This is our ACC edition discussing the new play-callers throughout the conference, the impact their scheme could have on that program at each position, their lineage and coaching tree, and some historical data on their most recent seasons. This article is less about projection and more about coaching trends for you to draw your own conclusions.
New HC/OC: Jeff Brohm
Previous HC/OC: Scott Satterfield/Lance Taylor
2017-22 Purdue HC, 2014-16 WKU HC, 2013 WKU OC
Influences: Bobby Petrino, Garrick McGee
Coaching Tree: Tyson Helton (WKU), Bryan Ellis (Georgia Southern OC)
A significant overhaul is happening with the QB run game of the Satterfield system to the pass-happy spread of Brohm. To reference the change in pass volume, Brohm’s offenses averaged 15 more pass attempts/game during his tenure at Purdue than Satterfield’s at Louisville. As much notoriety as the Brohm system gets, it has been a mostly inefficient offense averaging 28 ppg and 5.2 yards/play over the last three seasons. Both statistics are in the bottom half of the country despite being top 20 in the pace of play. Could we see an uptick in efficiency as Brohm transitions from the B10 to the ACC, where he should see improved weather against inferior defenses?
Yes, the passing volume will certainly increase, but Brohm QBs offer essentially no rushing upside. They are far more valuable in a 6-point passing TD league or one that gives bonuses for pass yards. Aidan O’Connell ranked as the QB45 and QB50 over the last two seasons in standard leagues, which pales in comparison to what Malik Cunningham was able to offer CFF owners. The ceiling certainly exists with Brohm as he produced the 2015 QB6 in Brandon Doughty and his 48 TDs, but Brohm historically prefers more seasoned, pocket-passing QBs.
2022: Aidan O’Connell: QB50; 16.4 ppg
2021: Aidan O’Connell: QB45; 19.2 ppg
2020: Jack Plummer: 24.4 ppg (3 Games)
The RB production under Brohm was sneaky good during his time at WKU. In fact, he produced a 1,000-yard rusher all four years as WKU’s play-caller. There was an average stat line of 233/1495/16 rushing with 37/376 receiving over that span. Now, the majority of his time at Purdue has resulted in putrid RB production. But there is proof here that he can produce a workhorse with receiving upside when he finds the right guy.
2022: Devin Mockobee RB43; 16.4 ppg
2021: King Doerue: NR; 8.2 ppg
2020: Zander Horvath: 16.8 ppg (6 Games)
WR/TE- Big Upgrade
Few, if any, systems produce elite fantasy WRs as consistently as Brohm’s system. Taywan Taylor and Rondale Moore led all WRs in PPR formats. Both David Bell and Charlie Jones were remarkable. Brohm often has multiple fantasy-relevant WRs in a given year. TEs have also made an impact in Brohm’s heavy pass attack. Invest heavily here.
2022: Charlie Jones: WR2; 21.8 ppg
2021: David Bell: WR22; 19.5 ppg
2020: David Bell: WR10; 22.8 ppg (6 Games)
Takeaways: Louisville will remain fun, but different. It is very possible we see Brohm return to some of his massive fantasy outputs reminiscent of his time at WKU before he joined the Big 10, a division littered with outstanding defenses and painfully slow pace of play programs. Expect Plummer to get the start at QB and perform in the QB30-40 range. The WR position will be the main focus during the spring as Ahmari Huggins-Bruce, Jamari Thrash, Chris Bell, and Kevin Coleman will all be attempting to stake their claim as the next coveted WR in the Brohm system.
North Carolina State
New OC: Robert Anae
Previous OC: Tim Beck
2022 Syracuse OC, 2016-21 Virginia OC, 2013-15 BYU OC
Influenced by: Bronco Mendenhall, Dino Babers
Coaching Tree: Jason Beck (Syracuse)
No change at head coach here, but a wise hire by Dave Doeren to replace Tim Beck with Syracuse OC Robert Anae. He was the longtime assistant under Bronco Mendenhall at Virginia and BYU. His impact was abundantly clear in 2022 as the Syracuse offense improved 21 spots with him, and Virginia dropped 105 spots without him. Anae is a proven QB developer that tends to have just a few players monopolize the touches within the offense, which is exactly what you want for fantasy purposes.
