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10 new faces in new places

The college football offseason had plenty of compelling storylines. Conference expansion and sports agents have been the two hot-button topics during the summer. But there was a lot of turnover with head coaches since the end of last season.

Here are 10 significant new head coaches this season:

Brian Kelly, Notre Dame
Unlike when Charlie Weis arrived in South Bend,  Kelly has had success at the college level. He built strong programs —  and high-scoring offenses —  at Division II Grand Valley State, Central Michigan and Cincinnati. Kelly is also a top-notch recruiter. Just from his introductory news conference at Notre Dame, you could immediately tell that the Irish found the right guy to turn things around.

Lane Kiffin, USC
With USC under NCAA sanctions, including missing out on bowl games for the next two seasons, Kiffin will have time to build his program. But Kiffin is going to have a hard time convincing recruits to come to the school, at least until the postseason ban ends. Kiffin also will need to contend with rival UCLA, which is building momentum under Rick Neuheisel.

Jimbo Fisher, Florida State
Fisher is familiar with the program after having been the offensive coordinator and coach-in-waiting. He already has proven to be an ace recruiter. But on top of having to follow the legendary Bobby Bowden, Fisher must contend with Florida and Miami for recognition in a football-crazy state.

Turner Gill, Kansas
Gill seems to be a great fit for the Jayhawks. He has plenty of experience in the Big 12 as an assistant and player for Nebraska. He also did a remarkable job turning around a horrible program at Buffalo.

Charlie Strong, Louisville
Strong had been the defensive coordinator at Florida. That should say a lot about how lucky Louisville was to land him. There’s no doubt Strong will be able to recruit well.

Tommy Tuberville, Texas Tech
Tuberville had a nice run at Auburn. He said in his introductory news conference that he planned to keep Texas Tech’s pass-heavy offense. The Red Raiders will need Tuberville’s defensive experience from his SEC days.

Derek Dooley, Tennessee
Dooley won only 17 games in three seasons at Louisiana Tech. His dad, Vince, was an SEC coaching legend at Georgia. So he has some background with the conference. Expect strong leadership from Dooley as he tries to lead the program back to the SEC’s elite. Dooley, however, has very little room for error. Tennessee can’t afford to take a step back in the ultra-competitive SEC.

Skip Holtz, South Florida
South Florida did a nice job in landing Holtz, who had a very impressive run at East Carolina. Jim Leavitt built the program at South Florida, but Holtz will be expected to win Big East titles and get into BCS games.

Mike London, Virginia
London was an assistant at Virginia and had great success as the head coach at Richmond. He already has done well by landing some solid recruits for the Cavaliers, but he needs to get the program to Virginia Tech’s level to really make a serious push in the ACC.

Ruffin McNeill, East Carolina
McNeill, dismissed after leading Texas Tech to an Alamo Bowl win over Michigan State in Mike Leach’s absence, returns to his roots. An East Carolina graduate, McNeill is known as a defensive coach. He  developed strong bonds with the players at Texas Tech, and those skills certainly will help him on the recruiting trail. McNeill has taken former Texas Tech offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley and the spread offense to East Carolina

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