It’s Freezing Cold Takes season here at Rubbing The Rock. I told one of my stories about completely overestimating what Ryan Linthicum could accomplish as a freshman, and now I tell one about Nick Eason.
This isn’t quite the same as completely whiffing on a prediction. Instead, my perspective on Eason following his first season with the Tigers was that he had yet to convince me.
Eason had charisma. He had energy. He was a great recruiter. It is easy to like Eason the man.
The bottom line one year ago was that his unit had underperformed compared to expectations. My simple (yet unpopular) opinion was that Eason hadn’t proven his coaching abilities with the product on the field.
I did acknowledge that I wasn’t convinced that some of the players he was coaching had the motor to be great (cough, cough, Myles Murphy, cough), but I think that is why I thought Eason would get a better performance from them. Their downside was skill, it was their “want to”. I figured Eason could bring that drive out in them, but it just didn’t work.
Eason proved my doubts unwarranted in 2023. Except for a few notable players who went pro, he took several of the same players and improved the play of the line significantly. This defensive line positively impacted games.
These things go both ways. I have to acknowledge some of the improvement had to do with addition through subtraction, but Eason hasn’t just proven himself to be a good coach. He is a leader, and Swinney has also acknowledged that by making him an Assistant Head Coach.
No. 2: Mike Reed