Monday, January 12, 2015

Babers Shuffles Coaching Staff

So, we already knew BG was going to need to replace two offensive assistants, as our CO-OC...and QB and OL coach/combos went to Tulsa.  What was announced late last week will surprise the Falcon Nation and, depending on how you feel about Coach Babers either reveals his fundamental lack of ability or gives you hope that he is a good enough Coach to learn and adjust.

Here is what actually did:

DC Kim McCloud was moved to assistant Head Coach and WRs.
Sean Lewis was moved from WR Coach to QB Coach (Replacing Gilbert who left)
Mike Lynch was moved from RB Coach to OL Coach (Replacing Mattox who left)
Tom Freeman was moved from D-line Coach to "assistant OL Coach"

That's a WOW.  Let's review.

First, Mc Cloud being moved off DC to be a position coach is huge.  BG's defense had a huge fall off this year and, as we have noted many times, we playing its worst at the end of the year when relatively health.

Second, Tom Freeman being moved to an essentially unheard of position is significant.  He was originally not slated to come here from EIU, but was brought in after Larry McDaniel left to go to Indiana.  I'm not going to say anything else, I think it speaks for itself.  (Freeman was an assistant at Hawaii when Babers played there and they have coached together at four different spots).

To me, the changes reflect a recognition that he needed different people to succeed at this level...and a Coach who understands that this season did not go as it should have--even if says different things.  I understand putting a positive face forward, but you can't hide from the results and I hope that will eventually be the thing.  (Note, in the season-ender I posited a RichRod scenario, where in the end results did not matter).

It means that the team will have new people at both coordinator positions and that neither position will be filled by an internal promotion.  That is pretty meaningful and gives Babers a pretty big opportunity.  On the defensive side of the ball, BG on paper expects to have huge talent and someone needs to harness that.  On defense, there will be youth and someone needs to develop that.

Here is what Coach Babers said, however, that has tongues wagging, from The Blade.

“This allows some of our assistants to get back to their natural positions which they have played and coached at in the past, which will make our coaching staff more experienced and allow us to get the most out of our student-athletes.”

<<Mushroom Cloud>>

The implications that guys were at "unnatural" positions has some elements of the Falcon Nation exercised.

So, let's take a closer look.

First, and most importantly, he is not talking about Kim McCloud, OK?  In fact, McCloud played defense in college and has been a defensive coach for every year except one, when he was a WR Coach at Nevada.  So, if anything, McCloud is moving to an unnatural position.  Again, if you are saying that Babers had a DC who was not an experienced defensive coach, you should limit yourself to BG's defensive results, which are enough.

The statement does apply to Freeman.  His career has been spent on the offensive line, and he was moved to defensive line at EIU when he joined Babers there for Coach's second season.

The statement does not apply to Sean Lewis, who played only one year (at UW) at QB before moving to TE and his coaching career has been WRs and TEs.

The statement barely applies to Mike Lynch.  He did play O-line in college, but his natural coaching position has been WR and RB.

So, I think the statement is probably a little overstated and unnecessary.  Coach may well be trying to protect his guys, but there are other ways to put it.  On the other hand, what Coach says is getting blown up.

Anyway, that's the move.  Pretty interesting.  Again, I am not sold on Coach Babers either way, but to me this is a guy committed to getting the job done at BG and not stuck in his ways or on specific guys.  He has a chance to continue that progress by bringing in the rights guy as his coordinators and get BG back on the right track.

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