NCF Nation: Nathaniel Hackett

The buzzword today and the rest of the week at Syracuse: #continuity.

That is what the Orange desperately need. And that is why athletic director Daryl Gross turned to defensive coordinator Scott Shafer, a man completely immersed in the Orange turnaround who knows what it takes to finish the job Doug Marrone began. That, above all else, is the No. 1 priority as Syracuse moves into the ACC.

Not splashy, flashy hires.

Not winning news conferences.

Merely winning.

In the end, this was the only move -- the best move -- Gross could make. Hiring coaches in January is vastly different from hiring coaches in early December. Gross said as much during a radio interview earlier this week. When head coaches move on so late in the process, college teams have a tendency to promote from within for a host of reasons. There is a time crunch. There is recruiting. There are talented coaches on staff deserving of an opportunity. There is the hope for continuity.

Stanford did it two years ago when Jim Harbaugh moved on. David Shaw just won the Pac-12 and the Rose Bowl.

Rutgers did it last year when Greg Schiano moved on. Kyle Flood just won Co-Big East Coach of the Year honors and led the Scarlet Knights to a share of their first-ever league title.

Where Syracuse differs, however, is where this program stands. Schiano spent 11 seasons building Rutgers; Harbaugh won an Orange Bowl. Syracuse is in a much more tenuous spot than those two programs, when you consider the looming conference move and its inability to string together success on a consistent basis. Harbaugh only stuck around Stanford for four years -- the same as Marrone at Syracuse.

Both inherited giant messes. But Harbaugh did have winning seasons his final two years there, including the BCS berth. Syracuse has not posted winning records in consecutive seasons since 2000-01.

The goal, of course, is to get back to the BCS and make Syracuse nationally relevant again. Shafer has shown his defenses are perfectly capable of leading the way, especially after some monster games this year against Louisville and West Virginia. Of most immediate concern is replacing offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, headed to Buffalo with Marrone.

And while promoting from within has worked some places (see: Stanford) and not at others (see: West Virginia), this decision is a no-brainer. Shafer knows what to do. Continuing the momentum is up to him.
When it comes to listing the top up-and-coming coaches in the Big East, it is hard to overlook two at the top -- Charlie Strong at Louisville and Butch Jones at Cincinnati.

Strong has the Cardinals on the rise, while Jones has delivered for Cincinnati with a relatively modest salary.

But there are some young assistants in the league with potential. Here is who I am keeping an eye on in 2012:

Brooks Bollinger, Pitt: Bollinger is going into his first season with the Panthers, coming to the team from the high school coaching ranks. While there is much that is yet to be known about him, this is a huge year for Bollinger. He gets to work with Tino Sunseri, the most maligned quarterback in the Big East. If Bollinger can get Sunseri to improve, he deserves major credit in Year 1.

Ryan Day, Temple: Day has his first opportunity as an offensive coordinator after spending the past five seasons coaching receivers at Boston College. At the age of 33, Day is the second-youngest offensive coordinator in the Big East, beat out by Syracuse coordinator Nathaniel Hackett by nine months. This season is a great chance for Day to show what he can do with the move into the Big East.

Nathaniel Hackett, Syracuse: Speaking of Hackett, this also is a huge year for the Syracuse offense and Hackett in particular. One of the biggest knocks against the Orange offense has been its inability to make big, explosive plays. Coach Doug Marrone has promised that is going to change this season. And that falls squarely on Hackett's shoulders.

Clint Hurtt, Louisville: I am curious about Hurtt, defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator for the Cardinals. He continues to be one of the top recruiters in the Big East, but there is a big asterisk next to his name because we have no idea about his role in the scandal at Miami during his tenure there. The NCAA has yet to finish its investigation, but Hurtt was implicated by rogue Miami booster Nevin Shapiro in a Yahoo! Sports report. If the allegations are proven to be false, Hurtt's star will continue to rise. If the report is corroborated, he is in big trouble.

