After three straight three-win seasons, Geoff Collins overhauled his staff at Georgia Tech, firing Dave Patenaude and a few other coaches. The Yellow Jackets also saw a few coaches leave for (presumably) greener pastures.
In all, Georgia Tech is welcoming seven new coaches to its staff: OC/TE Coach Chip Long, Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Run Game Coordinator David Turner, DB Coach/Defensive Pass Game Coordinator Travares Tillman, WR Coach Del Alexander, RB Coach Mike Daniels, LB Coach Jason Semore, and QB Coach Chris Weinke. Throughout this week, we will be taking a closer look at each one of them, tracking their career and scheme (if appropriate). The goal is to know the coaching staff a little better ahead of the start of the season.
Following Dave Patenaude’s dismissal, Georgia Tech’s OC search became its highest profile search of the offseason, with names like Dan Mullen, Chip Lindsey, and Zach Kittley being discussed. Ultimately, the Yellow Jackets settled on former Tulane Offensive Coordinator Chip Long.
Though he was originally slated to serve as the QB Coach as well, he was shifted to tight ends when Chris Weinke was brought in to fill former TE Coach Chris Wiesehan’s spot on staff.
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)
Long is most well known for his time at Notre Dame, where he orchestrated the offense for three straight 10-win seasons, each of which featured a finish of 12th or better in the AP Poll. While at Notre Dame, the Irish offense improved from its former offensive coordinator Mike Sanford and saw the development of Brandon Wimbush and Ian Book at quarterback.
His departure, however, introduced some questions. Long was not fired by Notre Dame. The Irish simply elected not to renew his contract, instead allowing QB Coach Tommy Rees to take over after some rumors that he was calling plays in Long’s final season in South Bend.
Following a year serving as an offensive analyst at Tennessee, Long made his way to New Orleans to serve as Willie Fritz’s offensive coordinator, which ended up being a bit of an unmitigated disaster for all parties. After he was hired by Tech, I sat down with one of the writers for Fear the Wave to get their thoughts on Chip Long.
While there was some excitement when Long was hired at Tulane, his lone season there did not inspire much confidence or hope, so many Green Wave fans were not upset to see him leave.
Justin and Robert did an excellent job of profiling Long’s offense and reflecting on what Tech fans should expect with him as the offensive coordinator.
To summarize, things probably will not look drastically different from what Tech was running, at least from a layman’s perspective. Some things of note that you will likely see is more multi-tight end sets. Long has always been a guy who wants to use two tight ends, especially when he was at Notre Dame.
With transfers Luke Benson and EJ Jenkins joining the tight end room (along with Peje Harris), I think it is safe to say that Tech will try to feature their tight ends a bit more this coming season.
The Bottom Line
I am cautiously optimistic about the incoming Chip Long era for Georgia Tech. I think there is some serious talent, along with some serious question marks, on the offense. While there are three to four quarterbacks who could start for this team, what is going to happen with the offensive line? With Jahmyr Gibbs off to Tuscaloosa, how will the running back room make up the production? Sure, there are a lot of bodies at wide receiver and tight end, but have they proven themselves capable?
These are the questions that Chip Long is going to need to find answers for. He has worked at some big jobs to decent levels of success, so I fully believe that he can get the job done. But it will mean that the current offseason will need to be a very productive one. While I think Patenaude handled the transition away from the option about as well as he could have, the offense still has a long way to go. Whatever happens, I think we will learn quite a bit about Long and the offense this year.