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Georgia Tech Football: Vanderbilt’s Norval McKenzie is Tech’s New RB Coach

Key is filling out his staff!

NCAA Football: Wake Forest at Vanderbilt Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Brent Key has added one more piece to the puzzle of his staff in former Vanderbilt running backs coach Norval McKenzie. Ken reported the news publicly first, but Russell had it behind the paywall.

Coaching History

  • 2008-2009: Vanderbilt (Graduate Assistant)
  • 2010: Vanderbilt (Assistant Recruiting Coordinator)
  • 2011-2014: Furman (Recruiting Coordinator/Running Backs Coach)
  • 2015: Furman (Special Teams Coordinator/Running Backs Coach)
  • 2016-2017: Arkansas State (Running Backs Coach)
  • 2018: Arkansas State (Special Teams Coordinator/Running Backs Coach)
  • 2019-2020: Louisville (Running Backs Coach)
  • 2021-2022: Vanderbilt (Run Game Coordinator/Running Backs Coach)

Without diving into the numbers, this is already a hire that makes a ton of sense. He previously worked with Tech’s new offensive coordinator at Arkansas State and has four years of Power 5 experience. He also has a bit of experience as a recruiting coordinator, which I am a big fan of. Now, let’s look at some stats!

As I discussed in the article on Faulkner, Arkansas State’s running game improved each season he and McKenzie were there, though they never returned to the impressive baseline that was set before their arrival.

At Louisville, McKenzie oversaw the development of Javian Hawkins at running back. In his first season, Hawkins rushed for over 1,500 yards (5.78 yards/rush) and nine touchdowns. He also rushed for -0.06 EPA/rush and a 39 percent success rate. In 2020, the overall numbers went down (817 yards and two touchdowns), but his yards/rush and EPA/rush both increased to 6.14 and 0.05, respectively. That EPA/rush number is especially impressive, because that is a massive swing there.

At Vanderbilt, leading rusher Re’Mahn Davis ran for over 1,000 yards (4.5 yards/rush) this season with 5 touchdowns. He also went for -0.05 EPA/rush.

In this hire, Brent Key is bringing in someone who has experience with the current offensive coordinator, experience as a recruiting coordinator, experience as a run game coordinator, and most importantly, Power 5 experience at the position he was reportedly hired for. So all in all, I am pretty pleased with this hire.