Volume, volume, and more volume for Anae QBs. Taysom Hill, Bryce Perkins, Brennan Armstrong, and Garrett Shrader are all dual-threat QBs that were highly productive under Anae. Hill and Perkins had seasons of 212, 227, and 246 carries from the QB position! It’s also not uncommon to see an Anae QB throw upwards of 500 times like Perkins and Armstrong did. Perkins had seasons as CFF QB7 and QB12. Anae’s offenses historically have taken a big jump in year 2, so expect solid numbers in ’23 and potential fireworks in ’24.
2022: Garrett Shrader: QB38; 24.5 ppg
2021: Brennan Armstrong: QB7; 32.9 ppg
2020: Brennan Armstrong: 24.2 ppg
Anae has had inconsistent results with RB production, but it’s been mostly underwhelming. Yes, Tucker was RB24 under Anae, but if we dig a little deeper, we actually saw a decline in fantasy output (from 22.4 in 2021 to 18.9 in 2022) and touches despite Tucker easily being the most talented back Anae has ever coached. In his ten years as OC, he has produced three RBs to reach 1,000 yards. Opportunity exists in this uptempo offense, but the ceiling is capped due to the QB volume.
2022: Sean Tucker: RB24; 18.9 ppg
2021: Wayne Taulapapa: NR; 6.4 ppg
2020: Wayne Taulapapa: NR; 8.8 ppg
While we haven’t seen high-end production from Anae WRs, we have seen consistent, solid production. He has had seven different receivers go for 900+ yards during his time as OC. Look for NCSU to consolidate the touches in the WR room compared to recent years. Recent trends have shown Anae prefers the boundary WR, but Kemp and Zaccheaus saw plenty of targets from the slot. Anae also isn’t opposed to featuring the TE in the pass game when the talent presents itself- Tony Poljan and Jelani Woods.
2022: Orande Gadsden: WR52; 12.6 ppg
2021: Dontayvion Wicks: WR30; 17 ppg
2020: Billy Kemp: NR; 10.6 ppg
Takeaways: Brennan Armstrong wisely followed his former OC, so we have to like that coordinator/QB match based on what they were able to accomplish at Virginia together. It remains to be seen who will emerge from the WR room, but Anae usually has someone worth rostering. This is the first time Anae has worked for a head coach with a background on the defensive side of the ball, so I am hesitant to say this is simply copy and paste from Virginia, but it is certainly worth investing in.
New OC: Jason Beck
Previous OC: Robert Anae
2022 Syracuse QB coach, 2016-21 Virginia QB coach, 2013-15 BYU QB Coach, 2012 Simon Fraser OC
Influenced by: Robert Anae and Bronco Mendenhall
Jason Beck is the long-time QB coach under Bronco Mendenhall and Robert Anae at Syracuse, Virginia, and BYU. Dino Babers was able to retain him with a promotion to OC. Beck is known as a QB whisperer among the CFB ranks with his ability to develop limited passers into strong performers in this spread, high-volume system. It is likely we see minimal changes at Syracuse with the coaching change, given Beck has spent the last ten seasons with Anae. See Anae’s section above for the recent historical data on this system.
