Friday, June 10, 2011

Filling the West Virginia Coaching Staff

With Bill Stewart out and Dana Holgorsen promoted to head coach at West Virginia, there is now an open position on staff. It was presumed that outside receivers coach Shannon Dawson would step in as offensive coordinator in 2012, so it is possible that change may happen now. It really wouldn't make a difference because Holgorsen would call plays regardless, but Dawson could shift from receivers to quarterbacks. That being said, the open position could be filled with a receivers coach or a QB coach, depending on what will be done with Dawson. Here are some possible candidates to fill the open spot:

Landon Hoefer - East Carolina Graduate Assistant
  • Played wide receiver at Texas Tech from 2005-08, where he played for Dana Holgorsen for three seasons.
  • Hoefer's uncle, former Baylor LB coach Larry Hoefer, coached with Hal Mumme at West Texas State (1981) and UTEP (1982-85). Mumme's coaching tree includes Mike Leach, Dana Holgorsen, Sonny Dykes, and others known for their offensive style of play.

Eric Morris - Houston Graduate Assistant
  • Played wide receiver at Texas Tech from 2004-08, where he played for Dana Holgorsen for his first four years before Holgorsen left for Houston. Morris joined Holgorsen at Houston after the 2009 season as a quality control assistant, but Holgorsen left shortly after to become the offensive coordinator at Oklahoma State.

Earnest Wilson - Jackson State Offensive Coordinator
  • Coached running backs at New Mexico State from 2005-09, where he worked with head coach Hal Mumme. Wilson worked for one year at NMSU with Shannon Dawson, who was a graduate assistant with the team in 2005.

Graham Harrell - Green Bay Packers Quarterback
  • Worked as a quality control coach under Dana Holgorsen at Oklahoma State in 2010 prior to making the team in Green Bay.
  • Played QB at Texas Tech from 2005-08, working with Holgorsen his first three seasons.

Monday, June 6, 2011

10 Possible Destinations for Plaxico Burress

Here at The Coaching Tree, everything is based on connections. In this case, we looked at all of the coaches currently on NFL staffs that have worked on a team where Plaxico Burress played. Here are the top ten destinations for Burress based on our findings:

1. St. Louis Rams - Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo was the New York Giants' defensive coordinator in 2007 and '08, so he's well aware of what he would be getting with Plaxico Burress. Also, new Rams offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels was a graduate assistant at Michigan State in 1999 and 2000, working with Burress his last season in college. The Rams have a few promising young receivers, but Plaxico is a big, reliable target that Sam Bradford and the Rams offense still lacks.

2. Cleveland Browns - The Browns' new head coach Pat Shurmur was an assistant at Michigan State when Plaxico Burress came in 1997. QB coach Mark Whipple joined the S
teelers staff as QB coach in 2004, Burress' last year in Pittsburgh. Also, defensive assistant Chuck Bullough was a graduate assistant at MSU when Plaxico joined the squad in '97. The Browns could really use a solid veteran receiver, and Burress could fit in along with Mohamed Massaquoi as big targets for Colt McCoy.

3. Miami Dolphins - New Dolphins offensive coordinator Brian Daboll as well as OL coach Dave DeGuglielmo and LB coach Bill Sheridan have all coached a Plaxico Burress team. Daboll was a graduate assistant at Michigan State in 1998 and '99, Burress' last two years in college. DeGuglielmo was an assistant with the Giants during Plax's four years in NY, and Bill Sheridan was on staff both at Michigan State and with the Giants. The only question I have is how well the personalities of Plaxico and Brandon Marshall will be able to mesh on the same team. That being said, a Burress-Marshall-Davone Bess trio could be great for Chad Henne.

4. Pittsburgh Steelers - There are five coaches still on staff that were in Pittsburgh during Burress' stint with the Steelers, including offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, who was the WR coach in 2004. He would seem to fit in as the possession receiver alongside the reliable Hines Ward and up and coming, big play threat Mike Wallace.

5. Denver Broncos - QB coach Adam Gase was a student assistant coach at Michigan State from 1996-99, where he worked with the WRs (including Burress).

6. Cincinnati Bengals - This choice is mainly due to the Bengals' reputation for giving players second chances. Also, DL coach Jay Hayes was on the Steelers staff Plax's first two years in Pittsburgh.

7. Tennessee Titans - Chris Palmer is the new offensive coordinator for the Titans' new staff. He was the QB coach for the Giants during Burress' last two years in New York, including the 2007 Super Bowl season. With Randy Moss likely on his way out, the Titans could use another WR opposite Kenny Britt.

8. Arizona Cardinals - There are seven coaches on the Cardinals staff who were with the Steelers when Plaxico was with the team from 2000-2004. One possible drawback is that Burress is very similar to Larry Fitgerald, and the two don't seem as complementary to each other.

9. Atlanta Falcons - Offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey and new QB coach Bob Bratkowski both worked with Burress in Pittsburgh. Bratkowski was his position coach his rookie year with the Steelers. It looks good, but the Falcons likely don't want to deal him post-Vick. Also, with Roddy White and Julio Jones at WR, he really isn't needed in ATL.

10. New York Giants - While it seems like a good fit, with nine coaches still on staff who worked with Burress, this is a case where it is probably better to give Plaxico a fresh start elsewhere similar to Michael Vick and the Falcons.