Nearly three weeks after losing an assistant to a Big Ten school, Matt Wells has filled that particular hole on his Utah State coaching staff.
USU confirmed in a press release Wednesday that DeAndre Smith has been hired as the Aggies’ running backs coach. Smith replaces Mark Tommerdahl, who left last month to take over as special teams coordinator and tight ends coach at Purdue.
Last season, Smith was the running backs coach at North Carolina.
“I am extremely honored and fortunate to have this opportunity to work with Coach Wells and the rest of his staff,” a statement from Smith began. “I’m really excited about the opportunity of doing my part to help this program win a Mountain West Championship.”
Prior to his time at UNC, Smith was on the coaching staff at… Purdue, as running backs coach, of course. Smith has also served in that positional coaching role at Syracuse (2013-15), New Mexico (2012, 2008), Illinois (2010-11), UNLV (2009) and Miami of Ohio (2005-07).
One of the assistants on the Lobos’ staff during Smith’s first stint with the program? Smith’s new boss, Matt Wells, who served as wide receivers coach for the Mountain West program.
“DeAndre is an excellent addition to our football staff here at Utah State and fits well in a lot of areas with our staff,” the head coach said in his statement. “He is a tremendous football coach and does a great job coaching running backs. DeAndre is an excellent recruiter and someone that will coach our kids hard with a lot of love. We welcome DeAndre, Lori, Ryan and Donovan to our Aggie football family.”
Jeff Brohm is bringing in longtime coaching veteran Mark Tommerdahl to fill out his staff and serve as Purdue’s special teams and tight ends coach.
The Boilermakers announced the move on Saturday afternoon as Tommerdahl heads to West Lafayette after spending just a season at Utah State where he also coached running backs and ran the Aggies’ special teams. While his stay in Logan was brief, Tommerdahl has been all over the country in 34 years as a coach and is highly regarded for his work in the kicking game.
Tommerdahl has plenty of prior Power Five coaching experience and spent four seasons with Sonny Dykes at Cal where he coached three different position groups and served as assistant head coach. Prior to that he also had stops at Louisiana Tech, Texas A&M, Alabama, TCU and several other schools.
The move to bring in Tommerdahl fills the spot on the Boilermakers’ staff that was left when former Houston coach Tony Levine left after one season with the school to pursue opportunities outside of the coaching profession. Brohm’s 10th assistant Kevin Wolthausen was also given special teams responsibilities when he was elevated to a full-time role so it’s possible the team is really beefing up their emphasis on the third phases of the game with the two new coaches splitting duties when it comes to special teams.
Either way, after a surprising 2017 season that ended with a bowl game victory it’s pretty clear that Brohm is not just sitting back when it comes to his coaching staff and is bringing in some veteran names to help the team take the next step in 2018.
Demoted at his last job, Keith Patterson is back to leading his own defense.
Utah State confirmed in a release Tuesday that Patterson has been named as USU’s new defensive coordinator. In addition to his coordinating duties, Patterson will also coach the Aggies’ safeties, a first for that particular position group in his coaching career.
“We are very excited to announce Keith Patterson as a member of our defensive staff,” said head coach Matt Wells. “Keith’s experience as a defensive coordinator and aggressive style will mesh very well with coach Maile and our current staff. Keith and I have spent several years coaching together previously and I know his work ethic, passion and energy will fit perfect into our Utah State football culture. We are excited to have Keith and Melissa as part of our Aggie football family.”
“I am excited to become a member of the Utah State family,” said Patterson. “I have tremendous respect for Coach Wells, the staff and players in this program. I look forward to helping build upon the success and foundation that has already been established.”
Patterson spent the past four seasons at Arizona State. He was the coordinator the first three years with the Sun Devils before he stepped aside and was replaced by Phil Bennett in January of last year. This past season, he was Todd Graham‘s linebackers coach at ASU.
Prior to ASU, Patterson was the coordinator at West Virginia (solo 2013, co-coordinator in 2012) and Pitt (2011).
One of Utah State’s all-time best players is back with the program. Chuckie Keeton is joining the Utah State coaching staff, although his exact title has not yet been officially confirmed.
What role Keeton will take on remains to be officially announced, although the speculation is he will be an offensive assistant coach who will work with the Utah State quarterbacks. This will be Keeton’s second coaching job since his playing days came to a close. Keeton got started at Oregon State under former Utah State and Oregon State head coach Gary Andersen. Keeton joined the Oregon State coaching staff in 2016. With changes in the Oregon State program with a coaching change this offseason, now was as good a time as any for Keeton to return to Utah State, where he became one of the top players from a non-power conference program to become a bit of a household name.
Keeton shared his reaction to returning to his alma mater on Twitter.
Keeton holds a number of Utah State records including career records for completion percentage and pass efficiency and season records for most touchdown passes, passing yards, total offensive yards, and completion percentage. Utah State finished the 2017 season ranked 69th in the nation in passing offense and ended the year with 17 passing touchdowns to 13 interceptions.
Keeton’s college career was sidetracked by injuries far too often, but it will be good to see Keeton back with the Utah State program as he continues his coaching career.
The NCAA-approved 10th assistant became official on Tuesday, and so far the highest-profile hire — by far — has been Ohio State’s plucking of Washington State defensive coordinator Alex Grinch. In just three seasons on staff, the 37-year-old Grinch took a defense that was 99th nationally in total defense the year prior to his arrival and transformed them to the 16th-best unit in college football this season.
Grinch’s loss is one that Mike Leach does not believe can be filled by just one replacement.
Wazzu has already hired ex-Minnesota head coach Tracy Claeys to serve as defensive coordinator, but now the Cougars are moving on another up-and-comer to also join the staff.
According to UStateAggies and the Seattle Times, Utah State co-defensive coordinator Kendrick Shaver will join the staff in an as-yet-undefined role.
Officially, Shaver will fill the role left by outside linebackers coach Roy Manning, who left Pullman to become Chip Kelly‘s special teams coordinator in Westwood, but the guess here is Shaver oversees the secondary in a co-defensive coordinator role.
Shaver spent six seasons on staff at Utah State, where he was selected by his peers as a co-recipient of the FootballScoop Defensive Backs Coach of the Year award in 2012. Under Shaver’s guidance, Utah State recorded three seasons in which it ranked among the top 25 nationally in pass efficiency defense, including this season.