Jerome Pathon, USF: He begins Year 1 with the Bulls after spending the past three seasons working with the receivers at the University of San Diego. Pathon played in the NFL and got coaching experience with internships in the NFL, so he should be ready to take the step up. USF has an immense wealth of talent and potential at the receiver position but has fallen short of capitalizing on what it has, so this is a critical season.
As spring practice kicks into high gear around the Big East, here's your handy-dandy guide to all of the offseason coaching moves around the league. Clip and save: (Oh, wait. This is a blog. Do not clip your computer screen.)


No changes



Randy Edsall, head coach (to Maryland)
Todd Orlando, defensive coordinator/inside linebackers (to Florida International)
Lyndon Johnson, outside linebackers/special teams coordinator (to Maryland)
Terry Richardson, running backs (to Miami)


Paul Pasqualoni, head coach
George DeLeone, offensive coordinator
Don Brown, defensive coordinator
Clayton White, special team coordinator/running backs

Internal moves:

Former offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead is now quarterbacks coach

Quick take:

Pasqualoni, the Connecticut native, comes aboard with two new coordinators (three if you count special teams). But the rest of the staff stayed intact. Edsall took only one assistant with him to Maryland, which is strange. There should be more continuity in this coaching change than most. The trick will be getting the old and the new styles to mesh.



Mike Groh, quarterbacks (to Alabama)


Shawn Watson, quarterbacks

Quick take:

Charlie Strong scored a victory by keeping his staff almost fully together after a successful first year. Watson, the former Nebraska offensive coordinator, looks like a great addition to coach a position in flux.



Dave Wannstedt, head coach (forced resignation)
All of Wannstedt's assistants


Todd Graham, head coach
Paul Randolph, executive associate head coach/co-defensive coordinator/defensive line
Calvin Magee, assistant head coach/co-offensive coordinator/running backs
Mike Norvell, co-offensive coordinator/wide receivers/director of recruiting
Keith Patterson, defensive coordinator/linebackers
Tony Dews, tight ends
Todd Dodge, quarterbacks
Tony Gibson, cornerbacks,/recruiting coordinator
Spencer Leftwich, offensive line
Randall McCray, safeties/special teams coordinator

Quick take:

It's certainly a sea change at Pitt, with an new staff and a whole new philosophy. The presence of several West Virginia assistants lends a little more spice to the Backyard Brawl, as well. Graham has done a good job of building some excitement after the whole Wannstedt/Mike Haywood mess.



Kyle Ciarrocca, co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks (not retained)
Randy Melvin, defensive line (not retained)
Ed Pinkham, co-defensive coordinator/defensive backs (to Elon)


Frank Cignetti Jr., offensive coordinator/quarterbacks
Brian Angelichio, tight ends
Jeff Hafley, defensive backs

Internal moves:

Phil Galiano moves from tight ends to defensive line
Robb Smith will coach linebackers as well as special teams

Quick take:

After a 4-8 season, Rutgers needed to make some major changes. Head coach Greg Schiano took advantage of the Pitt staff turnover to hire three former Panthers assistants. Hafley's ties in New Jersey already helped in recruiting. Cignetti will be charged with fixing a stale offense.

South Florida

No changes



Bob Casullo, assistant head coach/special teams (parted ways)


Tim Daoust, defensive end

Internal moves:

Nathanial Hackett was promoted to offensive coordinator
John Anselmo becomes assistant head coach and will work with linebackers
Dan Conley will concentrate on inside linebackers
Defensive coordinator Scott Shafer will work with defensive backs
Jimmy Brumbaugh will coach defensive tackles
Special teams will be divided among the staff

Quick take:

Casullo left before last season ended, so Syracuse had already moved on. The changes in responsibilities reflect the areas of concentration for the Orange this summer, as they have many young players who need tutoring.

West Virginia


Jeff Mullen, offensive coordinator/quarterbacks (not retained)
Lonnie Galloway, receivers (to Wake Forest)
Dave Johnson, offensive line (not retained)
Chris Beatty, running backs/slot receivers (not retained)
Dave McMichael, tight ends/special teams (not retained)


Dana Holgorsen, offensive coordinator/head coach in waiting
Shannon Dawson, receivers
Bill Bedenbaugh, offensive line
Robert Gillespie, running backs

Quick take:

The entire offensive staff was let go except for Galloway, who left for Wake Forest a couple of weeks ago. West Virginia hasn't named a replacement for Galloway yet, but Dawson and Holgorsen will likely coach the receivers, with someone coming on board for special teams. The defensive staff remains intact, and Bill Stewart will coach his final year before handing the reins to Holgorsen. It will be a fascinating chemistry test.

