Update: 12/5 @ 6:30 p.m.
Georgia Tech has officially announced Long’s hire, and it appears that he will also take over as the quarterbacks coach, a position he has not held in an official capacity in his career.
Just spoke to Tulane OC Chip Long. He is headed to Georgia Tech to become the offensive coordinator.— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) December 5, 2021
I already talked about Long in a coaching search update, but we’ll cover it all again.
2006 - 2007 | Louisville (Offensive Graduate Assistant)
2008 - 2009 | Arkansas (Offensive Graduate Assistant)
2010 - 2011 | Illinois (Tight Ends/Fullbacks Coach)
2012 - 2015 | Arizona State (Tight Ends Coach/Recruiting Coordinator)
2016 | Memphis (Offensive Coordinator/Tight Ends Coach)
2017 - 2019 | Notre Dame (Offensive Coordinator/Tight Ends Coach)
2020 | Tennessee (Offensive Analyst)
2021 | Tulane (Offensive Coordinator)
In my last overview of Long’s history, I started with his time at Tulane, but let’s go a bit further back and look at his time at Illinois and Arizona State.
The 2010 season was Paul Petrino’s first season as Illinois’ offensive coordinator, and the Illini saw a big jump in offensive production. Focusing in on the tight ends and fullbacks, for whom Long was responsible, Evan Wilson’s freshman campaign was the best of his time at Illinois. He caught 10 passes for 135 yards and two TDs. He was also the Illini’s fourth-leading receiver, including RB Mikel Leshoure. Year 2 at Illinois saw the offense take a big step back. This also saw the Illini use four different tight ends, but the main two were Wilson (9 catches, 89 yards, 3 TDs) and Jon Davis (22 catches, 187 yards, 1 TD).
Moving onto Arizona State, Long produced the Sun Devils’ leading receiver in his first season there in the form of Chris Coyle who, in his first and only season as the starter, caught 57 passes for 696 yards and five TDs. Coyle was good again in 2016, though the emergence of Jaelen Strong caused a decrease in usage. He caught 29 passes for 423 yards and four TDs. The tight end group saw another decrease in usage in 2014, as Coyle graduated and Kody Kohl took over as the starter. He caught 16 passes for 167 yards and four TDs. Kohl improved in his second and final year under Long, catching 32 passes for 368 yards and four TDs.
While at Arizona State, Long also served as the recruiting coordinator, and he saw a lot of success in that position. After his first recruiting class (Class of 2013) finished 39th in the country (5th in Pac-12) with an 247 Composite rating of 0.8414, he went on to add three straight classes in the Top 25, with two of them having an average 247 Composite rating over 0.8700.
Since I’ve already covered the rest of his career in an earlier post, I’m just going to copy that below:
Starting with Chip Long, it’s tough to gauge his time at Memphis, because he was part of Norvell’s first season replacing Justin Fuente there, so the offense was already in a really good place. Looking at ND, the offense did improve from Mike Sanford’s last year to Long’s first. He used Brandon Wimbush pretty effectively. 2018 was a little less great as they transitioned to Ian Book. He had a decent year, but since he isn’t the runner Wimbush was, they lost that dimension. Book improved in 2019 having the job be fully his. He passed for over 3,000 yards and 30 TDs while having just six picks. The running game again was there but not the focus. I wonder how much success for Book can be attributed to Long since Tommy Rees was already on staff as the QB coach and ND made the decision to not keep him. It also doesn’t look great that his next position wasn’t a coordinator position, but rather an analyst position at UT. There was a lot of talk while Long was there about who was really running the offense, him or Brian Kelly. Reading the comments from the ND SBN site after Long was fired, it seems like they didn’t hate him, but they thought he could have done a lot better. Was well thought of as a TE coach and recruiter. Apparently there was also a rumor that Tommy Rees took over playcalling towards the end of Long’s tenure at ND. Looking at Tulane this year, the QB is apparently young and has some promise and did fine this year, but the offense was pretty lacking and the defense was even worse. He had two RBs over 500 yards with a combined 12 TDs.
Here’s a brief look from One Foot Down about Chip Long’s offense that Kevin Sinclair wrote when Long was hired at Notre Dame.
Overall, I don’t love this hire. I think that Long can help out with recruiting and the tight ends, but he was far from an inspiring hire. He certainly will have the opportunity to be successful, but I don’t know that it will be enough. I’m optimistic about what he’ll be able to do with Georgia Tech’s tight ends and recruiting.
Be on the lookout later this week to hear about this hire after I talk to some Tulane folks to see what they think.
How are you feeling about the hire of Chip Long?