Five ACC assistants who will make a difference

 

Yesterday we looked at five new SEC assistant coaches who will make a difference in 2009. Today we will pick five new assistants who will shake things up in the ACC this fall. In all cases these coaches were brought in to address a specific weakness on the team.

 Pay attention Georgia Tech fans because your team will go against three of these coaches in 2009 (Clemson, Miami, Virginia) and could face another one if the Yellow Jackets reach the ACC championship game.

 

Mark Whipple, offensive coordinator, Miami: Whipple, 51, has been successful at every stop. He’s been a head coach at three different schools (UMass, Brown, and New Haven). He won a Division I-AA national championship at UMass in 1998, beating Paul Johnson’s Georgia Southern team. He’s worked with Pittsburgh and Philadelphia in the NFL. His teams at every level have always been able to move the ball.

Head coach Randy Shannon had grown impatient with offensive coordinator Patrick Nix, who he felt lacked the creativity to go against modern defenses. Miami wasn’t horrible as the Hurricanes averaged 27.1 points per game, No. 3 in the ACC. But the ongoing quarterback controversy between Jacory Harris and Robert Marve needed to be resolved. So Whipple is in and Nix is out. Marve has transferred and Shannon believes that Harris, who completed 60.8 percent of his passes last season as a freshman, will thrive under Whipple.

 “He (Whipple) brings a lot of creativity to this job,” Shannon said. “We should be a better offense because of it.”

Kevin Steele, defensive coordinator, Clemson: Steele, a native of Dillon, S.C., is coming home with one of more impressive resumes you’re going to see. He has worked for Johnny Majors (Tennessee), Tom Osborne (Nebraska), Bobby Bowden (Florida State), and Nick Saban (Alabama). He was the head coach at Baylor (1999-2002). He left Alabama to become Dabo Swinney’s first defensive coordinator at Clemson. He will bring an edge and a physical dimension to the Clemson defense. He has improved the defense at every coaching stop. Clemson will be no different.

Gregg Brandon, offensive coordinator, Virginia:  In 2008 Virginia finished dead last in the ACC in total offense (299.8 ypg) and scoring offense (16.1 ppg). Brandon took over as head coach at Bowling Green in 2003 when Urban Meyer left for Utah. In four of his seasons as head coach, BGU averaged over 400 yards of offense per game. If Brandon can develop Jameel Sewell, who returns after sitting out last season, the way he developed Omar Jacobs, the MAC player of the year in 2004, Virginia will be much improved over its 5-7 record in 2008.

Gary Tranquill, offensive coordinator, Boston College: Tranquill, a former head coach at Navy, was out of coaching in 2008 and worked in NFL Europe in 2007. In 40 years he has worked at North Carolina, Virginia Tech, Virginia, Michigan State (for Nick Saban) and the Cleveland Browns (for Bill Belichick). He coached the ACC player of the year in Virginia QB Shawn Moore in 1990. He has a tall order replacing Steve Logan, who left town after Frank Spaziani, BC’s defensive coordinator, was named head coach after the sudden firing of Jeff Jagodzinski. Spaziani said he wanted a veteran OC and that Tranquill is the perfect fit for this team.  It will be interesting to see if Tranquill still has the touch.

Don Brown, defensive coordinator, Maryland: The Terps finished 10th in the ACC in total defense  (364.9 ypg) and ninth in scoring defense (22.5 ppg). Maryland gave up 100 points in its last three games against Florida State, Boston College and Nevada (in the Humanitarian Bowl). Defensive coordinator Chris Cosh was catching a lot of heat and decided to leave and go back to Kansas State and serve as Bill Snyder’s coordinator. Friedgen tapped Brown, 53, who has been the head coach at Division I-AA UMass the past five seasons. In fact, he was the defensive coordinator at UMass in 1998 when Mark Whipple’s team won the national championship. Head coach Ralph Friedgen sees Brown, who has been a head coach at three different schools, as an innovator. “Don is involved in some cutting edge type stuff,” said Friedgen at the end of spring practice. “Our defense is playing pretty well right now.”

