spot as a defensive coordinator, if so inclined, as he has 12 years of SEC assistant experience included in his lengthy resume. As for where he goes now, well, Auburn needs a SEC-ready defensive coordinator.
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