Most of Akron’s coaching staff was announced today. Of the eight new coaches, five are following head coach Tom Arth from Tennessee-Chattanooga:
- Tommy Zagorski, offensive line
- Chris Cook, tight ends & offensive tackles
- Matt Feeney, defensive coordinator
- Brian Cochran, defensive line
- Shelton Felton, inside linebackers
- Davern Williams, outside linebackers & defensive ends
- Oscar Rodriguez Jr., defensive backs
- Chris Hurd, special teams coordinator
Scott Aligo also follows Arth from Chattanooga while Ben Murphy keeps his job as Akron’s director of football operations.
Obviously, there’s still a few more positions that need to be filled, but here are just a few takeaways from these hirings:
Akron’s definitely going to be running a 3-4 defense, considering that’s the kind of defense Feeney — who’s 27 years young — ran when he was a first-time DC last year at Chattanooga.
Wait, Feeney’s 27?! That’s young as heck, but this reads like the sort of change Akron needed. Plus, it’s the best spot to have a “bright, young mind of college football” get his first crack at play-calling at the FBS level. Akron’s in a position where it needs to be more progressive instead of staying stagnant, which is what the Bowden era left them. It’ll be fun to see how the players who had relationships with Chuck Amato before he retired at the age of 71 now has to be coached by a 27-year old. Not that there’s any smoke worth detecting here, but it’s fun to note that Akron’s actually going through a philosophy change that goes beyond switching things up from a 4-3 to a 3-4. (Also, Feeney’s another John Carroll guy.)
Arth still needs a pair of offensive coaches. There are only two assistants positions left to fill and there’s no official word on who’s in charge of the quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers and offensive play-calling. What I expect will happen is one assistant will be hired to coach RBs, one to coach WRs, then Arth will coach QBs and be the offensive coordinator. The OC duties are what’s most up in the air, but Arth was in the NFL for a hot second, so there’s no way he’s not coaching that group. Arth didn’t call plays at Chattanooga with Justin Rascati as the OC for the Mocs. He’s now the team’s head coach.
Yep, he’s the guy from that thing. Williams was the coach I enjoyed most in the first two seasons of Last Chance U, the popular Netflix show original that focuses on JUCO football. It’s easy to conclude that this is a “recruiting victory”, but that moral victory only goes so far. If time proves that Williams recruits well for Akron, it won’t be because he was on a Netflix show. In any case, it does add a little more intrigue to the program since people [like me] will want him to succeed, too.