Best WR/TE coaches


Posted Jun 10, 2008


With spring practice a distant memory and two-a-days not yet on the horizon, this is the time of year when football writers compile lists and/or second-guess the lists compiled by other football writers.

Dennis Dodd of cbssportsline.com has undertaken the imposing task of ranking the NCAA's top six assistant coaches for each position. He already came up with his picks for the top wide receiver coaches and the top tight end coaches ... and I already came up with some corrections.

First, here are Dodd's top six wide receiver coaches:

Erik Campbell, Iowa

Billy Gonzales, Florida

Darrell Hazell, Ohio State

Andy Hill, Missouri

Ron Lee, Hawaii

Paul Petrino, Arkansas

I think Dodd is smart to list two SEC assistants among his top six wideout aides. Gonzales, who followed Urban Meyer from Utah to Florida, has had tremendous talent to work with in Gainesville. Perhaps Chad Jackson, Dallas Baker, Andre Caldwell, Jamal Cornelius and Percy Harvin would've been stars even without his help. Perhaps not.

Petrino, of course, followed his brother from the University of Louisville to the Atlanta Falcons to Fayetteville, where Bobby is now head coach of the Razorbacks. Is Paul for real or is he just another example of nepotism in the coaching profession? We'll see, I suppose.

I don't follow Iowa, Ohio State, Missouri and Hawaii well enough to know how good their receiver coaches are. But I believe there's another SEC receivers coach who should be on Dodd's list. In fact, he might be the NCAA's finest. That would be Joker Phillips of Kentucky.

Perhaps Dodd discounted Phillips because he also holds the title offensive coordinator. Regardless, Phillips has an imposing track record for turning out top-notch wideouts. His UK pupils include Craig Yeast, the SEC's all-time receiving leader, Keenan Burton (a fourth-round NFL Draft pick in '08) and Steve Johnson (a seventh-round pick in '08). In addition, the Big Blue has a potential All-SEC wideout for the season ahead in Dicky Lyons.

The high regard UK head coach Rich Brooks has for Phillips is evident in the fact he convinced school officials to pre-appoint Phillips as Brooks' eventual successor.

During his days at the University of Minnesota, Phillips turned Ron Johnson (Bears) into an NFL-caliber player. And, during his one year as wide receivers coach at South Carolina, Phillips helped turn Troy Williamson into a first-round NFL Draft pick.

Here's a look at Dodd's top six tight end coaches:

Bruce Walker, Missouri

Gary Bernardi, UNLV

Josh Henson, LSU

Doc Holliday, West Virginia

Greg Nord, Louisville

Tom Osborne, Oregon

Again, Dodd gets brownie points for listing an SEC aide (Henson) but I believe he omitted another deserving aide with ties to the SEC. That would be David Johnson.

Johnson, now in his first year as tight ends coach at West Virginia, served in the same capacity at Georgia from 2001 to 2007. His proteges include four guys who have gone on to play in the NFL – Randy McMichael (St. Louis Rams), Ben Watson (New England Patriots), Leonard Pope (Arizona Cardinals) and Martez Milner (Atlanta Falcons).

I find it hard to believe there are six tight end coaches in college football with better credentials than Johnson.


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