Friday, February 09, 2007

Breaking down Jags' new staff

After weeks of speculation and rumors, the final spots on Jags’ first coaching staff are public. While he hired two experienced, solid coordinators, most of the staff is either green or new to this level of competition. I really have no problem with this, because of the strength of the coordinators and the consistent theme of hiring recruiters and guys with ties to BC and/or the Northeast. Here is my breakdown of Jags first staff:

Offensive Coordinator: Steve Logan
What he brings to the table: Logan brings clear offensive vision and philosophy, experience as a Head Coach for an inexperienced first time Head Coach, a belief in recruiting, and solid experience as a mentor of NFL QBs from a mid-major program.
Connection to Jags: Jags worked on his staff at East Carolina prior to Jags coming to BC the first time.
Connection to BC: No prior connection although he was a candidate for the Head job after BC fired Henning.
Question mark: Can he adapt to being the second banana after all these years. Logan is known for being vocal. Will he be able to support his former pupil without undermining him?
Overall Assessment: This was a no brainer. Even if Logan doesn’t like being an assistant or even if he retires in a few years, he will be the invaluable during these early days.

Defensive Coordinator: Frank Spaziani
What he brings to the table: Consistency. Transitions are always messy. BC’s should be better than most, because one half of the field will not be facing significant changes.
Connection to Jags: Worked under Jags on TOB’s first BC staff
Connection to BC: Longest current tenure among the coaches.
Question mark: Spaz has not been beyond reproach as DC. Soon we’ll find out if some of the problems were controlled by TOB or Spaz. Also, how well will he work with the new guys?
Overall assessment: I can live with Spaziani coming back. Initially I wasn’t thrilled. The idea has grown on me. At least I know what we can expect from the D next year. But I still hope that Spaziani starts to make long overdue adjustments to offenses like Wake Forest.

Recruiting Coordinator, Defensive Back Coach: Mike Siravo
What he brings to the table: Recruiting. The guy has been the recruiting coordinator at two different schools in his short career. He also got the stamp of approval from Mr. Recruiter himself Al Golden.
Connection to Jags: Played under Jags at BC. Also part of the peripheral BC coaching tree with connections to Golden, Bob Shoop, John Defilipo.
Connection to BC: 1998 graduate (and if I am not mistaken, like me, is married to a BC gal).
Question mark: Has never been a recruiting coordinator at BCS school. Recruiting at Columbia and Temple is very different from recruiting at BC. What sort of position coach will he be?
Overall assessment: I would have preferred a bigger name or a more experienced guy for this slot. This is a real stretch for him. I will give him the benefit of the doubt for now and the first wave of feedback from inside and outside of BC has been glowing.

Tight ends and Special Teams Coach: Don Yanowsky
What he brings to the table: Experience in the ACC. Experience working with Logan. Midwest roots. Special Teams success.
Connection to Jags: He worked for Jags’ mentor Logan at ECU.
Connection to BC: none.
Question mark: What kind of Tight Ends coach can he and will he be. He has held a variety of positions before and was most recently a TE coach but he has also worked both lines and Special Teams
Overall assessment: Not a big name, but Logan’s endorsement carries a lot of weight. He seemed to work very hard recruiting Florida in his first month at BC.

Offensive Line Coach: Jim Turner
What he brings to the table: Toughness and discipline. I am not sure what tone Jags is going to set. Is he going to be the good cop? If so, Turner, a Marine, would probably be an effective bad cop. He also brings deep Northeast roots and is a BC grad.
Connection to Jags: Supposedly they crossed paths when Turner was at Northeastern and Jags was at BC.
Connection to BC: BC grad and former captain.
Question mark: Turner gets the prime position spot at O-Line U. He has good O Line experience, but there is a twist to taking the job under Jags. Jags is going to implement the Alex Gibbs zone blocking scheme. The Gibbs’ scheme is taught in specific ways with specific drills. The cult surrounding Gibbs teachings are unique…you practically have to sign a blood oath to learn his methods. So Turner will to learn a new system and a new way to coach on the job. Will he be comfortable seeding so much authority to his Head Coach?
Overall assessment: While he doesn’t have BCS experience, his BC experience is vital to the new staff. Great addition.

Linebackers Coach: Bill McGovern
What he brings to the table: Stability and a great reputation. He was probably the best position coach on TOB’s old staff.
Connection to Jags: Worked under Spaziani
Connection to BC: Part of both Henning and TOB’s staffs
Question mark: Not many. We know he can teach. We know he can recruit. I guess the only real question is how will he work with the new guys.
Overall assessment: I don’t know how it was established that he wanted to stay at BC, but McGovern was the one name that was on every potential coach’s staff list. I am glad he likes BC and was willing to stay.