 

57 comments Add your comment

Bill

April 30th, 2009
8:17 am

Yes Whipple did beat Johnson in 1998.What needs to be said is GSU turned it over 7 times leading to 31 UMass points.Still the Eagles kept it close losing 55-43.

I think I pulled out what hair I had left watching that game.

Reebok

April 30th, 2009
8:20 am

I hate to see Patrick Nix leave Miami. He’s such a pathetic OC that I could count on the Jackets winning that one. Let’s hope Nix catches on somewhere in the ACC so he can continue screwing up other teams’ offenses.

Kid Ray

April 30th, 2009
8:24 am

I think Shannon better hope Harris doesn’t get injured…there is no qualified backup at that position now.

Lane "Shirt-Rippin" Kiffin

April 30th, 2009
8:25 am

The ACC plays football? What do they do, throw books at each other?

GeoffDawg

April 30th, 2009
8:27 am

Is Mark Whipple related to that guy in the old Charmin commercials?

GeoffDawg

April 30th, 2009
8:30 am

BC fans should have a peaceful feeling about Tranquill.

ReptilesRule

April 30th, 2009
8:56 am

The ACC??? This should be a short discussion.

gat1ger

April 30th, 2009
9:29 am

Dabo has made some impressive hires in addition to Steele, most notably former UT Def Line coach Dan Brooks. As a Tiger fan, I’m cautiously optimistic…still not sure about the OC (Napier), but we should see better play from our QB & OL positions this year. Despite putting in a new starter (either Willy Korn or Kyle Parker), our QB play couldn’t possibly be any worse this year.

DawgGirl32

April 30th, 2009
9:30 am

Hahaha good one GeoffDawg.

JB

April 30th, 2009
9:31 am

I’m normally still working in the yard at noon when these ACC games come on…do they ever play in
“prime time” ?

Kiffinisatosser

April 30th, 2009
9:34 am

My overwhelming question with respect to all of these ACC assistants is: “Who Dat?@

ACC has some decent head coaches at the moment and will get better. I have tried to search deep within myself to determine why I find the ACC so unbearably boring, and I have no clue…it just is so. The Big East and MWC are even more interesting these days (not better football but more compelling).

Perhaps it is the geographic disequilibrium to the ACC preventing it from having a regional identity. Maybe it’s that virtually the entire conference would abandandon football for hoops if they had to make a choice…dunno.

MarbleRye

April 30th, 2009
9:35 am

Yeah, that’s what Clemson needs – improvement on their already top-20 defense. Because their offense is so perfect it needs no improvement, much less fresh coaching blood on that side of the ball. Great move!

Trickster

April 30th, 2009
9:44 am

geoffdog and reptilesarescrewed, why don’t you two share some bromance.

Trickster

April 30th, 2009
9:45 am

What are girl dogs called? Again, I thought so.

Kiffinisatosser

April 30th, 2009
9:48 am

Hey Shirt Rippin…give us some good Orgeron material today!

Kiffinisatosser

April 30th, 2009
9:52 am

There is one exception to the ACC is boring thesis. GT is not boring. I am thrilled to see option football back and played by a team from a power conference. Jackets could become the Oklahoma of the East!

GeoffDawg

April 30th, 2009
10:07 am

trickster – if you’re into manlove, you’ll feel more comfortable in Knoxville. There’s a reason they don’t recruit tightends.

Saint Nick

April 30th, 2009
10:08 am

Hey Tosser,
That won’t happen because they will never aquire the crystal that OU got in the 80’s and 90’s!!!!!ROLLS TIDES!!!!!!

bama12titles

April 30th, 2009
10:11 am

I’ve no idea who any of these guys are except for Kevin Steele, who coached a couple years at Bama but was more well known as an assistant at FSU for a long time.