Big East coaching change scorecard

February, 26, 2010
In a world of constant job changes, you need a scorecard just to keep up with who is on the sidelines. So here is your guide to all the coaching changes this offseason in the Big East:



Head coach Butch Jones (from Central Michigan)

Steve Stripling, assistant head coach/defensive line (from Central Michigan)

Mike Bajakian, offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach (from Central Michigan)

Tim Banks, co-defensive coordinator (from Central Michigan)

Jon Jancek, co-defensive coordinator/linebackers (from Georgia)

Mark Elder, running backs/recruiting coordinator (from Central Michigan)

Don Mahoney, offensive line (from Central Michigan)

T.J. Weist, wide receivers (from Western Kentucky)

Phil Zacharias, tight ends/special teams coordinator (from Central Michigan)


Head coach Brian Kelly and his entire staff except for Kerry Coombs, associate head coach/defensive backs coach



Jon Wholley, tight ends (from Fordham)

Darrell Perkins, defensive backs (from Louisiana-Monroe)


Dave McMichael, tight ends (to West Virginia)

Scott Lakatos, defensive backs (to Georgia)



Head coach Charlie Strong (from Florida)

Vance Bedford, defensive coordinator (from Florida)

Mike Sanford, assistant head coach/offensive coordinator (from UNLV)

Dave Borberly, offensive line (from Virginia)

Kenny Carter, running backs (from Florida)

Ron Dugans, wide receivers (from Georgia Southern)

Mike Groh, quarterbacks (from Alabama)

Clintt Hurtt, defensive line/recruiting coordinator (from Miami)

Brian Jean-Mary, linebackers (from Georgia Tech)


Head coach Steve Kragthorpe and his entire staff except for Larry Slade, secondary



Bernard Clark, linebackers (Hampton)

Scott Turner, wide receivers (promoted from administrative role)


Joe Tumpkin, linebackers (to Central Michigan)

Bryan Bossard, wide receivers (not retained)



Phil Galiano, tight ends (from Florida International)

Randy Melvin, defensive line (from Temple)

P.J. Fleck, receivers (from Northern Illinois)


Gary Emanuel, defensive line (to Purdue)

Joe Susan, tight ends/recruiting coordinator (to Bucknell)

Brian Jenkins, wide receivers (to Bethune Cookman)



Head coach Skip Holtz (from East Carolina)

Rick Smith, assistant head coach/defensive backs

Mark Snyder, defensive coordinator/linebackers (from Marshall)

Todd Fitch, offensive coordinator (from East Carolina)

Vernon Hargreaves, special teams coordinator/defensive ends

Peter Vaas, quarterbacks

Steve Shankweiler, offensive line (from East Carolina)


Head coach Jim Leavitt (fired)

Mike Canales, offensive coordinator (not retained)

Joe Tresey, defensive coordinator (not retained)

David Blackwell, linebackers/co-defensive coordinator (not retained)

Mike Simmonds, offensive line (not retained)

John Hendrick, special teams (not retained)

New role:

Kevin Patrick, from defensive line coach to defensive tackles

Carl Franks, from running backs coach to administrative position



Rob Moore, receivers (from Phoenix Junior College)

Tyrone Wheatley, running backs (from Eastern Michigan)

Jimmy Brumbaugh, defensive line (from Louisiana Tech)

Nathaniel Hackett, quarterbacks (from Buffalo Bills)


Rob Spence, offensive coordinator (not retained)

Derrick Jackson, defensive line (not retained)

Jamie Elizondo, receivers (not retained)

Stan Drayton, running backs (to Florida)

New role:

Head coach Doug Marrone will serve as offensive coordinator



Dave McMichael, tight ends/special teams co-coordinator (from Connecticut)


Doc Holliday, associate head coach/tight ends/recruiting coordinator (to Marshall)