Best B1G coaching hires this offseason
With spring practice creeping up quickly, football programs are finalizing their coaching staffs in order to have everything in place in the upcoming weeks.
There are plenty of new faces joining B1G coaching staffs this season, several of which are significant additions. While there could still be some changes over the coming weeks and months, we decided to take a look at some of the best coaching staff hires so far this offseason.
Here’s a look at the five hires that stand out the most:
Josh Gattis, Michigan
Role: Offensive coordinator
Michigan’s offense been through some ups and downs, but it’s never really been a strength under Jim Harbaugh. In an attempt to change that, the Wolverines brought in Josh Gattis and Harbaugh is ditching his collaborative approach and allowing his new coordinator to run the show.
Gattis has spent time under Joe Moorhead at Penn State and Mike Locksley at Alabama, bringing a fresh and creative mind to the offense. He has experience at major programs and understands how to win in the B1G. Michigan’s offense has been somewhat bland over the last four years, and Gattis brings all the right spices to provide the Wolverines with the flavor they need.
Kalen DeBoer, Indiana
Role: Offensive coordinator, quarterbacks coach
Tom Allen needed to make a splash hire at offensive coordinator after the last two seasons with Mike DeBord running the show. Kalen DeBoer is an up-and-coming offensive mind and has enjoyed plenty of success in his career. The guy won three NAIA national titles before age 40, which is pretty dang good.
Indiana’s offensive line play has been inconsistent, playmakers haven’t been utilized nearly enough and the play-calling has been safe — to put it mildly. When you share a division with Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State and Penn State, playing it safe isn’t the best way to go. The Hoosiers have some really nice pieces returning next year, so expect DeBoer’s offense to take a lot of chances this fall, which will be a lot more entertaining to watch.
Mike Bellamy, Illinois
Role: Running backs coach
When Lovie Smith first arrived in Champaign, he probably made a mistake by not retaining Mike Bellamy. But, when you’re coming into a new situation, you want to surround yourself with “your guys,” so the decision was understandable. Smith has righted that wrong, though, and it’s a good move for the Illini.
Bellamy checks a lot of boxes for the Illini. He’s an excellent recruiter, played for the program in the 1990s and was an assistant in the early 2010s. It’s a little peculiar that he’s taking over as a running backs coach after playing wide receiver and serving as a wide receivers coach throughout his career. But this seems like more of a recruiting hire than anything. That’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Greg Mattison, Ohio State
Role: Co-defensive coordinator
Last year wasn’t exactly a banner year for the Ohio State defense, forcing new head coach Ryan Day to make some changes to his defensive staff. In assembling his new staff, he was able to pluck a really good, experienced assistant away from rival Michigan in Greg Mattison.
Aside from bringing over 40 years of experience to Columbus, Mattison has coached some of the best defensive lineman in the country, especially recently at Michigan — Rashan Gary, Chase Winovich, Maurice Hurst and Taco Charlton, to name a few. He’s worked with elite talent and his defenses have been fundamentally sound. And after last year, getting back to the basics might be key for the Buckeyes.
Greg Brown, Purdue
Role: Cornerbacks coach
Purdue’s secondary was subpar last year, ranking dead last in the B1G against the pass, allowing 284.7 yards per game through the air. That also ranked 128th out of 130 teams nationally. The addition of Greg Brown should benefit the Boilermakers in that area defensively.
Brown brings nearly 40 years of experience to Purdue and was previously a defensive assistant in West Lafayette under Fred Akers from 1989-90. He spent the last two years at Auburn as the secondary coach, where the Tigers ranked in the top half of the SEC in pass defense in 2017 and 2018. Brown’s arrival should help Purdue significantly in one of its most problematic areas.