Saint Nick

April 30th, 2009
10:13 am

Raycomm aka “THE DIRTY WINDSHIELD” is awesome!!!!!!

Trickster

April 30th, 2009
10:14 am

You made my point geoffdog. Oh by the way, what is with the moniker geoff? I bet your real name is Todd.

DawgGirl32

April 30th, 2009
10:17 am

Wow I can’t laugh at the “Tranquill” joke? Looks like someone has his panties in a wad…

bama12titles

April 30th, 2009
10:17 am

Kiffinisatosser,

I will also make an exception to the ACC being boring idea in favor of Tech. I love option football also so Tech will be the one ACC team that I watch with some regularity. Don’t know why but to me its much more exciting to watch someone break a 50 or 60 yard td run than a 50 or 60 yd td pass. On a long td pass most of the time you just got to get behind the D and catch the pass, on a long td run you got to run the gauntlet and get through 11 guys and have some great blocking to lead the way.

Jaded Jacket

April 30th, 2009
10:19 am

Hey Trickster,

To answer your question, girl dawgs are referred to as bitches. That of course only applies to canines.

GeoffDawg

April 30th, 2009
10:20 am

You had a point? Must’ve been over my head. I’m not disparaging your alternative lifestyle, I just don’t understand it.

JB

April 30th, 2009
10:27 am

My brother in law owns a company that provides the military loud noise machines to amplify certain loud sounds for certain situations in combat. He sold one to Tech to use at grant field for “loud cheering crowd noise.True story…………ACC….yawn.

GeoffDawg

April 30th, 2009
10:28 am

I think trickster’s trying to start a catfight with you DawgGirl. His aunt flo must be in town.

Go Braves

April 30th, 2009
11:26 am

You mean quality assistant coaches actually make a difference?? Wow…. someone PLEASE go tell that to Paul Hewitt!!

Kiffinisatosser

April 30th, 2009
11:29 am

Bama12 – There is something about the dynamic of the last second pitch by a great option QB that to me makes it the most beautiful thing to watch in football. Perfect split second coordination. A big long run somehow seems more “earned” than a pass.

Something to consider is the likelihood that P. Johnson is a better coach than say Barry Switzer. In my view the sky is the limit for Tech if Johnson stays for the long haul.

murfdawg

April 30th, 2009
11:29 am

Where is ramble on? TB goes 100% on the Almost Competitive Conference and he is not here. But professional whiners are not always objective, are they?

Jaded Jacket

April 30th, 2009
11:47 am

I agree Kiffin. A long run is much more exciting to watch because you can keep an eye on the runner the whole play. On long passes it’s impossible to keep an eye on both the QB and receiver. Even the Dawgy fans have to agree that Herscel Walker had some pretty exciting runs in his day.

Kiffinisatosser

April 30th, 2009
12:29 pm

Interesting observation JJ. What you say is true. It is the case however with a pass that there is that moment while the ball is in the air where you stop breathing….but that is only for a long bomb. The West Coast Offense short passing game is an absolute snooze.

Ramble On

April 30th, 2009
1:12 pm

I am gay. Tech fans love tickle piles and giving rusty trombones.

reservoirDAWG

April 30th, 2009
1:31 pm

Who cares Tony. Get back to the SEC.

StingerSplash

April 30th, 2009
2:23 pm

Let’s see here …
Whipple’s team gets 7 turnovers in a National Championship game and he’s labeled a genius (all that hooey about their first play being so great, a play the Minutemen called “Chattanooga,” and all it got was 3 f—– yards … genius, my Bradley!).
Tranquill, former Navy coach …
Brown, UMass DC who still gave up 500 and change of offense to PJ’s Eagles …
And yet, no assistant from the 9-4 Jackets is mentioned …. Hmmm…… As Captain Renault would say, “I’m shocked!”

Too Easy

April 30th, 2009
2:40 pm

JB: Prime time only on Thursday nights.

F.G.

