As you’ve likely seen by now, Dan Mullen added former cohort Billy Gonzales to Mississippi State’s coaching staff as the new wide receivers coach, a move likely finalizing the group heading into the 2013 season.
With the move, Tim Brewster, in addition to being named Assistant Head Coach, returns to his natural position as tight ends coach, and therein lies the key to this move.
Brewster, of course, was hired after the resignation of Angelo Mirando shortly before the 2012 season. Most recently the head coach at Minnesota, Brewster was known for his prowess as a recruiter, an area he immediately made an impact at MSU.
Brewster did a superb job on short notice, coaching a group of receivers who helped Tyler Russell to one of the best season’s by a quarterback in MSU history, as well as helping Chad Bumphis set a litany of records and getting him turned around after a disappointing junior campaign.
But before MSU, Brewster had never been a receivers coach.
What he had been – for 18 years, at that – is a tight ends coach, including several years in the NFL. Most notably, Brewster coached Antonio Gates of the San Diego Chargers in his prime, regularly a Pro Bowl tight end under Brewster’s tutelage, one of the best pass-catching tight ends in the league.
Even in college, Brewster was a tight end.
Gonzales has spent the majority of his career coaching wide receivers and he’s worked with Mullen previously as part of Urban Meyer’s staff at Bowling Green, Utah and Florida.
In fact, Gonzales was even one of the coaches recruiting Bumphis to UF when he was in high school, his original intended destination before Mullen became MSU’s head coach.
Gonzales, like Brewster, is known as a relentless and successful recruiter in addition to having coached and developed great players at his position.
Now, Brewster and Gonzales get to do what each does best, maximizing their skills and putting MSU in position to be successful.
Brewster gets to work with an athletic group of pass-catching tight ends, including junior Malcolm Johnson, who was on the Mackey Award watch list prior to last season before suffering a pectoral injury. Even moreso, Brewster is rewarded for his quick impact and success with the promotion to Assistant Head Coach.
While the receivers – and especially Bumphis – have spoken highly of Brewster as their coach and have credited him with much of their success, Gonzales enters as a long-tenured and highly-experienced leader.
He’ll have plenty to work with, too, as MSU signed over half a dozen receivers in its most recent class with five seniors at the position now out the door.
Gonzales will also have the opportunity to continue the development of young Bulldogs like Robert Johnson, Fred Brown, Jameon Lewis and Brandon Holloway.
With Geoff Collins taking over the defense, David Turner returning to coach the defensive line, Brewster getting the opportunity to take over his position of strength and the addition of the experienced and well-respected Gonzales, Mullen has managed to have quite a successful off-season in the short month and change since the 2012 campaign ended.
MSU’s staff, from the outside looking in, at least, makes sense and maximizes the strengths of everyone in the group, both offensively and defensively.
Results on the field will speak for themselves, but in the early goings, Mullen has made strong and aggressive moves with his coaching staff which seem both smart and promising.