We don’t have much data on Beck as the play-caller, but he does have one season as OC at Simon Fraser University in 2012. Like Anae, you can see he prefers a pass-heavy system, as Simon Fraser had a 32-44 run-pass ratio that season. Here are some of the individual stat leaders in that 11-game season:
QB: 3262/28/13 pass; 34/44/1 rush
RB: 185/1053/15 rush; 31/315/1 rec
What this means for 2023: What do we make of the small sample size data we have with Beck’s only season as OC and only game as Syracuse play-caller in the bowl against Minnesota? It appears the QB could continue to see heavy volume, with Shrader attempting 51 passes in the bowl. However, the QB run game was less of an emphasis in the bowl and at Simon Fraser than what we have historically seen from Anae. LeQuint Allen saw 15 carries and 14 targets in the bowl. We can’t place too much weight on this tiny sample size, but there are some indications that maybe the RB position can be more fantasy relevant under Beck than what we have seen under Anae.
New OC: Chip Lindsey
Previous OC: Phil Longo
2022 UCF OC, 2019-21 Troy HC, 2017-18 Auburn OC, 2016 Arizona State OC, 2014-15 Southern Miss OC
Influenced by: Gus Malzahn, Todd Graham, Todd Monken
It’s been a turbulent start to the offseason for the Heels, but they appear to have weathered the worst of the storm without losing prize QB Drake Maye. Phil Longo took the OC job at Wisconsin, leading Mack Brown, with the consultation of the Maye family apparently, to hire Chip Lindsey as the new play-caller. Lindsey has strong roots in the south as head coach or OC at spots like Auburn, Troy, UCF, Southern Miss, (and Arizona State). It is a challenge to find specific traits that Lindsey hangs his hat on with his system. It is a safe assumption that we see a decline in fantasy output in 2023 as UNC transitions from the very fantasy friendly Phil Longo system.
Lindsey comes from a coaching tree that certainly prefers a mobile QB. However, that wasn’t at all the case during his time as head coach of Troy from 2019-2021. Lindsey had the QB14 in Nick Mullens while at Southern Miss, but it’s hard to say how much of that was OC Lindsey or HC Todd Monken’s doing. We suspect Malzahn had most of the influence on JRP’s QB17 performance in 2022. When Lindsey has been the primary play-caller, his offenses simply haven’t been any good.
2022: John Rhys Plumlee: QB17; 23.6 ppg
2021: Gunnar Watson: NR: 10.3 ppg
2020: Gunnar Watson: NR: 14.1 ppg
Again, it’s difficult to decipher who should get the credit among the many stops Lindsey has made. But, if we go back to his time as head coach at Troy, it isn’t pretty. Kimani Vidal is a really solid G5 RB, but failed to top 12 PPG under Lindsey’s watch. He then proceeded to go for nearly 1,300 total yards and ten TDs as soon as Lindsey left. It is a crowded backfield as it stands right now, and Lindsey has used a committee approach at nearly every stop he has made.
2022: Isaiah Bowser: RB46; 14.9 ppg
2021: Kimani Vidal: NR; 10.8 ppg
2020: Kimani Vidal: RB61; 12.1 ppg
WR: Huge Downgrade
There is total consistency with the data on Lindsey’s WRs. Consistently average. Since 2016, he hasn’t had a single WR go for more than 815 yards or catch more than seven TDs. He has had seven straight years of his WR1 averaging 10-13 ppg. In fact, the WR1 saw a decline upon Lindsey’s arrival and an increase after his departure at each stop over this same stretch. This is a big downgrade from Phil Longo, who has a top-10 system for WR production.
2022: Ryan O’Keefe: WR50 ; 12.2 ppg
2021: Tez Johnson: WR87 ; 11.5 ppg
2020: Kaylon Geiger: 11.5 ppg
What this means for 2023: This has to be one of the more disappointing hires in this cycle. Mack Brown has proven over the years that he is the CEO type that is very reliant on his coordinator’s scheme. Lindsey does not have a great track record. For UNC to match its 2022 output at any position would mean either Lindsey made big strides as an OC or the talent was simply too great to be denied. Having some solid WR portal additions in Devontez Walker and Nate Mccollum should certainly help offset the loss of Downs and Green.
