31 Flavors of Football: Wilson is Head Coach Material

To help you and me get through the drudgery of August, I will present in this space a daily scoop of MSU football-ness, as inspired by a certain ice cream chain. August has 31 days, so I’ll let you work it out from there. Here is today’s flavor.


Dan Mullen isn’t just into developing players. He’s also big on developing coaches, and one thing he wants to do is give his assistants opportunities to move on and move up in the coaching ranks. He’s seen that happen already with Mark Hudspeth (UL-Lafayette head coach) and Manny Diaz (Texas defensive coordinator).

I don’t know who’s next on that list, but I do know this: Chris Wilson is head coach material. The defensive coordinator has shown me that in his first two years on the job. He joined MSU in 2010 as co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach after David Turner left for Kentucky. When Diaz split for Austin following that season, Wilson was promoted to that position.

As a coordinator, he seems to know what he’s doing. He has continued running basically the same schemes Diaz had employed, and since Wilson’s arrival, MSU’s defensive numbers have improved. After allowing 26.8 points and 366 yards per game under coordinator Carl Torbush in 2009, the Bulldogs allowed 19.9 points and 356.9 yards in 2010 with Diaz and Wilson running things. Last year, those numbers dipped again to 19.7 and 350.6.

This year’s defense figures to be the best MSU has had under Mullen, and Wilson has a chance to really make a name for himself. He’s already pretty well-known in coaching circles for the fine work he did with Oklahoma’s defensive line, but a strong showing this season should be enough for him to join the offseason coaching rumor mill.

I know MSU fans might not like to hear it, but Wilson is going to be a head coach someday. Besides his on-field prowess, he has that head coach mentality. He’s very good with the media and knows how to smile for the camera. Very friendly guy. On the field, he’s totally different, a picture of intensity and focus as he tries to get his players to do exactly what he wants. If you’ve been to any open practices, you can attest to Wilson not being soft on guys, and the defensive line in particular has become a formidable group because of him.

How soon will he get hired somewhere? Who knows. I know some people would like to see him take over at State if Mullen should leave. Wilson is 43 years old, so he’s at just the right age to become a head coach. I think it’ll happen relatively soon.