Multiple times last season, Utah State coach Blake Anderson bemoaned the current state of college football, with NIL and the transfer portal dramatically altering the landscape of the sport in only a few years’ time.

Anderson talked repeatedly during the 2023 season about the need to retain his own players, noting often that they were being pursued by bigger, more monied programs — even as the season was ongoing.

He also spoke about how his first signing class at Utah State was all about winning, because the ability to make money wasn’t yet on the table. Since then, how much money USU can provide has factored into nearly ever recruiting battle, for better or for worse.

Anderson has spoken about the need to hold on to players who were being offered six figures to play for Power Four programs, despite Utah State having either developed them or being first to build relationships on the recruiting trail.

As it turns out, Anderson, who has expressed frustration while also acknowledging that this is the new norm for college football, isn’t alone among Group of Five head coaches.

As a group, they are largely fed up with the current college football landscape, and don’t believe it is sustainable.

“We are a farm system,” Liberty coach Jamey Chadwell told Yahoo Sports’ Ross Dellenger. “No matter who you are, you are going to have to try hard to hold on to your top players. That gets taxing. We are taking the approach that if a freshman plays and he does well, we are only going to have him for one more year.”

Chadwell’s Liberty team played Oregon in the Fiesta Bowl this year, and since then the Flames have lost three notable players to Power Four conference teams.

“Those guys would be all-conference for us,” Chadwell told Dellenger. “LSU paid for a car and an apartment and like $300,000. What do you do?”

Per Southern Miss coach Will Hall, his job now is much less football and much more fundraising.

“I do zero football anymore. Zero football in my life right now,” Hall told Yahoo Sports. “I do culture and recruiting. Most of my day is spent all across the southern United States raising money for NIL.”

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Blake Lawrence, the CEO of Opendorse, a platform used by more than 40 collectives across the country, told Yahoo Sports that all he talks about with G4 coaches, administrators and collectives is “retaining all-conference-caliber athletes.”

Even more coaches and administrators spoke with Yahoo Sports, including recently fired Louisiana Monroe coach Terry Bowden, now-retired Wyoming coach Craig Bohl, SMU coach Rhett Lashlee and Georgia Southern coach Clay Helton.

Almost all say that the current state of the sport and the demands it places on G5 programs and their coaches is the reason so many are giving up head coaching positions for coordinator roles elsewhere.

This offseason alone three G5 head coaches have left to be coordinators and/or position coaches at P4 programs, and Sean Lewis did so the offseason before when he left Kent State to be offensive coordinator at Colorado.

As Lashlee told Yahoo Sports: “It’s a hopeless feeling. That’s why you see coaches leaving.”

At Utah State, NIL and the transfer portal all but gutted the program following the 2022 season, forcing Anderson and company to rebuild on the fly with a massive signing class.

The Aggies were able to tread water last season, finishing 6-7, but Anderson described it as “Year One” of his tenure. In his estimation, USU was forced to start completely over due to the defections, which included notable members of the coaching staff.

Things appear different this offseason, after USU lost only one player off its two-deep to the portal.

That’s why Anderson praised the fact that the Aggies were able to retain players, due in part to the efforts of the Blue A Collective.

“Having lost 10 starters a year ago that would’ve helped us compete, we saw what that looks like,” Anderson said on National Signing Day. “This year we lost one player out of the entire two-deep. There are other guys who entered the portal, but all of those guys transferred down levels to get on the field and play more and we helped as many as we could find homes. It is much different than a year ago.”

“We had a handful of guys being actively recruited and offered money to leave in the NIL space so I feel very fortunate that we were able to hold that together.

“We didn’t do that alone,” he added.

More and more, though, if G5 coaches are to be believed, USU’s 2022 offseason will become the norm for non-Power Four programs and the 2023 season more of the outlier.

Utah State coach Blake Anderson looks up a the videoboard during the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl against Georgia State, Saturday, Dec. 23, 2023, in Boise, Idaho. | Steve Conner, Associated Press