April 30th, 2009
2:55 pm

45-42! and will do it again 2009.

bama12titles

April 30th, 2009
3:01 pm

Kiffinisatosser and jaded jacket,

Agreed. A long run does seem to me to be more “earned” because unlike a receiver winning a one on one matchup and getting behind the db the difference is that on a long td run its basically a running back having to maneuver through an entire 11 guys to score. It requires great blocking by 10 other guys and some deft maneuvering by the rb to make it all happen. I don’t want to take anything away from a long pass play which can be spectacular in and of its own right but for me the running game is what gets it done.

I also agree with jaded jacket that you can keep an eye on the runner the whole play and see the whole thing unfold as you watch. Plus I just love option football because of my natural bias.

As a lifelong Bama fan I always loved the wishbone because of the option and that last second pitch to the rb It is something to behold. Its been to long since we’ve seen a major college program running the option. I wish we could see a handful more teams adopt it other than just Air Force, Navy, and now Tech.

Stinger

April 30th, 2009
3:03 pm

Tickle piles = YIPEE.

Cuz

April 30th, 2009
4:54 pm

Since the article was about five new ACC assistants, the Tech fans went back to their cold water fusion studies. I hear it has already been done at Clemson. Some Ag Engineer spit tobacco juice in a jar of barbeque sauce.

Blacksburger

April 30th, 2009
5:06 pm

To not have Bud Foster on here shows that Tony is an SEC homer, and the AJC needs a separate beat writer for the ACC.

Because some of us like football AND have the ability to read.

PS VT over Bama. Because we’re better than Utah.

Blacksburger

April 30th, 2009
5:09 pm

Oh… ok. NEW coach. Guess I can’t read, lol.

Hokies still beat the elephants.

bama12titles

April 30th, 2009
6:20 pm

Blacksburger,

Actually I think the elephants roll the turkeys. Why?

Because we’re better than East Carolina

Because we’re better than 10-4

Because we at 12-2 and Utah at 13-0 are better than any of the 4 teams that Va Tech lost to.

Because lastly, the SEC is better than the ACC.

Reptilian Rhapsody

April 30th, 2009
7:53 pm

Get your Teebows!!! Get your Teebows!!! This offer will be “brief”, don’t let this opportunity fall thru the cracks!!! Get your Teebows!!! Are you listening DawgGirl?? How ’bout you Trickster the Dickster???

buckblue

April 30th, 2009
8:02 pm

Is this the same Kevin Steele who flunked out of Furman….got B-slapped by Kevin Greene at Carolina….lied on his resume at Baylor…got into a shouting match at halftime with Nick Saban at the Sugar Bowl beatdown…..?? What kind of difference do you think he will make….??

Gen Neyland

April 30th, 2009
8:47 pm

Been gone for a few days…Did I miss anything SEC..?

Joe Junior

April 30th, 2009
10:39 pm

Man- Kevin Steele is the lamest DC on Earth. He will wear out his welcome by October.

bama12titles

April 30th, 2009
10:45 pm

Didn’t hear all that regarding Kevin Steele I’m not sure he was arguing with Saban at the sugar bowl game. I’m not even sure he was at the game. I thought he left the program before the sugar bowl “beatdown” as you call it but I could certainly be wrong. A 14 pt loss is usually not regarded as a beatdown. Now when you lose by a score like 49-10 then yes, that would be a “beatdown”.

Miles

May 1st, 2009
12:27 am

ACC? Whatever…

Pi$$onaDAWG

May 1st, 2009
12:30 am

Interesting to see many of these coaches have played against or with CJP. The ACC must be a little worried about GA. TECH’s O. We will see. I love the U because it seems as of late U to stand for the URINAL. I too wanted Nix to stay forever. Steele could be good but there is more work to be done at Clemson. Brandon could bring some speed to UVa’s O but it will not be in 09-10. BC’s Tranquill looks to make the biggest inpack quick. UMary’s Brown is still behind Ralph’s fatt O and maybe he can change a game if given the chance. I STILL LOVE WILLIE M. at UGA.