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Offensive Line Coach POAPS - Part II

The POAPS series returns in a different format... just taking shots in the dark

Old Dominion v North Carolina State Photo by Mike Comer/Getty Images

In Part I of the Offensive Line POAPS we looked at a few longshot candidates who have neither ties to the State of North Carolina nor the immediate region (by the way, for a catch up on how some of these Offensive Line coaches were identified, go back and read that post). In Part II, we’re going to look at some of OL coach candidates with ties to the current coaching staff. It’s much more likely that the actual hire comes out of this group than those reviewed in Part I, but again, we’re just over here throwing darts...

Brad Bedell

Current Gig: Boise State OL Coach

Current Salary: $260k

Years at Current Gig: 2017-2018

2018 OL Stats: Average Ranking: 54.7 / Standard Deviation: 19.8

Notable Previous OL Coach Positions: New Mexico State (2012), Arkansas State (2013), Texas State (2014-2015)

If you’re trying to put together the connection between Bedell and the current NC State staff, you’re immediately going to think “Boise State... Eli Drinkwitz”. Well, you’d be wrong... well, you’d be right, but not for the Boise State connection. Bedell and Drinkwitz coached together in 2013, but it was at Arkansas State. Still, that prior work experience with the current Wolfpack Offensive Coordinator could help land Bedell in a position to land the NC State OL Coach gig.

Despite his connection (not an overly strong one, but a connection nonetheless) and a decent resume, Bedell’s units haven’t performed as well at Boise State as those of his predecessor, Scott Huff (currently the OL coach at Washington). Don’t get me wrong, the OL under Bedell has been nothing to sneeze at, but the question remains whether or not it’s the coaching or the program.

Patrick Covington

Current Gig: Coastal Carolina OL Coach

Current Salary: $125k

Years at Current Gig: 2010-2018

2018 OL Stats: Average Ranking: 63.0 / Standard Deviation: 45.5

Notable Previous OL Coach Positions: Air Force (2007-2009)

This is a pretty weak connection on paper, but you never know real life relationships develop and whether or not that foot-in-the-door can be all that’s needed. Covington played on the OL at Furman (2002-2005) while Des Kitchings was the TE/Special Teams Coordinator there (2004-2007). So two years of overlap from over a decade ago.

The connection’s not going to be what hurts Covington compared to others we look at in this series, it’s going to be two things: 1) He’s only coached at two places, and 2) His OLs haven’t been able to pass block for a damn since they’ve moved up to the FBS level in the Sun Belt Conference. In 2018, his OL ranked in the Top 50 in five of nine categories, but they ranked 126th in Sack Rate. That’s not going to cut it for Drinkwitz and Doeren.

Joe Tripodi

Current Gig: Northern Illinois OL Coach

Current Salary: $103k

Years at Current Gig: 2013-2018

2018 OL Stats: Average Ranking: 62.4 / Standard Deviation: 48.2

Notable Previous OL Coach Positions: n/a

The ties to the current staff for Tripodi are stronger than either of the two mentioned above. Tripodi was a Graduate Assistant (2011) and TE/FB Coach (2012) under current NC State Head Coach Dave Doeren at Northern Illinois. That means that Tripodi has interviewed with and been hired by Doeren in the past. That’s probably pretty good. On top of that, Tripodi currently works as the OL Coach and Run Game Coordinator with former NC State OL Coach (from earlier in the Doeren NC State era) and current NIU Offensive Coordinator Mike Uremovich.

As for negatives, well, there are two:

  1. He has no ties to the state or region, and that’s because,
  2. He’s only ever coached at NIU

Tripodi’s 2017 and 2018 OLs haven’t been anything to get overly excited about, but he has put together some high performing units in the past; his 2016 squad was 2nd in the nation in Sack Rate. Although I should state two things about his 2018 OL:

  1. They helped pave the way for a squad that won the MAC Championship, and
  2. They were among the nation’s best OLs at Power Success Rate and Stuff Rate, and if there are any OL stats that are going to get Dave Doeren excited, it’s those two

Bonus Round

Chris Scelfo

Current Gig: Charlotte OL Coach

Current Salary: $130k

Years at Current Gig: 2018

2018 OL Stats: Average Ranking: 95.0 / Standard Deviation: 19.2

Notable Previous OL Coach Positions: Houston (2017), Tulane (1999-2006, HC), Georgia (1996-1998), Marshall (1990-1995)

Scelfo’s son, Joe, was the starting center on the 2016 NC State Football team, so Scelfo’s connection to the current staff is probably the loosest of all those on this list, especially since his son was a graduate transfer so he didn’t go through the full recruitment process that a kid would coming out of high school. However, at Marshall, Scelfo was the OL coach of the father of current NC State WR Thayer Thomas. So there’s another connection.

Of all those reviewed so far, Scelfo might have the best resume. He has previous head coaching experience (he’s the second all-time winningest coach in Tulane history) plus a six-year run as an NFL assistant. There’s a lot to like about him.

Should Doeren want Scelfo, he should be an easy sell for two reasons:

  1. It’s unclear whether or not new Charlotte coach Will Healy will keep him on staff as no staff appointments have been announced yet, and
  2. His son Joe is currently a Graduate Assistant at NC State

Speaking of Joe...

Bonus Round 2

Joe Scelfo

Current Gig: NC State Graduate Assistant (Defense)

Current Salary: n/a

Years at Current Gig: 2018

2018 OL Stats: n/a

Notable Previous OL Coach Positions: n/a

Dave Doeren may well decide to look no further than a current Graduate Assistant for his next OL coach, and who would be better for that than a former player of his? Well, this might be where the bubble bursts. Scelfo has been working as a GA for the defense. Moving over to coaching OL might be an easy transition for Scelfo, but having his first taste of being an OL Coach be in the ACC? That could be a recipe for disaster. Plus, if Doeren’s going to tab a current GA for the position, wouldn’t he go for the guy that has been working with Ledford? Ah, yes...

Bonus Round 3

Shawn Flaherty

Current Gig: NC State Graduate Assistant (Offense)

Current Salary: n/a

Years at Current Gig: 2017

2018 OL Stats: n/a

Notable Previous OL Coach Positions: n/a

If you’re going to go with a GA for a position coach, Flaherty is pretty much the exact type of GA you’re looking for. First off, he works exclusively with the offensive line, meaning that he’s been working with out-going OL Coach Dwayne Ledford for two years now. Secondly, the current coaches know him, the players know him; there’s not going to be any question about fit. And lastly, the guy has the bloodlines. His father Pat Flaherty, the current OL Coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Flaherty the Elder has been coaching football for over 40 years, including the last 15 as an OL Coach in the NFL (Giants, 49ers, Jaguars). Flaherty the Younger has been immersed in football his entire life and has one heck of a lifeline to call should he need any advice.

Is the ideal hire for NC State a Graduate Assistant? Probably not, but if you’re going to go that route, there’s a pretty dang good one already on staff.