AFC East: Eric Studesville

Bills fire entire coaching staff

January, 4, 2010
Buffalo Bills general manager Buddy Nix said at his introductory news conference Thursday he wanted a coach who could build a staff, and the new hire apparently will have to do it from scratch.

The Bills resumed heavy internal renovations Monday by firing their entire coaching staff a day after completing a 6-10 season, their 10th straight without the playoffs.

The story was broken by Jay Glazer of Fox Sports and confirmed by Buffalo News reporter Mark Gaughan, who noted all of the coaches had one year remaining on their contracts.

The Bills fired offensive coordinator Turk Schonert 10 days before the season opener and head coach Dick Jauron after a Week 10 loss. They named defensive coordinator Perry Fewell interim head coach.

Nix on Thursday said Fewell would be interviewed for the head-coaching vacancy. Other assistants could be re-hired.

Here is a rundown of the coaches who finished the year with the Bills:

  • Bobby April, assistant head coach/special teams coordinator
  • Alex Van Pelt, offensive coordinator
  • Eric Studesville, running game coordinator/running backs
  • Ray Brown, assistant offensive line
  • George Catavolos, defensive backs
  • Charlie Coiner, tight ends
  • DeMontie Cross assistant linebackers/special teams
  • Nathaniel Hackett, offensive quality control
  • Sean Kugler, offensive line
  • Chuck Lester, assistant to the head coach/special projects
  • Bob Sanders, defensive line
  • Matt Sheldon, linebackers
  • Tyke Tolbert, wide receivers
  • Adrian White, defensive quality control
  • John Allaire, strength and conditioning


Schonert: Jauron 'wants a Pop Warner offense'

September, 5, 2009

Posted by's Tim Graham

Turk Schonert doesn't sound too broken up over not having to work for Buffalo Bills head coach Dick Jauron anymore.

Schonert, fired Friday morning as Bills offensive coordinator, told Buffalo's CBS affiliate he and Jauron had serious philosophical differences.

"He told me the offense wasn't simple enough for him," Schonert told WIVB. "We had too many formations, too many plays. I didn't simplify it to his liking.

"He wants a Pop Warner offense. He limited me in formations and limited me in plays. He's been on my back all offseason."

The Bills' first-team offense failed to score a touchdown throughout the preseason and no unit scored a touchdown in the last two games. Jauron waited until a day after their final exhibition -- 10 days before the season opener against the New England Patriots -- to fire Schonert.

Meanwhile, ESPN's Chris Mortensen reports Bills owner Ralph Wilson summoned Jauron, new play-caller Alex Van Pelt, running game coordinator Eric Studesville and chief operating officer Russ Brandon to his Michigan home for a meeting to discuss the team's direction.

Jauron explains decision to fire Schonert

September, 4, 2009

Posted by's Tim Graham

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Buffalo Bills coach Dick Jauron just met with reporters at the team's facility to discuss why he decided to fire offensive coordinator Turk Schonert 10 days before the season opener against the New England Patriots on "Monday Night Football."

Quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt will take over the play-calling duties. Running game coordinator Eric Studesville will remain in his role.

Jauron spoke for less than seven minutes and didn't get into any great detail, but here are a few bullet points:
  • He came to the conclusion Schonert had to be replaced Friday morning and phoned owner Ralph Wilson, who gave his blessing.

"I informed him of my wish, and he said it was my call," Jauron said. "I made it."

  • Jauron said he didn't seek feedback from the players before making the change.
  • He thinks the switch will work because the terminology remains the same, but Van Pelt will place a different emphasis on certain elements.

"It's not like we're changing schemes," Jauron said. "We're maybe changing focus, but we're not adding new things. They're used to the terminology. Everybody's on the same page.

"Hopefully, it'll provide a jolt forward and move us on."

  • He remains committed to the no-huddle offense.
  • Jauron on Bills first-team offense failing to score a touchdown in the preseason: "Just the lack of productivity, the direction we were moving. I just didn't feel like it was going, certainly, were I envisioned it going. There's clearly a lot of fault. It's not just Turk, and I accept my share of that."
  • Jauron later said he envisioned his offense to be "more attacking."

Ten days before season, Bills fire Schonert

September, 4, 2009

Posted by's Tim Graham

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- The Buffalo Bills saw two other teams do it and figured it was time for them to follow suit.

Two league sources tell me the Bills have informed their players they've fired offensive coordinator Turk Schonert. They are expected to replace him with quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt, but running game coordinator Eric Studesville could have a greater say in how the offense operates.

Schonert oversaw an offense that sputtered throughout the preseason and couldn't score a touchdown in the last two exhibitions. The first-team didn't score a touchdown at all, failing to reach the end zone on 16 possessions (nine punts, three interceptions, two fumbles, one field goal and halftime). The Bills' first unit ran 78 plays for 269 net yards.

Van Pelt has no offensive coordinator experience -- in a traditional sense -- at any level. The former Bills quarterback was passing game coordinator for the University at Buffalo in 2006 before joining Dick Jauron's staff.

The moves comes one day after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers fired offensive coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski and four days after the Kansas City Chiefs fired their offensive coordinator, Chan Gailey.

Former Dallas Cowboys personnel director and raconteur Gil Brandt, quoted in Friday morning's edition of USA Today, said "Two moves like that, with the season almost here, I'd say it's unprecedented."

Make it three.

The Bills have scheduled a 1:30 p.m. news conference with Jauron at the team's facility. I will report more from