Boston College’s coaching search ended almost as quickly as it started.
Todd Fitch will be the new offensive coordinator for the Eagles, according to Pete Thamel of Sports Illustrated.
— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) February 10, 2015
Fitch replaces Ryan Day, who accepted the position as the Philadelphia Eagles’ quarterbacks coach 22 days ago. The 49-year-old coach served as wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator at BC under head coach Steve Addazio in each of the last two seasons. Brian White, former running back coach at the University of Florida, replaces Fitch’s position as wide receivers coach—White was let go along with the rest of the UF staff after the end of Will Muschamp’s tumultuous tenure as the head coach of the Gators this past November.
Fitch enters with offensive coordinator experience from the University of Connecticut (1996-98), East Carolina University (2007-09), and the University of South Florida (2010-2012). With Fitch at the helm of the offense, the Huskies reached the Division I-AA playoffs with a 10-win season in 1998. In addition, the Conference USA school made three consecutive bowl games, compiling a 26-15 record and averaging 27.13 points per game—a middle-of-the-pack total in D-I FBS. Fitch’s offense at ECU, however, averaged at least 340 yards of total offense per game in each of the three seasons he coached—his 2007 offense broke school records for most touchdowns and points, priding itself on quick scoring drives (23 under one minute, most in the FBS) and long scoring plays (18 of 25 yards or longer, seventh in FBS).
His greatest successes came at USF, where the Bulls jumped from 24.1 points per game in his first season (85th in FBS) to 29.2 in his second season (48th). Although the Bulls’ offensive numbers did not equate to success on the field—South Florida dropped from 8-5 in 2010, his first season, to 3-9 by his last year two seasons later—Fitch guided USF’s best offensive player of all-time: quarterback B.J. Daniels. Despite not having a receiver that gained over 700 yards, Daniels passed and ran effectively, finishing third in Big East history and second in USF history with 10,501 yards of total offense.
Along with his offensive coordinator positions, Fitch has, at one point in his career, led each of the sections of the offense—Fitch was a running backs and wide receivers coach at the University of South Carolina, a quarterbacks coach at Iowa State University, and a special teams coach at Colorado State University. At many of his offensive coordinator stops, Fitch also doubled up as the quarterbacks coach.
White enters with offensive coordinator experience, serving in the position at the University of Wisconsin (1999-2005) and Syracuse University (2006-07). He also worked with Coach Addazio at UF. White has roots in the area—he played quarterback for Harvard in the 1980s and is from Essex County. As OC at Wisconsin under Barry Alvarez, the Badgers compiled a 58-31 record while finishing with a strong offense on both the ground and through the air.
What do the hires mean for the Eagles? It seems that Addazio is making strides to put a focus on the team’s explosiveness to help improve an offense that finished last season at 86th in points per game (26.2). Fitch’s game plan involves a lot of quick and long plays, something the Eagles could suffer with this year. Although BC compiled 15 scoring plays of over 25 yards last season, five were runs from the now-graduated Tyler Murphy and another five were passes from Murphy to a senior receiver, either Shakim Phillips or Josh Bordner. Additionally, given last season’s structure of the Eagles as a running-heavy offense, speed was not a focus—BC put up only five scoring drives of under a minute, two coming from runs by Murphy and none coming off passes. In total, the Eagles put up only 16 scoring drives of under two minutes.
Addazio also stated in his press conference last week regarding the team’s newest recruits that he believes BC “can become a more balanced team.” Last season, the Eagles finished 124th in passing offense (129.3 yards per game) and 15th in rushing offense (254.4 yards per game). Although he conceded that the Eagles will never be a “50-50 team,” Fitch’s experience as a quarterbacks and wide receivers coach should help him create an offensive scheme that will achieve this goal. This is key as Fitch will work with a new quarterback—sophomores Darius Wade and Troy Flutie, and freshman early-enrollee Elijah Robinson are all vying for the starting spot— as well as a young wide receiving core with only three senior receivers on the roster for next year that saw significant time in 2014. Fitch’s experience working with dual-threat quarterbacks like Daniels should also transition nicely into Addazio’s offensive scheme.
White appears as more of a curious hire for Addazio. Although he has a lot of success throughout his career, White hasn’t coached wide receivers since 1994 at UNLV. Much of White’s coaching success has come from his running backs or tight ends—Wisconsin had a 1,000 yard rusher in each of his first eight seasons in Madison, including 1999 Heisman Trophy winner Ron Dayne. He continued the same success at UF with running back Mike Gillislee and infamous tight end (albeit 2009’s John Mackey Award winner) Aaron Hernandez. Rather, White’s hire seems influenced from his connection to Addazio at UF. In addition, White’s hire may come as a strategic move in recruiting, considering White is a New Englander—this is consistent with Addazio’s strategy of cornering the market and “building a fence” around the area.
Featured Image by Emily Fahey / Heights Senior Staff