Defensive Line Coach: Jeff Comissiong
What he brings to the table: Much needed diversity. New England roots. Experience as a recruiting coordinator.
Connection to Jags: None that I know of
Connection to BC: None that I know of
Question mark: I’ve heard good things about his teaching skills. The only real question is can he recruit at this level? BC is a big step up after Harvard and Maine.
Overall assessment: Willis was a popular figure with the message board crowd, so Comissiong has some big shoes to fill. I think he will be a nice addition. Jags and Spaz were both heavily involved in bringing him onboard.

Running Backs Coach: Ben Sirmans
What he brings to the table: Jersey roots, former recruiting coordinator, coaching experience in the Midwest and BCS experience from Michigan State.
Connection to Jags: Worked with Comissiong (who had been on staff a few weeks before Jags hired Sirmans)
Connection to BC: none that I know of
Question mark: The only thing Sirmans lacks is experience recruiting at a school like BC with its higher standards for incoming recruits.
Overall assessment: A nice addition. The combination of Jersey roots and Midwest connections will be very important moving forward.

Wide Receivers Coach: Ryan Day
What he brings to the table: Enthusiasm, understanding of Florida’s offense, familiarity with BC and glowing reputation.
Connection to Jags: He is part of the Golden, Siravo, Gene D. circle
Connection to BC: Former grad assistant under TOB
Question mark: He’s green and has only been a full-time coach for one season.
Overall assessment: I loved this hire. Day has the stamp of approval of TOB, Golden and Urban Meyer. He is a smart guy (who called the fake field goal in the first Tire Bowl) and has done all the right things along the way.

What I like about the whole staff
1. Recruiting, recruiting, recruiting.
You have two former recruiting coordinators in Sirmans and Comissiong. You have guys like Day and McGovern who are known for their tireless recruiting efforts. Yanowsky worked very hard in this short window before this signing period. And Turner can sell BC as a former player. Every guy on this staff is a salesman.
2. Northeast experience. Everyone but Yanowsky and Logan have deep roots to the Northeast and New England. This will help Jags build his figurative wall around New England and will make us a player in New Jersey once again.
3. BC roots. Jags, Spaz, McGovern, Day, Siravo, and Turner have either coached or played at BC. This will help the transition, build up tradition and ease any battles that might arise with admissions.

What I worry about
1. Lack of roots in the Midwest. Yanowsky, Sirmans and Jags are the only guys will solid Midwest roots. Ohio, and specifically Cincinnati, has been our lifeblood for the past 10 years. TOB’s NC State guys are going to start chipping away at the Cinci foothold. We need to work very hard and hold our ground.
2. Lack of BCS level experience. This is step up for many of the guys. As I’ve said, coaching and recruiting at this level is a whole different ball game. I think they will succeed, but the growing pains worry me.
3. Florida roots. In Jags’ short time we have already grabbed a few names out of the Sunshine State. Most of the guys will be projects. To reach the next level, we need to get the blue chippers. Only Day and Yanowsky seem to have Florida connections.

This is not an All-Star lineup but I think it s a very good foundation. These guys are all “BC Guys” and will work hard to bring in the right student athletes to the Heights. If they coach as well as they recruit, BC will reach the next level.


Alex L. said...

Bill, as always, excellent analysis. I had been keeping a list of the coaches as they came on board. Now I can just refer to this post.

Bosco2BC said...

This is great stuff

Adam said...

I am not as concerned about Cincinnati as you seem to be.

O'Brien was born there, and he felt as though he should recruit the talent there. When he started recruiting there, Cincy and Louisville were mid-major programs and BC was in a major (BCS) conference. Now both of those schools are in the Big East and have access to BCS bowls.

I think that if we look at the entire Midwest instead of focusing in one corner of Ohio, we'll be fine. After all, Kiwi came from Indianapolis.

flutie22phelan20 said...

Bill, awesome work. I also think your concern about Cinci is misplaced. The Cinci and Cleveland area Catholic schools have been pipelines for BC for a LONG time and definitely pre-date O'Brien. Sure, his ties to St. X (or whatever his alma mater is), helped...but that connection had been established long before he came aboard.

Plus, take a kid from St. Ignatius or St. X in Ohio...where's he a better fit, NC State or BC?

Anonymous said...

keep up the great analysis atl.

Unknown said...

I really like your writing style. Such a nice Post, Can’t wait for the next one.

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