College assistants accepting NFL coaching positions

With a potential lock-out on the horizon in the NFL, some thought we would see fewer college coaches make the transition to the NFL this off-season.  

That’s not the case.  In fact, according to FootballScoop research, the numbers are almost identical at this point.

Thus far, at least 16 college coaches have made the transition to the NFL this off-season.  That’s the same number of coaches that made the transition last year.

The group of coaches heading to the NFL this year includes Tracy Rocker (Auburn), John Settle (Wisconsin), Chuck Bullough (UCLA), Vic Fangio (Stanford), Greg Roman (Stanford), Tim Drevno (Stanford), Peter Hansen (Stanford), John Morton (USC), Tyrone Pettaway (USC), John Butler (Minnesota), Mark Whipple (Miami), Teryl Austin (Florida), Grady Stretz (Arizona State), Reggie Davis (Oregon State), Scott Turner (Pitt), David Walker (Pitt).


List of college coaches in 2009 that transitioned to the NFL:

1. Eric Yarber – Tampa Bay Bucs (Wide receivers)

2. Scottie Montgomery – Pittsburgh Steelers (Wide receivers)3

3. Giff Smith – Buffalo Bills (Defensive assistant)

4. Bobby Johnson – Buffalo Bills (Assistant offensive line)

5. Tommie Robinson – Arizona Cardinals (Running Backs)

6. Jedd Fisch – Seattle Seahawks (Quarterbacks)

7. Richard Hightower – Washington Redskins (Assistant special teams coach)

8. Corwin Brown – New England Patriots (Defensive backs) 

9. Brian Schneider – Seattle Seahawks

10. Jeremy Bates – Seattle Seahawks (Offensive coordinator)

11. Ken Norton Jr – Seattle Seahawks (Linebackers)

12. Kris Richard – Seattle Seahawks (Assistant defensive backs)

13. Rocky Seto – Seattle Seahawks (Defensive quality control)

14. Dave Canales - Seattle Seahawks (Offensive quality control)

Shane Beamer explains accepting job at Virginia Tech

After 33 years of coaching the Virginia Tech running backs, Billy Hite is moving into a role of senior advisor / assistant to the head coach.

Hite’s decision to move off-the-field made room for Shane Beamer, the son of Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer.

Shane, who has served on Steve Spurrier’s staff at South Carolina the last four years, talked about the decision to join the Virginia Tech staff.

Shane Beamer explained, “It was really, I guess, last week was the first time that it was even discussed. Dad had mentioned that Coach Hite was possibly transitioning into an administrative role and would I be interested in replacing him. My first response to him was that I wanted to talk to Billy Hite. We’re not gonna come into a situation where Billy Hite was upset about the move or it was a move he didn’t want to do. I’ve got too much respect for Billy Hite. I was not gonna allow that to happen.”

“I talked to Coach Hite last Sunday – he decided to make that move later in the week – and he was on board with everything and excited.”

"It was important to me to be on my own and make my own name. I didn’t want to get into coaching like you see a lot of these sons of coaches do at the college and pro level. They finish up college and all of a sudden, their Dad hires them and they start coaching. I did not want to do that. I wanted to make my own name, make my own contacts, develop a reputation of Shane Beamer and not Frank Beamer’s son. I feel like I’ve done that over the last 11 years and the timing was just better this time around.”

The Virginia Tech non-conference schedule in 2011 includes Appalachian State, Arkansas State, at East Carolina, and at Marshall.

Coaching turnover - Studying the moves from this off-season

Over 70 assistant coaches that began the Fall of 2010 serving on a D1 coaching staff are currently unemployed.   One year ago, according to FootballScoop research, 65 assistants that began the 2009 season on a D1 coaching staff did not coach at the D1 level in 2010.

If Auburn defensive line coach Tracy Rocker joins the Tennessee Titans, only 6 coaching staffs in the entire country will have the same 9 assistant coaches for the last two years.  Those staffs include Army, Iowa, Missouri, Oregon, Penn State, Wake Forest, and Washington.

Last year, 20 coaches left the NFL to join college coaching staffs.  This off-season, we’ve seen a number of NFL coaches once again opt to join the college ranks.

