4. Blake Anderson, Arkansas State head coach
Anderson is 47-30 over six seasons at Arkansas State, with at least eight wins in four of the last five campaigns and two Sun Belt titles. Prior to taking his first head coaching job, he served as offensive coordinator at North Carolina and Southern Miss under Larry Fedora.
Anderson was a candidate for the head coaching opening at Missouri before they hired Eli Drinkwitz away from Sun Belt competitor Appalachian State. But the Red Wolves’ head coach is sure to make the jump to a Power 5 school, it’s just a matter of when and where the right fit will be. His offensive acumen should appeal to Michigan State, with how dismally that side of the ball has performed in recent years.
In 2018 the Spartans were 125th in the country in yards per play and 126th in scoring offense (18.7 points per game). Dantonio drew rightful criticism for retaining his entire offensive staff for 2019, and those numbers “improved” to 104th in yards per play” and 105th in scoring (22.4 points per game). The level of competition has to be remembered, but Arkansas State was 26th in the country in scoring offense last season.
Anderson may have a step to take between Arkansas State and a job like Michigan State, perhaps to a bigger Group of 5 job or a lower-tier Power 5 job. But the search to replace Dantonio is not complete without an attempt to find an offensive-minded coach, and Anderson deserves a look.