New OC: Buster Faulkner
Previous OC: Chip Long
2020-22 Georgia Analyst, 2019 Southern Miss OC, 2016-18 Arkansas State OC, 2012-15 Middle Tenn OC
Influenced by: Todd Monken, Blake Anderson
New head coach Brent Key has hired Buster Faulkner from his analyst position at Georgia. Faulkner has never been an OC at the P5 level. And, similar to Chip Lindsey at UNC, it can be challenging to determine how much of the offense can be attributed to Faulkner as opposed to the head coaches he worked under. Faulkner has worked under some impressive play-callers like Todd Monken and Blake Anderson, but MTSU and Arkansas State actually saw an improvement in their offense after he left their programs. Faulker has been credited with some of the development of Stetson Bennett, so maybe he can do the same for a very underdeveloped Haynes King. But let’s be honest, the cupboard is pretty bare in Atlanta, and this will be a challenge, to say the least.
During his tenure at Arkansas State, Faulkner was a part of offenses that produced Justice Hansen with seasons as CFF QB7 and QB14. Also, Brent Stockskill was QB24 during Faulkner’s last season as MTSU’s OC, so there is evidence of high-end QB production. However, there isn’t much evidence of fantasy relevance at running back with only one season under Faulkner’s belt with an RB that averaged more than 10.5 ppg.
What this means for 2023: A wait-and-see approach is warranted here in order to see what viable fantasy assets Faulkner has to work with and then potentially look to add some pieces in the passing game at Georgia Tech come 2024. He is an OC that has worked under some bright minds and is well thought of in the industry. With portal additions of King, Christian Leary, Chase Lane, and Trevion Cooley, it is certainly possible we see the Rambling Wreck outperform expectations in 2023.
New OC: Garrett Riley
Previous OC: Brandon Streeter
Influenced by: Sonny Dykes; Lincoln Riley; Eli Drinkwitz;
2022 TCU OC; 2020-21 SMU OC
Dabo finally succumbed to the pressure and hired someone from outside the Clemson family. And he certainly made a splash in hiring Garrett Riley coming off his national championship appearance with TCU. The Broyles Award winner is no stranger to quick turnarounds, given what he accomplished at TCU in 2022. Expect Riley to breathe some life into the stale offense we have seen at Clemson over the last couple of years.
Unlike what we have seen recently from Clemson, Riley does a great job of scheming players open. This should be a major benefit for Klubnik. Riley is quickly becoming a fantasy monster for QBs based on what he has done with three different QBs in the last three seasons.
2022: Max Duggan: QB7; 23.7 ppg
2021: Tanner Mordecai: QB16; 25.3 ppg
2020: Shane Buechele: QB19; 22.7 ppg
Say what you will about the challenges the Clemson offense had recently, but Will Shipley producing at an RB19 level was still impressive. Riley had Kendre Miller in the same tier, which bodes well for Shipley moving forward. Touches were a bit more spread around during Riley’s time at SMU. It will be interesting to see if Shipley duplicates the 248 touches he had in 2022.
2022: Kendre Miller: RB16; 18.7 ppg
2021: Tre Siggers: RB96; 12.8 ppg
2020: Ulysses Bentley IV: RB15; 19 ppg
Receiver production fell off a cliff at Clemson when Jeff Scott left. The good news is that not only does Riley’s system scheme WRs open more, but Jeff Scott returns as an analyst. Expect an uptick in production here. Like his brother, Garrett seems to feature the boundary WR more than the slot based on historical production. It is also an upgrade at TE, where Riley had Granson as TE11 and Calcaterra as TE29
2022: Quentin Johnston; WR36; 13.1 ppg
2021: Rashee Rice: WR66; 12.8 ppg
2020: Rashee Rice: WR53; 12 ppg
Takeaways: Expect the passing game to take a step forward under Riley. This new scheme could benefit Beaux Collins or Adam Randall, but don’t be surprised if WR production is spread around. There is also potential for Jake Briningstool to break out. Exciting times for the Tigers.
