NCF Nation: DeAndre Smith

Syracuse defensive coordinator Chuck Bullough has no problem with the fact that his boss, coach Scott Shafer, was in the very same position for four years before being promoted to head coach in January.

“I know coach Shafer,” Bullough said. “He’s one of my best friends. It’s not like you’re coming in not knowing the head coach at all. There’s no tension when we sit down to discuss stuff. It’s just like two buddies talking about football.”

[+] EnlargeScott Shafer
Rich Barnes/USA TODAY SportsNew Syracuse head coach Scott Shafer and his staff have a history with each other.
Bullough and Shafer were last together at Western Michigan in 2005, and their friendship is a microcosm of the familiarity within the entire staff. Western Michigan, Illinois, Northern Illinois -- all programs that have connected some of these coaches in their careers. Their wives and children know each other. The assistants aren’t just acquaintances, they’ve coached together before. While an entirely new staff often is cause for bumps in the road, the familiarity on the Syracuse sideline helped make for a smooth transition this spring.

“How the coaches interact and how the coaches get along and how they coach together, the team sees that and this is a very tight-knit group of coaches,” Bullough said. “We all coached with one another throughout our whole careers. There’s nobody on the staff, except for the DB coach, Coach [Fred] Reed, that has never coached with another guy on this staff. That’s amazing. That makes the transition so much easier. That I think really goes a long way. The players see everything.”

With an ongoing quarterback competition heading into fall camp and having to replace its top two receivers and three of four starters on the defensive line, there are plenty of questions facing Syracuse this fall. While the players spent this spring adjusting to their new coaches, the staff didn’t have to waste any time with introductions or philosophies.

Running backs coach DeAndre Smith was at Northern Illinois from 2001-2004, overlapping with Shafer’s time there. Defensive line coach Tim Daoust was a holdover from the previous staff, but he was also a graduate assistant at Northern Illinois when Shafer was there. Quarterbacks coach Tim Lester and offensive coordinator George McDonald were both on staff with Shafer at Western Michigan in 2005-06.

The six degrees of Scott Shafer go on -- and have paid off.

“It’s a lot of familiarity with our coaching styles and our beliefs, so from a coaching standpoint, it’s just like coaching with your friends, because we’ve all worked together before at prior stops,” said McDonald. “It helps because it shows solidarity, everyone understanding and speaking the same language, having the same vision. So when you come in as a new staff and everyone is on the same page, just because we’re familiar with the expectations of coach Shafer, and on the defense and offensive side, the kids buy in a little faster because they feel the unity from all the coaches.”
The Big Ten was the only major conference to avoid head-coaching changes this offseason, but the league certainly had its share of staff shuffling with assistants coming and going. Indiana's hiring of Mo Moriarity as offensive line coach on Monday marked one of the last turns on this year's Big Ten coaching carousel. Wisconsin still needs to hire a defensive assistant, but things are just about wrapped up.

Barring any late coaching changes, here's a look at who's gone, who's back and who's in new roles.

ILLINOIS

Offensive coordinator


  • Who's out: Mike Schultz (fired)
  • Who's in: Paul Petrino (previously offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach at Arkansas)
Defensive coordinator

  • Who's out: Dan Disch and Curt Mallory both were demoted to position coaches. Disch is staying on staff as linebackers coach.
  • Who's in: Vic Koenning (previously co-defensive coordinator at Kansas State)
Quarterbacks coach

  • Who's out: Kurt Beathard (fired)
  • Who's in: Jeff Brohm (previously quarterbacks coach at Florida Atlantic)
Tight ends coach

  • Who's out: Jim Pry (fired)
  • Who's in: Greg Nord (previously running backs coach/recruiting coordinator at Louisville)
Running backs coach

  • Who's out: Reggie Mitchell (left to become running backs coach/recruiting coordinator at Kansas)
  • Who's in: DeAndre Smith (previously running backs coach at UNLV)
Other moves

  • Mallory left his position as secondary coach to become defensive coordinator at Akron.
  • Special-teams coordinator Mike Woodford was fired along with Schultz, Beathard and Pry.
  • Ron West was hired as a defensive assistant. His official responsibilities have not been announced.
INDIANA

Offensive line coach

  • Who's out: Bobby Johnson (left to become assistant offensive line coach with the Buffalo Bills)
  • Who's in: Myron "Mo" Moriarity (previously served as head coach at Carmel (Ind.) High School
IOWA

No staff changes, but recruiting coordinator Eric Johnson was named tight ends coach. Wide receivers coach Erik Campbell previously had worked with the tight ends, while Johnson had helped Darrell Wilson with the linebackers.

MICHIGAN

Linebackers coach

  • Who's out: Jay Hopson (left to become defensive coordinator at Memphis)
  • Who's in: Quality control assistant Adam Braithwaite was promoted to outside linebackers/strong safeties coach. Defensive coordinator Greg Robinson will take a more active role with the linebackers in 2010.
Other moves

  • Secondary coach Tony Gibson will continue to work with cornerbacks and free safeties, and also serve as special-teams coordinator.
MICHIGAN STATE

Running backs coach

  • Who's out: Dan Enos (left to become head coach at Central Michigan)
  • Who's in: Brad Salem (previously served as head coach at Augustana College)
MINNESOTA

Offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach

  • Who's out: Jedd Fisch (left to become quarterbacks coach with the Seattle Seahawks)
  • Who's in: Jeff Horton (previously served as quarterbacks coach with the Detroit Lions)
Wide receivers coach

  • Who's out: Richard Hightower (left to become assistant special-teams coach for the Washington Redskins)
  • Who's in: Steve Watson (previously served as associate head coach with the Denver Broncos in 2008)
Other moves

  • Running backs coach Thomas Hammock was named co-offensive coordinator
NORTHWESTERN

No coaching changes

OHIO STATE

No coaching changes

PENN STATE

No coaching changes

PURDUE

Defensive line coach

  • Who's out: Terrell Williams (left to become defensive line coach at Texas A&M)
  • Who's in: Gary Emanuel (previously served as defensive line coach at Rutgers). Emanuel also was named co-defensive coordinator with a focus on run defense.
WISCONSIN

Defensive backs coach

  • Who's out: Kerry Cooks (left to become outside linebackers coach at Notre Dame)
  • Who's in: Chris Ash (previously served as defensive backs coach/recruiting coordinator at Iowa State)
Other moves

  • Randall McCray, who served as Wisconsin's recruiting coordinator and assistant secondary coach, left to become defensive coordinator at Middle Tennessee. Wisconsin has yet to fill the vacancy.

SPONSORED HEADLINES