Head coaches and coordinators typically get all the credit, but the SEC is chock-full of talented position coaches. Some might be waiting for their chance to move up through the ranks while others are content in their current spot.
For this week's roundtable, we asked our SEC panel: Who is the most valuable position coach in the SEC right now?
Edward Aschoff: Corey Raymond, defensive backs, LSU
Give me LSU defensive backs coach Corey Raymond. For years, LSU DBs have been boasting about being "DBU." Whether that's true or not, Raymond has been pretty consistent. Since his arrival at LSU in 2012, the Tigers have ranked in the top five of the SEC in pass defense three times. All three of those times, LSU held opponents under an average of 200 passing yards per game, including allowing teams to average just 164.2 YPG in 2014, which ranked first in the SEC and third nationally. Five defensive backs have been drafted under Raymond's tutelage, and departed safety Jamal Adams could a top-10 pick. Cornerback Tre'Davious White (a Jim Thorpe Award finalist) could be a first-round pick as well. Since Raymond's arrival, LSU has averaged 11.6 interceptions per year to 14.2 passing touchdowns allowed.
David Ching: Brady Hoke, defensive line, Tennessee
When I read this question, the name that immediately came to mind was Alabama running backs coach Burton Burns. He is one of head coach Nick Saban's most valuable assistants and was the position coach for the Crimson Tide's first two Heisman Trophy winners, Mark Ingram and Derrick Henry. I also thought of Raymond, who churns out NFL-caliber defensive backs at LSU on a yearly basis. But after thinking it over, it seems silly to go with anyone other than Tennessee defensive line coach Brady Hoke. The guy has a dozen seasons of FBS head-coaching experience for goodness sake -- four of which came at Michigan. Before that, he turned around the programs at Ball State and San Diego State. Now after a lone season as defensive coordinator at Oregon, he's a position coach at Tennessee. That's obviously a downward trajectory, but Hoke was a distinguished defensive line coach at Michigan before becoming a head coach. He seems likely to make a big difference on Butch Jones' staff, too.
Greg Ostendorf: Rodney Garner, defensive line, Auburn
It's hard to argue with the success Rodney Garner has had as a defensive line coach over the years. From Richard Seymour to David Pollack to Dee Ford, he's coached six players who were taken in the first round of the NFL draft. Two more could potentially be added to that list this year with Carl Lawson and Montravius Adams. But his biggest strength is arguably on the recruiting trail. Garner helped Tennessee sign Jamal Lewis back in the day. He was the recruiting coordinator at Georgia for 15 seasons, and the Bulldogs were easily one of the best recruiting programs in the country during that stretch. Since he's been at Auburn, he's played a major role in Gus Malzahn's first five classes -- all ranked in the top 11 nationally -- serving as the lead recruiter for players like Adams and Lawson and more recently five-star Derrick Brown.
Alex Scarborough: Burton Burns, running backs, Alabama
At this point in his career it's unlikely that Burns will become a coordinator or head coach. But if you want to line up résumés, good luck topping Alabama's longtime running backs coach. He's coached two Heisman Trophy winners and five first- or second-round picks since joining Saban's staff in Tuscaloosa in 2007. During that time, he's helped produce a ground game that ranks among the top 10 of the Power 5 in rushing yards, yards per carry and rushing touchdowns. Oh, and he has more championship rings than fingers.