It's Kansas State's turn under the microscope ... SBN profile coming soon...
Kansas State had the worst Def. Passing Downs S&P+ in the country last year -- worse than Eastern Michigan, worse than Colorado State, worse than (gasp) Kansas. They were efficient enough on standard downs to scratch out a bowl bid, but the second- and third-and-long breakdowns were still incredible. So what typically happens to teams finishing in last place in this category?
2005. North Texas finished 119th in 2005, then improved to just 116th in 2006 before Darrell Dickey was fired and replaced with Todd Dodge. Dodge was good in few ways, but he and his staff were able to improve UNT's Passing Downs rank to 75th in 2007.
2006. Ted Roof and company brought up the rear in 2006. They had ranked 111th in this category in 2005 and 107th in 2007. Roof was fired following 2007; defensive coordinator Mike McIntyre took over in 2008, and though he raised the level the Duke defense overall, the Blue Devils only improved to 92nd in Passing Downs S&P+ ... then fell back to 112th in 2009.
2007. Longtime defensive coordinator Buddy Green has engineered improvement in recent years (Navy ranked 57th in Def. S&P+ in 2009, 68th in 2010), but the 2007 unit was a complete dud. The Middies still made a bowl game that season thanks to their grind-it-out offense.
2008. Helpless head coach Jeff Genyk was fired following the 2008 season; new defensive coordinator Eric Lewis was initially able to turn things around to the same degree that McIntyre did at Duke -- EMU ranked 94th in 2009 -- but the Eagles fell right back to 119th in 2010.
2009. Tulane did the honors in 2009, ranking 120th just one season after ranking 40th in the same category. O'Neill Gilbert was oddly fired after 2008, following just one year on the job (and not a terrible one at that), and his replacement, Steve Stanard, has yet to figure things out.
K-State defensive coordinator Chris Cosh is under some fire from fans for the Wildcats' putrid performance since Bill Snyder's return. But while coaching changes can make a brief, positive impact on passing downs performance, I'm thinking this category has as much or more to do with talent as coaching or philosophy. Upgrade the talent, and Cosh will suddenly start looking like a better coach. (Funny how that works.) That said ... if they do make a move ... maybe O'Neill Chambers is available?