Army had one assistant coaching change in Rich Ellerson’s first four years at West Point.
In 2013, Ellerson’s staff has received somewhat of an overhaul. Four new coaches have been brought in. Five returning coaches have seen their responsibilities change in one form or another.
Here’s a summary with some feedback from Ellerson on the moves:
Wayne Moses (running backs): Moses has coached running backs for 30 years in college (USC, UCLA, California, Stanford, Washington) and two years in the pros (Rams). Ellerson’s take: “With Wayne here, he doesn’t have the background with the option per say, but he has as good of a background as anyone in the business, working with some of the best backs in the business in terms of the blocking and the ball possession…Those fundamentals associated with those key guys touching the ball he’s as experienced as anybody in our business.”
Todd Spencer and Tom Simi (offensive line): Spencer and Simi replaced retiring coaches Gene McKeehan and Bill Tripp, who built the most consistent area of Army’s team the past four years. Spencer coached 11 years at Navy including the last six under Paul Johnson. He was last at Georgia Tech (2008-2011). Simi was the head coach at Army Prep the past four seasons. Ellerson’s take: “Between (Todd) and Tom, we don’t lose anything from an experience standpoint even though we had two really experienced offensive line coaches who have been with me forever retiring. The two guys stepping in are not only experienced with the offense and the option, they’re experienced with the academies…They know their stuff.”
Mayur Chaudhari (defensive assistant): Chaudhari, an Army Prep assistant, has coached at Stanford and VMI. He will coach safeties. Ellerson’s take: “Mayur is a guy has been down there (Army Prep) for a couple of years. So, he knows these guys. He knows us. He did such a good job down there in so many ways we just could wait to get him. On defense, the staff needed more of back end presence.”
Shuffling of returning coaches
Ian Shields: Shields has been Army’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach the past four years. In 2013, Shields have one title – offensive coordinator. Ellerson’s take: What was happening I felt is Ian (Shields) was doing a great job with that (the quarterbacks) but there are parts of practice where he’s not the quarterback coach or the B-back coach, he’s the offensive coordinator. In that part of practice when he is doing a lot of the other things, I want to have somebody (Andy Guyader) still chipping away at those fundamentals.”
Tucker Waugh: Waugh, Army’s running backs coach and recruiting coordinator the last four years, shifts to wide receivers coach. Ellerson’s take: “Tuck is going to oversee all of the skilled positions on offense but his center of gravity will be at receiver.”
Andy Guyader: Guyader, the team’s wide receivers coach the last four years, will move to quarterbacks coach and is transitioning into Army’s recruiting coordinator taking Waugh’s place. Ellerson’s take: He’s transitioning into that lead (in recruiting). Andy basically ran the weekend for the first time. This is going to happen over the course of the spring. He and Tuck are kind of right feet, left feet right now with the idea that will transition into Andy’s portfolio if you will.”
Payam Saadat: Saadat, Army’s co-defensive coordinator, will work with the defensive front, helping to make up for the loss of Clarence Holmes, who was let go. He mentored linebackers and safeties last season. Ellerson’s take: Payam’s background is upfront and as you know we play with all those strong safeties, corners and free safeties, we have a back five. That’s where the center of gravity needed to be. We have plenty of guys that can coach the defensive front to include myself… We were a little short handed on the back end from an experienced standpoint. Payam did a nice job with those guys. As good of a job as he did, he is still a better coach upfront than he is on the back end.”
Luke Thompson: Thompson coached fullbacks and special teams in his first season last year. This year, Thompson will solely coach special teams. Ellerson’s take: “I felt like we were stretching him (Thompson) unnecessarily and we were just not getting the most out of it… I think sometimes we asked him to do too many things in practice just like we did with Joe (Ross). I want him to redouble his efforts (on special teams) and see if he can steal us another possession.”