In fact, at least 12 NFL coaches have accepted coordinator positions at the college level. Those NFL coaches that have accepted coordinator positions include Kevin Rogers (Boston College), Charlie Weis (Florida), Dan Quinn (Florida), Jedd Fisch (Miami), Todd Monken (Oklahoma State), Greg Mattison (Michigan), Eric Bienemy (Colorado), Jim Michalczik (Cal), Mike Johnson (UCLA), George DeLeone (UCONN), and Jason Tarver (Stanford), David Lee (Ole Miss).

Rip Scherer joined the Colorado staff as quarterbacks coach.  

Quick Hits: Willie Simmons, Stan Drayton, Todd Graham, Skip Holtz

New MTSU offensive coordinator Willie Simmons talks about his plan: "Whether it looks like Tony's offense two years ago or Rich Rod's Michigan offense from this last year or Clemson's offense from 10 years ago or even our offense from last year, we're going to spread it out and play fast. When you're around the game, you pick up things from everybody. That's just part of growing. But this will be Middle Tennessee's offense, and we're going to mold it to the players that we have."


Ohio State wide receivers coach Stan Drayton talks about Ohio State vs. Florida: “There are some differences here and there, but there's such a difference systematically that I'm involved in right now. Florida and Ohio State, they're totally difference mind-sets schematically. Ohio State has recruited to fit their system, and it's not the same system Florida is going to recruit to fit. Here, it's no big deal having a 235-pound running back in this offense that's going to get downhill in the iso play, as opposed to a jet sweep team where you want to get a 10.2 guy. There's not too many 10.2, 235-pound guys out there. But you've got a Jeff Demps, who's 190 pounds and can get out there and run that speed sweep. So both programs have done a phenomenal job of recruiting the athletes that fit their system.”


Quoting Pitt head coach Todd Graham: "I'm going to get hired and fired based on winning football games. But I'm going to do it my way, period. I don't believe the most talented, best team always wins. More times than not, they don't — it's the best football team that plays together, the team that loves each other and the team with standards."


Quoting Skip Holtz: “When you look at it, you're one play away in the Syracuse game. You're one play away in the Pittsburgh game. You're one play away in the Connecticut game. When you look back at how close you were, that just kind of gets you salivating to look toward 2011. And to see what's returning on this football team, it really gets you excited for a new season.”

Only one 5-star played in the Super Bowl?

Head coaches, in general, mock recruiting rankings.  Every coach has their own story of a 2-star recruit that is now making plays in the NFL.

South Florida head coach Skip Holtz dropped an interesting stat during an interview with ESPN’s Brian Bennett.

Holtz said, “They told me a stat that there was one five-star player in the Super Bowl. I would much rather value my assistant coaches' decisions and working with the high school coach and evaluating film, academics and the quality of people than I would just chasing stars on a recruiting board.”

Of course, we’re not sure Rivals or Scout existed when Hines Ward was coming out of high school.

Holtz continued his point, however, by adding, “I think if you want to evaluate a recruiting class, you evaluate them three or four years down the road, when you find out who is even going to make it to that college or university because of the academics and then how they're going to develop and how they'll mature. That's why the NFL isn't predicated on just four- or five-star athletes.”

“I ask the question, who's the big-time guy? And who's making the evaluation on how many stars there are next to a young man's name? I keep using Chris Johnson, who was a two-star athlete out of Orlando who's one of the best players in the NFL today. You look at Nate Allen who was a safety here who went to the NFL and was up for rookie of the year on defense -- he was a two-star athlete when he signed here. When we went back and looked up the people who signed four years ago with Nate Allen, right below his name was a four-star player that I've never even heard of.”

According to Rivals, Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson has offers only from UCONN and Eastern Kentucky before opting to sign with East Carolina.

UPDATE: Thanks to an email from an observer of the site, we have uncovered some hardcore details.  

There were three 5-star players based on Scout.com ranking that were on the rosters of Pittsburgh and Green Bay. Rashard Mendenhall, Desmond Bishop, and LaMarr Woodley were all 5-star players.  Of the 48 players on the rosters that are young enough to have received a ranking from Scout.com , 15 of those players were highly ranked 4-star players.

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