New OC: Shannon Dawson
Previous OC: Josh Gattis
Influenced by: Dana Holgorsen;
2020-22 Houston OC; 2019 Houston TE coach; 2016-18 Southern Miss OC; 2015 Kentucky OC; 2012-14 West Virginia OC
Mario Cristobal goes through more coordinators than Jim Harbaugh does milk and khaki pants. Dawson will be his fourth OC in the last five seasons. Cristobal has earned a reputation as a guy that is very demanding of his assistants when it comes to recruiting and micromanaging when it comes to play-calling duties.
Dawson comes over from Houston, where he spent the last few years working under Holgorsen. He was named play-caller there in 2021, but it’s unclear if he continued those duties after September of 2022, when Holgorsen said some changes were made in that area following a loss to Tulane.
Dawson comes from the air-raid coaching tree that tends to be beneficial for CFF QB production. Dawson runs a more balanced approach version of the air raid where his QBs see approx 35 pass attempts/game.
2022: Clayton Tune: QB6; 29.2 ppg
2021: Clayton Tune: QB27; 19.2
2022 was a full-on RBBC due to the McCaskill injury, but Dawson does have a history of strong RB production. His RB1 has had 15+ TDs in three of his last five seasons as a play-caller. Ito Smith finished as RB8 and RB9 in CFF scoring, while Dawson was OC for Southern Miss.
2022: Stacy Sneed: RB145; 9.3 ppg
2021: Alton Mccaskill: RB22; 16.1 ppg
Death, Taxes, and Dana Holgorsen WRs for CFF. It is hard to tell what impact Dawson had on WR production at Houston and WVU. The fact remains that the WR1 in his three seasons at Southern Miss had an average stat line of 71/1050/9. This is a clear upgrade over anything we have seen from Gattis
2022: Tank Dell: WR1; 22.7 ppg
2021: Tank Dell: WR8; 17.9 ppg
Takeaways: This is an upgrade across the board for Miami in terms of scheme and CFF potential at all positions other than maybe TE. It is especially intriguing for WRs like Xavier Restrepo and Colbie Young. But so many questions remain to be answered- Will Cristobal interfere with Dawson’s play-calling, and how will it mesh with the slow-pace, power-run game that Cristobal prefers? How does Tyler Van Dyke handle having his third OC in the last three years?
New OC: Rob Chudzinski/Steve Shimko
Previous OC: John McNulty
2020-22 BC assistant; 2015-17 Colts OC; 2013 Browns head coach; 2011-12 Panthers OC, 2001-03 Miami Hurricanes OC
Head coach Jeff Hafley decided to promote from within the program when replacing John McNulty. Rob Chudzinski has been given the title of associate head coach of the offense and offensive development after his previous role of special assistant to the head coach (whatever that really means). Steve Shimko has been promoted to OC from TEs coach. Chudzinski is expected to be in charge of the offensive scheme and likely the play-calling duties.
Chudzinski has an extensive history at the NFL level but hasn’t called plays at the college level since 2003. He’s credited with having a major hand in the development of Cam Newton and later coached Andrew Luck. I wouldn’t make a habit of using NFL production to project for CFF, given the difference in the number of games and style of play. It should be noted that Frank Gore had close to 300 touches in each of the three seasons Chudzinski was his OC with the Colts.
It’s also challenging to determine how much stock we should put into his time as the Hurricane’s OC, given that it was 20+ years ago. But here is what we know from that three-year run for the Canes: Willis McGahee was an absolute rock star (309-2108-28 from scrimmage in 2002) and a TE led Miami in receiving all three years. We also see the TE as a huge focus of his offenses in the NFL, with guys like Greg Olson, Colby Fleener, Dwayne Allen, Jack Doyle, and Jordan Cameron. This type of track record could mean more targets are headed toward George Takacs. Beyond TE, and potentially RB, it is hard to say exactly what we will get out of this offense for CFF in 2023, but it will remain pro-style with an emphasis on a balanced approach.