Jeff Hafley spoke to the media Friday with the start of Spring Practice and made his rumored staff official. He will now have two new first-time play callers, Duggan and Shimko supervised by two veterans in Hafley and Rob Chudzinski, respectively. Applebaum returns to Oline. Azaar gets a Co-Coodinator title and veteran Paul Rhoads joins the staff as a OLB coach. On paper it can work. There is a lot to like. Hafley said all the right things and seems to have the right energy and outlook coming off of a rough season. Will it work though?
I like the defensive moves. Hafley admitted the system is not changing much. He will be more involved and he thinks he has better depth. This is where I have faith. The unit was the least of our issues last year. I don't think we have enough elite talent yet and I think the scheme was a bit passive, but just an across the board, general improvement the changes should be enough to keep us in most games. Plus he added Rhoads, who should be a good sounding board and steadying hand.
The offense requires a much bigger leap of faith. QB, OL and OC were issues last year. The QB position should be improved. The OLine should be better. We have depth, much more experience and a known entity for he position coach. I didn't think much of Applebaum but he was well liked at BC and while his two seasons at BC didn't produce dominant units, they weren't a mess either. That is a basic improvement. The biggest issue will be scheme and play calling. The best college offenses are not particularly complex. They out execute, they put very specific pressure on the opponents and they leverage their talent. BC didn't do any of that well. Chud knows how to run a good offense. Shimko shows promise. But will they get this team executing in an effective way by Game 1? I hope so. But both were part of last year's disaster (albeit in different roles). If they had he answers, why couldn't we save the sinking ship last year?
Despite coming off a terrible year, Hafley doesn't seem beaten. He seemed to use the offseason to assess everything and make the necessary changes (including adjusting his position on the portal). He has the right energy. I still believe. Let's hope he made the right moves and it all comes together.